March 13, 2016

Slacking Sunday

I took a day off to meet new people and to end a break from tightrope walking. It was brilliant.

Slacklining is a form of tightrope walking, where instead of rigid steel wire, you use stretchy webbing. I started with it sometime around 2010 and had a blast.

Urban Highline

I enjoyed to progress the longest distance I could walk, and I did that for two years until I moved into the US, and I left all of my gear behind. The place I moved to had no slackline community, there was nobody around to practice with, and it had hardly any places where could I rig the line; so I didn't buy a new set. I cured some withdrawal symptoms by walking on some chains or steel wires around parking lots and such, but that wasn't really the same.

Slack1

The situation changed when I planned a road trip to Colorado's wilderness. I thought it would be good to have some recovery kit if I'd get stuck at some mountain pass. So among others, I bought a tow strap and a winch. A long one, because I had an idea that I could use it for rather entertaining purposes besides an emergency. As it turned out, I didn't get stuck once but stretched the strap between my car and a tree a couple of times.

Colorado Road Trip

Slacklining at some 11000ft above the sea. Click for an article about the road trip here.

The strap was great, and I used it for this cause many times after the trip. But still, I missed the challenge of longer ones.

Years passed, and after moving around a bit, I settled in London. Once I secured decent places to stay and work, I searched online for local slackliners in hopes to get involved. I found a group which arranges meetings, one of which was this Sunday. Excited, I went for it.

London Slackline (2)

It took place in Finsbury Park, and when I got there, one line was stretched. I started to chat with the people around, who allowed me to join. Slackline folks are cool; regardless of whether it was in the rest of the EU or the US, I felt welcomed any time I approached them. It might be a common trait, but I never take it for granted.

While it felt fab to be back on a slackline, it was quite short, leaving me to recall the long-gone days I walked more advanced ones. Suddenly, one guy said something like, "Let's put up something longer." "Oh yes!" I thought. However, they started rigging something of 50-60 meters (~180ft) long.

London Slackline (1)

While it was tempting, without nearly any practice for years, I knew that there's no way for me to cross it. But then, more people came by, and more lengths got assembled.

London Slackline (6)

Shortly, there was one about 20m (66ft) long.

London Slackline (5)

this.

I tried a couple of times and couldn't get past the half. But it felt doable, so I set myself that it will happen. Meanwhile, people took turns and had a good time.

London Slackline (11)

London Slackline (7)

Then I gave it a shot barefoot; and heck, I sent it. To be sure it wasn't just luck, I did it again. And with the shoes, also. Oh, happiness!

The activity also attracted the curiosity of some passers-by, also welcomed to give it a try.

London Slackline (10)

Smiles everywhere

After more walking and chats, I moved to the other plans I had for that day. But I was curious to find out what was the last time I walked a line this long, so once at home, I looked into my archives for this picture:

It’s a self-portrait I took 17th March, 2012. That’s It was the last time I have crossed a slackline over 20m. A few days short of four years!

That's the last time I have crossed a slackline over 20m. It was on 17th March 2012. A few days short of four years!

The four-years long break is over, and I couldn't be more excited. Twenty meters is conquered again! A few insignificant steps for mankind, but a giant thing for me. Let's get back to it, let's push it back to fifty, let's extend it even more!


See all my articles about slackline; follow me for the upcoming posts. Thanks for reading!

Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Stories

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