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Slacklining is a balance sport which utilizes nylon webbing stretched tight between two anchor points. Slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut; it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line's tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of dynamic webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping the slacker's footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for impressive tricks and stunts.
Tricklining is the most common type of slacklining because it can be set up from almost any two secure points. Tricklining is done low to the ground, and it is also often called "lowlining." A great number of tricks can be done on the line, and because the sport is fairly new, there is plenty of room for new tricks. Some of the basic tricks done today are: standing, stand start, walking, walking backwards, turns, drop knee, opposite turn around, bounce walk, jogging. Some of the intermediate tricks are: moonwalk, throwing a disc around with someone from line-to-line, sit start, buddha sit, mantle start, sitting down, lying down, jump start, cross legged knee drop, surfing forward, surfing sideways, jump turns "180","carrolls mount." Some of the advanced/expert tricks are: backflip landing on the line, jumps referred to as "ollies", tree plants, front flip dismount, back flip dismount, doing push-ups, tandem walking, the tandem pass, piggy-back rides across the line, and jumping from line-to-line, 360's. Also see the tight rope sub-category of "freestyle-slacklining", aka "rodeo-slacklining."
The History of Slacklining
While rope walking has been around in one manner or another for thousands of years, the origins of modern day slacklining are generally attributed to a pair of rock climbers living in Yosemite Valley, California, in the early 1980s. Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington started their walking on loose chains and cables alongside parking lots, and over time progressed to stringing up their climbing webbing and walking it. The sport blossomed from there among climbers in the valley, and then branched out elsewhere all over the world.
Highlining is slacklining at large distances above the ground or water. They are commonly set-up in locations that have, or are still used for Tyrolean traverse. When rigging highlines, experienced slackers take measures to ensure that solid, redundant and equalized anchors are used to secure the line into position. The line itself is often threaded. This means that 9/16" webbing is threaded through the hollow core of the normal 1" webbing. Highliners may further ensure security by doubling the line and even running a climbing rope along the bottom of the line(s). It is also common to pad all areas of the rigging which might come in contact with abrasive surfaces. To ensure safety, most highliners wear a climbing harness or swami belt with a leash attached to the slackline itself; however, unleashed walks of highlines are not unheard of.