WHAT IS SLACKLINING?
The basic idea is that you tension a length of webbing between two points and balance on it. Sounds pretty simple but what happens when you do this is really quite amazing.Slacklining is very different from tight rope walking in that the line is not rigidly taut, it is dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a huge rubber band, it kind of a cross between a tight rope and a trampoline! The lines tension can be adjusted to suit the user, and every line that you set up, can have a different height, length and tension. The line itself is flat, which keeps your foot from rolling off, as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the slackline is what makes it unique, in that you can do tricks and stunts, the line is totally responsive to you body.Take a look around and you will find everything you need from quality slacklines on the online shop, to data base of instructors and team riders, to links to community groups on facebook
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT STYLES OF SLACKLINING?
There are as many styles as there are slackliners. There are a few major developing styles of slacklining. They are: Basic Slacklining, Longlining, Yogalining, Waterlining, Highlining, Tricklining,….
WHAT IS BASIC SLACKLINING?
In Basic Slacklining you are learning the fundamentals of slacklining. You should always follow the slackline manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure the slacklining challenge is matched to your ability.
A basic slackline is described as follows:
The basic slackline is usually 5m-10m long but up to but less than 30m long. The slackline can be of any width, but it’s most commonly 50mm wide and tensioned with a ratchet or if it’s a 25mm wide slackline then a primitive set up. Wider slacklines tend to have less sway (lateral movement through the centre) than 35mm or 25mm wide slacklines, though a 25mm wide slackline will have less tilt effect (the effect of the slackline twisting under the foot and tilting).
Great Slackline Australia instructors will give you an opportunity to experience a range of slacklines that suit your ability. The Slackline Australia Skills Card program helps the instructor with this process. There are three fun phases of the Slackline Australia Skills Card. Skills cards are recognised by prefered training venues and Slackline Australia Instructors in most of Australia’s states and territories.
In Basic Slacklining the height of the slackline will vary depending on ability and the slackline manufacturer’s guidelines. Slackline Australia Instructors teach basic slacklining at the participant’s thigh height or lower (Gibbon recommends 50cm high, Elephant Slacklines 90cm high, so it can vary).
WHO CAN SLACKLINE?
Just about anyone can learn to slackline! We have seen children as young as 1 years old to adults in their 80s slacklining. Check out this video: You are never too old!
There is just a bit of general fitness required and a respectful approach, but you can join a slacklining lesson as you are today- your Slackline Australia Instructor will step it back for you if you need or they will take you forwards in leaps and bounds to suit your ability and fitness level.
Speak to a Slackline Australia Instructor for some set up and spotting techniques for anyone with special needs.
HOW HARD IS IT TO SLACKLINE?
There is a certain amount of wonder associated with tightrope walking, I remember as a child watching it on TV and thinking how hard that must be! Slacklining has that same effect on people, and it is really not that hard to learn. In the beginning, you put your foot up onto the line and it shakes like crazy! It is like the slackline has a mind of its own. If you are learning with a friend, hold onto their shoulder for support and step up onto the line. It helps if you try to relax, as tension creates shakes on the line. Every time you get on the slackline your brain and body are working together to try to keep your body upright, and a connection is being made.The saying “just like riding a bike” applies to slacklining as well. Each time to practise you will get better and better, not losing your progress from the time before. Then one day, you step onto the line and………..you have it! You no longer are fighting to stay on, but a beautiful natural freedom exists, balancing on your line, totally present.This is the magic of Slacklining! Slackline Australia Instructors are trained to help…
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN TO SLACKLINE
People differ in all ways, but between 30mins and a full day most people can progress to experience a feeling balance on a slackline, but you are always learning, that’s what makes it so great for developing Positive Brain Plasticity. Slackline Australia Centres of Balance offer programs that can have some people walking forward, backwards and holding poses within about 6hrs of the program, but you never really stop learning.
IS SLACKLINING DANGEROUS?
