Slacklining is relatively new, but the popularity of this activity is surging. Equipment is suddenly making its way into mainstream shops, like the Slackers line of products we carry here at Hobby and Toy Central, and new communities are popping up quickly in North and South America.
Performed on a one or two inch line of nylon webbing stretched between two anchor points, slacklining is much like tightrope walking, but with some serious bounce. The physical benefits include improved core strength, balance, agility, and focus. It also provides a great workout for your knees and ankles. No wonder physiotherapists have started to use slacklines in courses of rehabilitation and prehabilitation. It’s also a ton of fun. The video below, taken during the 2015 World Slackline Masters, shows what slackliners are capable of at the pinnacle of achievement. Don’t try this at home, kids. These guys are pros:
Obviously, you’ll want to make sure you choose your anchor points carefully; the bigger the tree (or rock) the better! It’s also a good idea to use some form of padding between your line and the tree. Wrapping a tree pad, rug, or even cardboard around the trunk before you ratchet your line will help to protect both the tree and your equipment.
If you’re thinking of heading out to public land with your gear, be sure to check local bylaws. Some issues have arisen in Seattle, Vancouver, and Montreal over slacklining in municipal parks, though there is definitely a push from slacklining communities to educate newcomers and support more inclusive policies. Exercising some good sense with your setup - keeping out of the way of pedestrian and bike paths, putting down a few signs near your line, and padding trees - will help establish and maintain a positive image for this exciting new sport. Now get out there and get bouncing!