Slacklining refers generally to the act of running, walking or balance-sailing along a tensioned narrow length of webbing which is then secured between two hooks at each end. Slacklining is very similar to tightrope walking and slackline walking in that you use your own body weight as resistance to make your way down a web. There is typically a lot of movement on a slackline walk as the two ropes are connected and intertwined by a smallish knot.
The two most popular forms of slacklining are monorail and bolt slacklining. Monorail slacklining entails attaching a lightweight mono-strummed rope to a monorail, which is attached to the top of a large climbing pole, usually on towers. As the monorail is carried through the woods, the rope pulls off the top of the pole and is then cast into the water. This type of slacklining is done mostly on flat beaches, usually not more than 30 ft away from shore.
Bolt slacklining entails attaching two anchors on the surface of the water which are then fixed to a larger anchor which is kept afloat by buoyancy. Bolts can be individually fixed to individual webbing, or they can be welded onto larger pieces of webbing called webbing lines. Once the bolts are in place, they are held in place using a clip-on ring. The larger anchor is then lowered into the water by gravity or anchored into a structure which is submerged in the water. The smaller anchor and webbing are then released and the two climbers exit the water via the two anchors which have been secured.
Tricklining is an extremely unique style of slacklining, where the two climbers actually “free climb” up a sheer steep artificial wall by manipulating a specially designed rope. Trickliners can be as long as 50 ft, but typically shorter, as well as more technical because there is no anchor used to lower the climber down. Instead, the climber simply uses a special attachment at the bottom of their equipment, and manipulates the attached webbing with their feet to tie-in to several points along the wall.
Longline slacklining is practiced mostly above water, because the extra length allows longer and more varied positions. Unlike the popularized “free line”, where the climber only has one option – to tie-in at the surface – longlines allow multiple options for positions. A typical longline session would start out with two individuals walking along the shore, maneuvering their way down toward a steep climb.
There are many benefits to both forms of slacklining, although the extreme nature of the sport lends itself more toward the longline style. Longline slacklining requires excellent core strength, because balancing on the tightness in the belly while walking or riding a slackline is a very difficult task. When you practice slacklining, it’s important to maintain your core strength, so you will not have to worry about losing balance as you go further up the hill.