How I joined a community in London to end a long break from slacklining.
Slacklining is a form of tightrope walking, where instead of rigid steel wire, one uses stretchy webbing. It is a fun exercise, and there seems to be no limit to progression.
I started around 2010 and since the learning curve is rewardingly steep, I got hooked. It was a blast meeting with friends and pushing what can be done. For me, it was the longest distance I could walk, others threw tricks into the mix too. But when I moved in 2012, it put a stop to this. The new place had no slackline community, and it had hardly any places where I could rig a line; so, I didn't buy a new set. I cured some withdrawal symptoms by walking on chains or steel wires around parking lots and such, but that wasn't the same.
The situation changed when I planned a road trip to the Colorado mountains. I thought it would be good to have some recovery kit if I'd get stuck, so I equipped my car with a tow strap and a winch. I didn't end up getting into an emergency once but walked the strap in some class settings instead.
The strap served me many times after the trip. Then, more moving happened, and again, I was without the gear for some time. Eventually, I got to London. "Surely, there must be some folks who slackline here!" I thought. I searched online for local slackliners in hopes to get involved and found a group that arranges meetings. One of which was this Sunday in Finsbury Park. Excited, I went for it.
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 I met them in the US or the EU, I felt welcomed any time I approached them. I never take it for granted.
It felt fab to be back on a slackline, but it was quite short again. Suddenly, one guy said something like, "Let's put up something longer." "Oh yes!" I thought. It's been ages since walking any more advanced line, and I was keen to have a go at it again. However, they started rigging something of 50-60 meters (~180ft) long.
Without nearly any practice for years, I knew that was a no-go for me. But then, more people came by, and more lengths got assembled.
Shortly, there was one about 20m (66ft) long.
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.
Then I tried again, and heck, I sent it. To be sure it wasn't just luck, I did it again. And again. Oh, happiness!
The activity attracted the curiosity of some passers-by, who were also welcome to try it.
After more walking and friendly chats, I had to move to the other plans I had for that day.
Once at home, I was curious to find out when was the last time I walked a line over 20m long. I remembered that I took a picture on that day, so I looked into my archives for it.
It was on 17th March 2012 – A few days short of four years! The break is over, and I couldn't be more excited. A few insignificant steps for mankind, but a giant leap for me. Twenty meters is conquered again! Let's get back to it, let's push it back to fifty, let's extend it even more!
Thanks for reading!