Nothing is ever safe! Slacklining when done respectfully is safer than most other activities. Statistically we have seen more injuries from football, skating and surfing than slacklining. The slackline will reflect back whatever you throw out to it – so always be respectful, ensure an appropriate set up location, height and length. Ensure your slackline is clearly visable to others and take it down when not using it. Always use tree wear to minimise wear on your line and the trees. It wont be long before you make slacklining look easy but remember always spot beginners and seek professional instruction if you are not sure.
WHERE DID SLACKLINING COME FROM?
While tight rope walking has been around at least two thousand years, this form of slacklining was developed from chain walking back in the sixties and seventies at Yosemite national park.The modern form of the slackline which uses tubular webbing started in the early eighties by Adam Growsowski and Jeff Ellington. They inspired other people in that area and it was quickly being taken to new levels. Many started to do high lines which evolved into a whole new way of Slacklining. Since those early days it has spread across the world and being pioneered by many, with new tricks and records being set all the time. How will you help evolve this sport?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SLACKLINING?
There are many many benefits of slacklining. The first and foremost is its fun and wholistic. It can work all areas of your body including the small stablizer muscles in your body, but it also works your brain and vestibular system. Balance training can help maintain agility and staminar. Most of all it can create an opportunity to develop your level of awareness and a deep inner sense of peace and relaxation. Slacklining is also very social. I’ve never come across another activity where dozens of absolute strangers will just come up and talk to you and even join you in an afternoon of fun. there have been some studies in the UK that indicate that training the balance system can balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain and even help people with ADHD and other disorders.
WHO USES A SLACKLINE?
Slacklining started in the rock climbing community, but in the past 20 years it has spread across the world. Now all walks of life are using it. Due to its versatility it has now become its own sport and is being pushed to new limits everyday, and many subcultures have come from this. It can be used as· A physical workout ( core strength and stabilizer muscles)· A mental workout ( reaction time, increase neural pathways between left and right hemispheres )· Sports training ( proprioception and balance, all sports require it! ) · Rehabilitation ( great for knee and ankle injuries)· Recreation ( Tricks and stunts, see the tricks page)· A form of Meditation ( find that quiet place inside )· Balance Therapy ( see balance therapy page and links )· As a form of Yoga and Tai Chi ( moving meditation )· Highlining ( Our kits are not designed for this! But check it out on the videos )· Social gatherings ( its so funny watching your friends try for the first time! )And anything else you can think of, because it can be done anywhere there are two points to attach to, you are bound only by your imagination!
WHY WOULD YOU START SLACKLINING?
Apart from being totally addictive, extremely fun and unique, being balanced is our natural state. With today’s lifestyle many of us are out of balance. Whether it be our physically, mentally or spiritually, balance is essential. LIFE IS ABOUT BALANCE! It is a feeling, and being able to recognise that feeling within yourself allows you to draw upon it when you need it. Having a sense of balance in your life is priceless, and you know that saying ” like riding a bike ” well that applies to slacklining too. Once you start to slackline you only ever get better, you never regress.So the benefits of balance are there for everyone to enjoy, and whether you play sport, surf, meditate, are an adrenaline junkie or just want to try something new, be a part of the slackline revolution. Its EVOLUTION IN MOTION!
WHAT’S THE EASIEST WAY TO START SLACKLINING?
To start slacklining, basically all that is needed is a length of webbing, two slings to attach to the anchors, and a tensioning system. You can get everything you need from our online shop and local climbing stores if you want to build your own, but we have spent years researching and working with manufacturers developing Slackline Kits to be the fastest and easiest way to start Slacklining. We have Kits to suit every body’s needs and skill level.Check out our Slackline Kit online.
DO I ALWAYS NEED TREES?
Trees are not always necessary for anchors but they are the easiest and most available natural anchors.”A” frames can make a suitable alternative to trees, you just need some heavy duty steel pegs to anchor the line into the ground. Extreme caution must be used if you plan on hammering anything into the ground as there may be power/water/gas lines underneath the ground.Climbing bolts can be used in concrete walls to set a permanent anchor point.When selecting an anchor point, we suggest that it would be able to hold a minimum of 1000kg (1T) of force.Trees are your safest option, as long as the tree you are using is at least 30cm in diameter and is alive and healthy and has a good root system. Get out into the park and enjoy them! And always use some protection for the trees, where the sling goes around. Carpet is the best / cheapest and easiest solution we have found! Before you ever consider using an existing structure check with the owner and the archicture/ engineers as many poles and posts on buildings are designed only to take vertical forces.
