Today the students enjoyed slacklining in the park!
Slacklining is a sport and art that can be balance training, recreational, and a moving meditation. It is similar, at first glance to tightrope walking, and is accomplished by stretching and tensioning a 1”– 2” wide length of nylon/polyester webbing between two anchor points, most often trees. Its origin has most commonly been attributed to the rock climbing community in Yosemite National Park as a way of passing time while maintaining concentration, fitness, core strength and balance skills.
You will mostly see slacklines in local parks, where slackliners will practice their skills & train new techniques such as sit mounts (where you mount the line sitting down, and then stand up), turning around, walking backwards & even some yoga poses. But first, we need to learn the basics. This includes, mounting the line & taking a few steps on your own.
This is most easily achieved by borrowing a hand (or shoulder) from a friend to hold on to, and slowly trying to use less assistance over time. It looks easy, but don’t be fooled, its hard! It can take weeks to take even your first step on your own. The biggest challenge is mental, learning which directions the line moves in & not being afraid to fall.
We enjoyed the afternoon taking turns mounting the line and taking a few steps with assistance. The students noticed how much easier it was when mounting tandem. This is where Trinity would mount the line at the opposite end, to try to steady the line for the students.
Trinity explained the standard safety precautions for slacklining as follows:
- Choose appropriate trees for slacklining; Always use tree protection. This protects the tree and your slackline.
- Trees are the safest option and need to be a minimum of 30-35cm in diameter
- Trees must be alive and healthy with a good root system.
- Avoid attaching your slackline to any ‘soft bark’ trees to avoid damage.
- 5 to 10 metres long – tightened with a rachet,
- Height of the slackline should be at the level of your thigh or lower.
- Never attach your slackline to any government property or private company infrastructure (power poles, sign poles/posts etc), you may be liable for damages and you risk access for all slackliners.
- Be aware of your environment at all times.
- Never leave your line unattended…EVER.
- Check your gear before you use it and regularly whilst you are using it. Sometimes ratchets unlock and shackle pins can work themselves loose.
- Don’t rig your slackline across a path or place where people walk through regularly. Remember cyclists and pedestrians can easily miss a slackline.
- Please use wind dampeners or high visibility tape on long lines to make your line clearly visible.
- BACK UP YOUR GEAR! It’s as simple as tying parts (like a ratchet) to your anchor with the tail of your webbing or a sling.
- This slackline is not intended for performing any jumps or dynamic tricks
- Check your rig; ensure all attachments are secured/done-up before tensioning, monitor during tensioning and final check before walking – sometimes we miss things! Stay safe!
- Do not tie any knots in your webbing or extend the length of your webbing by connecting other materials as this will
- Respect authorities in all situations including police, council workers and parks/recreation officials. If they ask you to take down your line, first explain that you are causing no harm to the trees, if they persist then respect their decision. We need to keep a good reputation for slacklining in Australia.
- Try to keep the equipment/bags of your community in one place to minimise impact and keep areas free of obstacles for other users of the area.
- Please be conscious of the environment; leave no trace; take all rubbish with you.
- Be careful in letting strangers try your lines as you could be liable for damages
Slacklining is fun! But we do have to be conscious of the environment whist slacklining, this is why we use tree protectors at the back of our rig, to lessen the tension on the trees.
We hope to go slacklining again soon!
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