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Slacklining refers to the act of walking, running or balancing along a suspended length of flat webbing that is tensioned between two anchors. Slacklining is similar to slack rope walking and tightrope walking. Slacklines differ from tightwires and tightropes in the type of material used and the amount of tension applied during use. Slacklines are tensioned significantly less than tightropes or tightwires in order to create a dynamic line which will stretch and bounce like a long and narrow trampoline. Tension can be adjusted to suit the user, and different webbing may be used in various circumstances.

Styles of slacklining[edit]

Slacklining on a beach


Urbanlining or urban slacklining combines all the different styles of slacklining. It is practiced in urban areas, for example in city parks and on the streets. Most urban slackliners prefer wide 2-inch (5 cm) lines for tricklining on the streets, but some may use narrow (58 or 1 inch, 1.6 or 2.5 cm) lines for longline purposes or for waterlining. Also see the other sections of slackline styles below.

One type of urbanlining is timelining, where one tries to stay on a slackline for as long as possible without falling down. This takes tremendous concentration and focus of will, and is a great endurance training for postural muscles.

Slackline handstand

Another type of urbanlining is streetlining, which combines street workout power moves with the slackline's dynamic, shaky, bouncy feeling. The main focus are static handstands, super splits—hands and feet together, planche, front lever, back lever, one arm handstand and other interesting extreme moves that are evolving in street workout culture.


Tricklining has become the most common form of slacklining because of the easy setup of 2-inch (5 cm) slackline kits. Tricklining is often done low to the ground but can be done on highlines as well. 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 walking,[1] walking backwards, turns, drop knee, running and jumping onto the slackline to start walking, and bounce walking. Some intermediate tricks include: Buddha sit, sitting down, lying down, cross-legged knee drop, surfing forward, surfing sideways, and jump turns, or "180s". Some of the advanced tricks are: jumps,[2] tree plants, jumping from line-to-line, 360s, butt bounces, and chest bounces. With advancements in webbing technology & tensioning systems, the limits for what can be done on a slackline are being pushed constantly. It is not uncommon to see expert slackliners incorporating flips and twists into slackline trick combinations.


Man highlining at Taft Point in Yosemite National Park with El Capitan in the background.

Highlining is slacklining at elevation above the ground or water. Many slackliners consider highlining to be the pinnacle of the sport. Highlines are commonly set up in locations that have been used 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. Modern highline rigging typically entails a mainline of webbing, backup webbing, and either climbing rope or amsteel rope for redundancy. However, many highlines are rigged with a mainline and backup only, especially if the highline is low tension (less than 4,000 N (900 lbf)), or rigged with high quality webbing like Type 18[3] or MKII Spider Silk.[4] 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. Leash-less, or "free-solo" slacklining – a term loosely taken from rockclimbing ("free" refers to free of aid equipment vs free from the slackline) – is not unheard of, however, with proponents such as Dean Potter and Andy Lewis.[5]

Slackline yoga[edit]

Slackline yoga takes traditional yoga poses and moves them to the slackline. It has been described[by whom?] as "distilling the art of yogic concentration". To balance on a 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of webbing lightly tensioned between two trees is not easy[citation needed], and doing yoga poses on it is even more challenging. The practice simultaneously develops focus, dynamic balance, power, breath, core integration, flexibility, and confidence. Using standing postures, sitting postures, arm balances, kneeling postures, inversions and unique vinyasa, a skilled slackline yogi is able to create a flowing yoga practice without ever falling from the line.

Split on a slackline

Slackline yoga has been covered in The Wall Street Journal,[6] Yoga Journal[7] and Climbing Magazine.[8]

Rodeo lines[edit]

Rodeo slacklining is the art and practice of cultivating balance on a piece of rope or webbing draped slack between two anchor points, typically about 15 to 30 feet (455 to 915 cm) apart and 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) off the ground in the center. This type of very "slack" slackline provides a wide array of opportunities for both swinging and static maneuvers. A rodeo line has no tension in it, while both traditional slacklines and tightropes are tensioned. This slackness in the rope or webbing allows it to swing at large amplitudes and adds a different dynamic. This form of slacklining first came into popularity in 1999, through a group of students from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. It was first written about on a website called the "Vultures Peak Center for Freestyle and Rodeo Slackline Research" in 2004. The article "Old Revolution—New Recognition - 3-10-04" describes these early developments in detail.


While rope walking has been around in one manner or another for thousands of years, the origins of modern-day slacklining is generally attributed to a rock climber named Adam Grosowsky from southern Illinois in 1979 when he was sixteen.[9] In 2012 a slackline performance by Andy Lewis was featured as part of the half time show by Madonna.[10] It got attention during the 2016 Rio Olympics when slackliner Giovanna Petrucci performed on the beach at Ipanema, attracting the attention of the New York Times.[11]

A professional slackliner was credited with climbing a ski lift tower in Colorado and shimmying across a cable to save a man caught by a ski lift in January 2017.[12]

Highlining history[edit]

