A friend recently brought her slackline over and from the moment I tried it, it was love at first sight. We messed around, got a bit dirty(the slackline and I), fell off a few times, and called it a night. Except…instead of taking her slackline back, she left it to stay the night…….
After some late night escapades, the line and I parted ways for a few hours of sleep. What I thought was “getting it” ended up being completely wrong once I watched a few YouTube videos the next morning over coffee. In comes the Gibbon slackline “how-to” video and a few more after that because everyone knows once you go on YouTube about 3 hrs fly by. I immediately hopped outside, strapped on my Vibram five fingers(which are quite dusty but apparently the best way to learn is barefoot or close to it), and went to
work play. About an hour into just “balancing” on one foot at a time I felt the Eureka! one gets when something finally clicks into place. The video called for doing this for a few more days until the violent shaking from side to side subsided. I can directly correlate the “shakes” to your first ring dip or muscle-up on gymnast rings, that uncontrollable shake of muscles and nervous system pathways that have never been utilized.
A few more days until moving up to walking…or in my case, go for broke and put all the chips in. I cranked the ratchet one more notch to tension the line…which obviously wasn’t a good idea since the tighter the line gets it amplifies the smallest movement but HEY! the video called for your preferred setting so that day I decided “tight as a G-string” tension would do( that quotation is directly from the trailer I embedded; according to these flying Frenchmen, it’s a descriptive term!). After a few hours of shaky walk attempts and close but no cigar moves, the first controlled steps came…and kept coming. I don’t think I realized I was actually walking smoothly across a tensioned webbing strap until I jumped off and a huge smile came across my face. The feeling is not uncommon to those who practice yoga, surfers, climbers etc. It’s a feeling that you are totally “in the moment” and thinking of nothing else. Blocking out everything else that flies through my brain at a 100 miles per hour (believe me it’s probably faster than that). Slacking leaves me no option other than to fully concentrate on breath, balance and control. It’s definitely frustrating for a bit, but from that frustration comes the motivation and drive to get better, smoother and more controlled. Yesterday I focused solely on starting off on my weak leg(versus my dominant: right leg) and after a couple of hours decided to iron out some kinks on turning around on the line without falling off, needless to say I’m hooked. I found myself watching more videos online and became extremely inspired by a group of French “dirtbags” who really push the limit. I thoroughly enjoy watching the trick guys but what these guys do is phenomenal and breath-taking.
I can already foresee some future adventures where I will bring a slackline(I’m in the market for one already…yep already) and greatly thankful to my friend Angela for bringing it over and also a big shout out to Elise who’s been slacking for a while and ALWAYS bugged me about coming to try this but my stubborn ass never did 😉 Happy Trails folks! And get out there and learn a new skill or try something new, you never know what you’ll get hooked on next!