WHAT IS THE BEST SIZE WEBBING?
Webbing that is 50mm wide is usually easier for beginners to set their foot correctly and has less sway compared to 35mm and 25mm lines. Traditionally slackines where 25mm nylon webbing, often tubular. They had a great feel but were hard to learn on and required much more time to set up. Gibbon’s revolutionised slacklining by introducing a 50mm slackline that did not require as much balance. Elephant Slacklines enhanced the weave of their webbing to have even more spring, bounce and flow. However as your slacklining improves you will no doubt be drawn to the more challenging 35mm and 25mm lengths. Top trickliners have also started using 35mm wide webbing to replace the official 50mm wide tricklining webbbing, as it gives them greater flow on the line and a heightened sense of balance.
WHAT IS THE BEST LENGTH OF WEBBING?
When learning, most Slackline Australia Instructors recommend a line length between 7-10m. Most beginners buy a 15mlong kits because of the lower cost and they don’t need to pulley the extra line through the ratchet. But it doesn’t save that much time and money. If you’ve got a 25m long line then you can set it as short as you like and keep extending it as your slacklining improves. Some use lines as short as 4.5m but you have to make sure the slackliner can’t fall back onto the anchors. The shorter the line, the lower you can have it to the ground with less tension, but the twitcher it is. The longer you have it the higher you have to have it and the more tension you need on it. The longer the line the more sway (lateral movement) you have and the greater the risk of heavy falls.
WHAT IS THE BEST TENSION SYSTEM? PULLEYS, RATCHETS OR PIMATIVES?
If you are a beginner, ratchets are with no doubt the best tension system because of the ease and simplicity. Its only when you are doing long lines or highlines (remember Slackline Australia does not sell high lines- our webbing should not be the only thing keeping you alive) that you really need to consider another system of tensioning. The primitive or Ellington method of using carabiners to create mechanical advantage was a traditional way slacklines were set up. Slackline Australia use to only sell these, but even though they were lighter, they there were a bit harder to set up, and we discovered that despite having videos and instruction booklets some people still had hassles setting them up. Once you get your level 3 Slackline Australia skills card then we encourage you to explore other tensioning systems. But never ever mix up your slacklining carabiners with your climbing carabiners- metal fatigue from slacklining, especially with aluminium carabiners, could end up in a climbing fatality or a slackline injury. One trickliner snapped an aluminium carabiner which nearly took his eye out. So be careful and seek professional advise. Sign up to our news letters to find out about demo days…
HOW TIGHT SHOULD I MAKE THE SLACKLINE?
The great thing about the Slackline is it can be set at different heights, lengths and tensions to suit the user. Obviously the longer the line the more tension that will be required so as not to touch the ground ( bottom out ) when you stand in the middle of it.As a general rule we recommend that you start by having the slackine at a length of 7-10m and at a height no greater than your thigh height. Read and follow your slackline kit instructions for set up recommendations Also understand that lower the ratio of sag to length then the higher the force and forces can quickly get beyond the equivalent weight of 600kg. If you like doing lots of jumping tricks, then a nice tight line is recommended for that, while if you like “surfing” the line, a looser one would be much better. Just play around with it until you find a tension that feels good for you. Slacklining is such a personal thing and everyone is different.
HOW LONG BEFORE I SHOULD REPLACE MY WEBBING OR SLACKLINE KIT?
Some slacklines have been left up for years out in the sun and the rain, they may loose a bit of elasticity and that magic slacklining feeling but they are still functional. Its always recommended that each time you slackline you inspect, set-up, inspect and pack away your slackline in a cool dry place, free from chemical or heat exposure. If you do that and you take care not to jam the webbing in the tensioning devise / ratchet or carabiners then it can last a long time. Slackline Australia and many of the leading manufacturers recommend having your slackines inspected professionally each year at least. The oldest functional and regularly used slackline that I’ve seen is seven years old, but as a general rule replace your slackline after 2- 3 years but never keep using beyond 5 years of age.
