Which Type of Line Do I Need?
You will hear a lot of ‘Slackspeak’ in the Slack World. People talking about ‘Rodeo Line, Highlines, Waterlines, Long Lines, Trickline etc etc’.
And that is before anything is even setup, let alone talking about describing slackline tricks!
It can all get a little confusing, particularly if you are a newcomer.
Here we give a summary of the features of the most common types of lines.
This is a good line to start with. A standard kit usually just consists of a 15 to 25 metre
length of webbing which is 5 cm wide and has a sewn ‘eye’ at one end for looping around a post, tree or other suitable anchor point. The other end fits into a ratchet that is attached to a 2nd shorter length of line which loops around the 2nd anchor point and then the ratchet is used to tension the line.
The standard line is perfect for simply walking and balancing, training your body’s muscle memory to compensate for the movements in the line. Once this has been mastered it is possible to use this type of line for static slackline tricks such as knee drops and 180 degree turns, even small jumps or lemur leaps are possible on this type of line. However it is not advisable to try complex bouncing tricks or combinations as the required tension is not possible to attain with a single ratchet setup.
For bouncing tricks then you really need a Trickline.
A trickline is a more heavy duty piece of kit usually with a 30 metre line (5cm again) with slings, a safe release strap and two ratchets as standard (sometimes this type of kit can even have a pulley system).
With the extra ratchet it is possible to put the line into a stronger tension which then allows bouncing tricks to be performed. Be aware that a suitable distance between anchor points is crucial for the trickline to work well. If this span is not great enough the line will not have enough movement in it and it will feel like bouncing on concrete, this can damage your back and legs etc.
If the trickline is setup and tensioned correctly, it basically behaves like a Trampoline.
A skilled user can then perform all manner of dynamic Slackline Tricks such as a butt bounce, chest bounce, back flip, forward flip, 180 turn, mojo tap spin, the list goes on.
It is a good idea when first learning how to trickline to have a friend spot for you i.e hold your hand to prevent you from falling.
Safety mats or crash pads are also strongly advised at all times.
The clue is in the name with this one, a longline is simply a very long slackline, usually at least 100 metres in length and often just 2.5cm wide.
Although, the current World record for walking a longline is over 600 metres!
To setup a Long line a pulley system has to be used to deliver enough tension so that the user can walk on it.
The challenge then is to just walk on the line from one end to the other. And maybe back again if you are feeling ambitious.
Now we are moving into the realms of the more experienced Slacker.
A Rodeo line is a line that is often just 2.5cm wide and is specifically for rigging with a very slack tension. The line anchor points are often high above the height of the users head and simply secured with carabineers, and the line itself is so slack that when the user stands on it, the lowest point of the line can be just a few inches off of the ground. From sideways on, the line looks a giant ‘V’ shape with the users feet in the trough.
It can really take a lot of attempts to even stand on the Rodeo line, and it gets its name from the fact that as the user first try to stand on it, it moves sideways and throws the user off.
Once the balancing on this line has been mastered it is possible to perform ‘Rodeo line surfing’, swinging sideways back and forth on the line.
Again, the clue is in the name. A highline is similar to a longline, except that it is rigged
high up in the air often hundreds of feet above the gound. The challenge then is to keep your balance while walking along the line at height where you are vulnerable to the wind and the dizzying effect of being at altitude.
It is essential with this type of line that the anchor points are tested to be completely safe and a backup line should be rigged as well as the main line. A good quality safety harness (such as a climbing harness) should then be used by the highline walker to secure himself to the main line and the backup.