Highlining was inspired by highwire artists. The first successful highline walk is credited to 20-year-old Scott Balcom and 17-year-old Chris Carpenter who performed the first documented walk on nylon webbing highline. This highline, now referred to as 'The Arches' was approximately 30 feet (9 m) long and 120 feet (35 m) high located in Pasadena, California.[13][14][15] On July 13, 1985, Scott Balcom successfully crossed the Lost Arrow Spire highline.[16][17][18] In 1995, Darrin Carter performed unprotected crossings of the Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite and The Fins, in Tucson, Arizona, on Mt. Lemmon highway.[13] On July 16, 2007, Libby Sauter became the first woman to successfully cross the Lost Arrow Spire,.[19][20] In 2008, Dean Potter became the first person to BASE jump from a highline at Hell Roaring Canyon in Utah.[21]

World records[edit]

Longest highline[edit]

The record was set on July 27, 2019, by Mia Noblet of British Columbia and Lukas Irmler of Germany. Both crossed a 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) slackline suspended more than 200 metres (660 ft) above the open-pit Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Quebec, during Slackfest, a slackline and highline festival. Irmler completed his crossing in 58 minutes.[22]

Longest free solo highline[edit]

The longest free solo highline was walked at the Verdon Gorge in Southern France. At a length of 110m and height of 200m, it was walked by German Slackliner Friedi Kühne.[23] The longest free solo highline by a female is held by Faith Dickey, who walked a 28-meter-long highline in Ostrov, Czech Republic, in August 2012. The line was 25 meters high.

Highest slackline[edit]

The highest slackline on record was walked by Christian Schou on August 3, 2006, at Kjerag in Rogaland, Norway. The slackline was 1,000 metres (3,281 ft) high. The project was repeated by Aleksander Mork in September 2007.[24]

The current world record for the highest urban highline is held by Friedi Kühne, Mia Noblet, Gennady Skripko, Vladimir Murzaev, Maksim Kagin, Alexander Gribanov, and Nathan Paulin. All seven athletes managed to walk a 220m-long, 350m-high slackline between Oko Tower and Neva Tower 2 in Moscow, on September 7, 2019.[25][26]

Longest slackline (longline)[edit]

The longest slackline walked by a woman, with a length of 230 metres (750 ft), was walked in September 2014 in Lausanne (CH) by Laetitia Gonnon.

Longest blindfolded slackline walk[edit]

On 28 April 2019 in Kislovodsk, Russia, Friedi Kühne and Lukas Irmler from Germany walked a 975m-long, 200m-high slackline entirely with their eyes closed, ensuring this with a blindfold strapped over their eyes. Thus they broke the world record for the longest blindfolded slackline walk.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How To Walk a Slackline". Wikihow.
  2. ^ "How to Slackline: Jump Line-to-Line". Wikihow.
  3. ^ Type 18
  4. ^ MKII Spider Silk
  5. ^ "US slackline walker Dean Potter crosses China canyon". BBC News. 23 April 2012.
  6. ^ Alter, Alexandra (5 April 2008). "Into the Wild With Yoga". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 November 2012. Jason Magness meditates in full-lotus posture balanced on a slackline over the Arizona desert. He's also the innovator of slackline yoga and is one of its few masters.
  7. ^ Bolster, Mary. "A climbing yogi has found a unique way to improve his balance, focus, and core strength: Doing yoga poses on a slackline". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  8. ^ Nadlonek, Ryan. "Highballin' – The Spot Gym Goes Off for Highball Comp". Retrieved 8 November 2012. they ran a slackline 20-feet in the air and tied in some of the area's most balanced men and women for toproped highline highjinx... The high-line event, which took place January 24, 2009, was a best-trick competition, with each slacker receiving three minutes to show their skills. Highlights included Greg Kalfa's ballsy backflip attempt and Josh Beau, looking as at home on the webbing as anyone else did on the ground (especially during his side-plank and other yoga-inspired moves).
  9. ^ "Above the Lawn, Walking the Line". New York Times; Sept. 8, 2006
  10. ^ Longman, Jeré (2012-02-06). "That Guy in the Toga? Call Him a Slackliner". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  11. ^ ANNA JEAN KAISER (August 18, 2016). "This Rio Phenom Would Be a Lock for a Gold. If There Were One for Slacklining". New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2016. Petrucci is a world-champion slackliner ... front flips and back flips and falls flat on the five-centimeter-wide strap, her torso parallel to the ground. ...If slackline were an Olympic sport, Petrucci, 18, would be a lock for gold....
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Alpinist, Issue 21, Autumn 2007, "The Space Between, a history of funambulism" by Dean Potter
  14. ^ Walk the Line: The Art of Balance and the Craft of Slackline, by Scott Balcom 2005 ISBN 0-9764850-0-1
  15. ^ "The Arches – 1983".
  16. ^ "First Slackline Crossing of the Lost Arrow Spire". YouTube. 24 May 2009.
  17. ^ "The History of Slacklining". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19.
  18. ^ "History of Slacklining".
  19. ^ YouTube: First Woman Walks the Lost Arrow Spire Highline
  20. ^ "First Woman to Walk the Lost Arrow Spire". 2008.
  21. ^ Longman, Jeré (14 March 2008). "900 Feet Up With Nowhere To Go But Down". The New York Times.
  22. ^ "Un record du monde battu à Asbestos lors du Slackfest" [World Record Broken at Asbestos during Slackfest]. Radio-Canada. July 27, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Highest urban highline walk with harness (ISA-verified)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  26. ^ "Tightrope walkers break Guinness World Record high above Moscow". Ruptly. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  27. ^ "Watch: World's best highliners gather high above Russian Caucasus". euronews. 2019-05-13. Retrieved 2019-10-06.

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