DO I USE BARE FEET OR SHOES WHEN SLACKLINING?
Since you can feel the line better, many slackliners prefer slackining with barefeet. Just make sure your area is clear from sharps or other biological hazards. However shoes give more foot protection from sharp objects, heat extremes etc. Many trickliners use shoes because of the benefits of having the shoe sole act as a ‘platform’ for jumping and it can give better grip. There has been a rare case where a trickliner was doing a lemur leap and got a ‘line cut’ on his big toe- like a paper cut but worse.
WHAT SHOES ARE BEST FOR SLACKLINING?
Special shoes are not required. Shoes with a flat sole and ankle support are the best. Just don’t wear high heels or slippery-soled shoes. Can you have more than one person on a slackline? The kits we sell are designed for one person only. A second person cannot only increase the force but also the chance of being bounced off.
WHAT ARE COBs?
Slackline Australia has been working since 2007 to empower Australian slackliners to share the wonders of slacklining in their local area. A Slackline Australia Centre of Balance is a licensed centre that is part of the nations professional network that shares and develops knowledge, skills and techniques to ensure the safest, most enjoyable and progressive experiences possible. CoBs can offer you a range of slacklines to buy, possibly hire, and series of programs and training sessions to help you enjoy your slacklining experience to maximum. Slackline Australia Centres of Balance have at least a level 2 Instructor on board and use only certified Slackine Guides, Coaches or instructors.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY INSTRUCTOR IS CERTIFIED?
Slackline Australia has been developing slackline training practices since 2007. We are the only network in Australia and we work with international organisations to ensure we have leading practices. We have been certifying instructors since 2007. However since slacklining is relatively new each instructor is required to ‘touch-base’ with the network and undertake update training to maintain their registration. A registered Slackline Australia instructor will not only have the latest training and safety info and a certificate to prove it, but will be able to offer you access to Slackline Australia skills cards, membership and product discounts.
HOW DO I BECOME A SLACKLINE AUSTRALIA INSTRUCTOR OR LEADER?
Slackline Australia offers a range of leadership programs across Australia. Training calendars are constantly revised to ensure we help all of Australia enjoy the wonders of slacklining. What’s the difference between facilitators, guides, coaches and instructors? Slackline Australia offers a range of courses to suit the needs of the various individuals and organisations across Australia. Slackline Facilitators are excellent to help bring the latest basic info into your community but may not know all the risks and professional practices used across Australia. Guides usually only work under registered Coaches or Instructors. A level 1 instructor is the first independent professional level. Coaches have more expertise in techniques and Level 2 Instructors are experts in risk management and program design.
WHO IS SLACKLINE AUSTRALIA?
Slackline Australia is Australia’s largest slacklining community including a professional network of slackliners. Slackline Australia, founded in May 2007, established many of the countries social network groups and sold the first slacklines in Australia. We are Australia’s only qualified certification agency for Slacklining. If you slackline, then we are you! We are committed to sharing the wonders and benefits of slacklining in all its forms and promoting balanced living. Currently Slackline Australia is a private company limited by shares, started by the Gittoes brothers, but is constantly evolving. Slackline Australia is open to working with all people in all forms. Many of our most valued members have gone from being passionate slackliners, to volunteers on projects to business owners and share owners. We are custodians in trust of Slacklining in Australia and are committed to the progression and sustainability of slacklining as a way of life for all Australians that are interested.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INVOLVED WITH SLACKLINING IN MY LOCAL COMMUNITY?
Slackine Australia has social groups that meet regularly and support each other. Looks us up on facebook. We also have professional businesses and leaders that are part of the network that are their to help effectively deal with necessary protocols and ‘paper-work’ to make magic, ground breaking slackline projects happen and keep the day to day basics running. We have Professional team riders and Project team members (aka ProTeam Riders) to show what is possible. Our Centres of Balance are one of the best contact points for anyone wanting any type of training. If you want to become a leader they will utilise the Slackline Australia training programs to ensure you are of a world class standard. If you have something more to offer then the doors are always open.