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“We are all together in the process of writing a new chapter in the long history of the art of equilibrium.”
Balance is a lesson we all must learn in life. Some of us have a better grasp on it than others. Slacklining is a physical manifestation of trying to attain this virtue. Who knew that harmony could come from tension? Literally?
Although the exact origins of slacklining are unknown, it is thought to have grown from tight rope or high wire walking (which has been around for pretty much forever.) However, the fuzzy beginning does take place in Olympia, Washington at Evergreen College. It starts out with a pair avid of rock climbers who attended the school. First, they began stringing up chains and cables between trees, soon attracting crowds on campus to watch and cheer them on. As they practiced edging across the lines testing their balance, they soon improved upon their method by switching to 1” flat webbing. Slacklining as we know it was born.
With its roots in college, the West Coast, and the rock climbing community, slacklining has spread across the the U.S. and its borders. Still being a popular pastime on school campuses and in rock climbing communities, more and more people are being drawn to its test of balance and core strength.
“Accompanying to the popularization is a greater diversity in the spectrum of slacklining. Artistic movement sequences are a key topic of the trickline. The length is the challenge for longlining. Balance over lakes and rivers is the aim in waterlining. The dangers of the highlining centralizes the relationship with internal fears. The city becomes a playground of the balance in urban space,” says a slacklining authority.
Slacklining is related to nature in the way that its enthusiasts are nature lovers. Rock Climbers climb not only for the personal challenge and closeness with mountains, but for those moments at the top. To know where their very feet stand soaking up a gorgeous 360 degree view, only so many sets of feet have been there and they all “earned” that view. Rock climbers can speak the language of equilibrium and the closeness this brings them translates to the slacklining community as well.
Balancing on a string of webbing inspires you to recognize one moment of time– at a time. To be suspended in the present.
By: Carolyn Ellison