HOW TO GET STARTED
Try, fall, get back up: the real challenge is to take the first step.
Step 1: Break the ice, find the balance.
Don’t fret, just accept it: the first time that you get on a Slackline, you won't manage to walk on it. It's human nature to find yourself in an uncomfortable situation when the ground beneath your feet is not fixed and stable, but rather moving and shaking. As taut as the webbing may be, the weight of your body will cause it to flex and shake. By simply getting in tune with your body's natural, instinctive movements, you'll find your balance and learn, little by little, how to control the shaking. So... how do I get started? Just as you did as a kid, you just have to learn to walk: you'll come to a point where you will start to feel comfortable, in complete control and balance of your movements.
The basic technique
Walking fluidly on the Slackline certainly requires practice, but you can start by just taking one step after another, keeping your feet straight as if you were walking normally (it’s better to be barefoot). Here's how to start: with a ~10m-long line of webbing, 50cm off the ground; with your hands facing upwards and your arms over your shoulders, ready to perform stabilising movements; gazing intently at a distant point (such as the end of the line). Keep your wrists smooth, breath consciously and if needed, bend your knees to stabilize your loss of balance.
This is the speciality of the bravest slackliners around, and consists of performing stunts: static tricks like the knee drop and the buddha, or dynamic tricks like the butt bounce or chest bounce. But that's not all: 360° aerial twists, somersaults, front flips and back flips; all this combined in sequences (combos) during freestyle races like the Italian Trickline Championship (ITC). Spider Slacklines will show you how to get started: a 10 to 25m-long line of webbing, to be installed at a fairly low height to prevent injuries in case you fall; the rest is up to your imagination and your courage!
This consists of walking on a line of webbing that’s longer than 30m (with no upper limit) and 2.5cm wide: it’s practically like starting a trip! As the length increases, so does the instability of the webbing and the difficulty of keeping your balance. The tension of these lines is variable, to be decided by the practitioner. The use of a Longline requires a higher level of concentration and the slightest distraction can compromise the walk along it. Drop-out and fall techniques are recommended to practise, before getting on longlines of dangerous heights.
How can we begin to describe such an intense experience? We say that it’s the highest level of slacklining in existence: in every sense! A Highline webbing line gets normally tensioned at heights of 15 to 1000m: so practising highlining means walking a line whilst suspended at a height that would be fatal if you fell without a safety line and without a climbing harness. This branch of slacklining is distinguished by the different, higher level of risk taken when practising it. Sufficient experience and good technical understanding are, for example, basic requirements for independent highlining. Become one with the rope and challenge the peaks of the highest mountains, walking on the roof of the world with Spider Slacklines!