Slacklining refers to the act of walking or balancing along a suspended length of flat webbing that is tensioned between two anchors. Slacklining is similar to slack rope walking and tightrope walking. Slacklines differ from tightwires and tightropes in the type of material used and the amount of tension applied during use. Slacklines are tensioned significantly less than tightropes or tightwires in order to create a dynamic line which will stretch and bounce like a long and narrow trampoline. Tension can be adjusted to suit the user, and different webbing may be used in various circumstances. Slacklining is popular because of its simplicity and versatility; it can be used in various environments with few components.
ORIGINS OF SLACKLINING
While there's some debate about the exact "who/what/where/when" behind the first slacklines, most trace the sports' origins to the campsites and communities of rock climbers in Yosemite National Park in the early 1980s. Story goes that a few climbers, looking for a way to pass the time between ascents, started stringing climbing ropes between trees with the challenge of trying to walk across.
Over the next few years these climbers pushed this new "slack" rope activity to new heights, with a slackliner named Scott Balcom gaining national attention in 1985 by walking across a 55’ slackline strung 2,000 ft above the Yosemite valley.
THE RISE OF SLACKLINING
While feats like Balcom's put slacklining on the map, it remained a relatively small niche sport until brought to the mainstream by adventure athletes like Dean Potter and Andy Lewis (the "godfather" of slacklining). As pictures of slackliners walking high above valleys and gaps began to circulate in outdoor magazines, the sport gained an audience and following.
In more recent years, the development of the simple ratchet-strap slackline setup has made slacklining accessible to the masses which has allowed for a world-wide explosion of the sport. In fact, slacklining now has an International Federation, and contests around the world.
TYPES OF SLACKLINING
Whether you're an absolute beginner or have "walked the line" for years, you'll find seemingly endless new options and boundaries to push in the sport of slacklining. Here are some of the most popular "styles":
Lowlining • Longlining • Highlining • Tricklining • Fitness Line
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