Rope walking has been around for thousands of years in various forms, but over the past few decades, a challenging yet rewarding new sport called slacklining has evolved.
We had a chat with Patrick Stern from the Slackline Shop to find out more about slacklining and how you can give it a go.
What is slacklining?
Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking. It is balancing on a plastic piece of webbing up to 5cm wide, strung taut between two anchor points (such as two trees). The length, height, tricks and location make every slackline setup unique!
How long has slacklining been in New Zealand and where is it heading?
I think the first slackline was set up around 2007 by rock climbers in Christchurch and Queenstown, but that was different to what we have in New Zealand today. From around three years ago you could find 2-piece ratchet slackline sets online. This was revolutionary for the New Zealand market and slacklining has become increasingly popular since then. You can now get a complete slackline set – made in New Zealand – for under $100!
How fit/strong do you need to be to give slacklining a go and how does it challenge your body?
Everyone can try slacklining! You can simply start by sitting on the slackline to begin training your balance. However, the end goal is to walk from one end to the other. Walking across the webbing challenges your arms, legs and your core muscles. Try slacklining for a while and you’ll see what an excellent complete body workout it is!
What are your top tips for beginners who haven’t done it before?
Get your own slackline set and don’t give up too quickly! It helps in the beginning to put your feet straight in line and just stand there, relaxed, to get the feeling for the slackline. Of course you will want to master walking to the other side immediately, but that takes a little bit of time…
What equipment and clothing do you need to try it?
You definitely need a slackline and two anchor points. If you can’t find trees there are also ground-screws and wooden boards available, or long slings to wrap around rocks. There is no special clothing needed and in the beginning you want to try it in bare feet. It’s that simple!
What do you like most about slacklining?
That you can share the same slackline with a lot of people. It is a special fun community sport!
Where can you try slacklining?
Slacklineshop NZ offers free gear trials in different locations all around New Zealand. There are also classes, workshops and events available for booking.
Image / Supplied