Anyone for a Rodeo Line?!?

Today’s entry includes a video below.

I recently took an interest in the Rodeo Line. For those who don’t know, “Rodeo Line” refers to a completely slack line who’s tension only becomes apparent once a slacker gets on the line. I have also seen this referred to as “Freestyle” slackline.

In any event, I took some line and set up a Rodeo in my basement – suspended between two of the poles that hold up the first floor of my home. These poles are about 20 feet apart, and the line attaches to the poles about 6 ft (1.8m) above the floor.

I had tried rodeo last summer/autumn, in the parks around town, but was never really much good at doing anything but standing for a second or two. Same was true the first day I set up in my basement. But after practicing for an hour or so, I was able to start taking steps.

Here is a video of me taking a few steps.

Vail Colorado Slackline Competition

Today we trekked to Vail, Colorado for the GoPro mountain games. These games inlcude events in river kayak, rock climbing, and, of course, SLACKLINE!!!! Gibbon was the major sponsor and there were competitors from around the world. I was able to get some video of a couple of great slackers, Jaan Roose, and Carlos Neto before my camera’s memory filled to capacity. Here is a short video from the events today. Good luck to all the competitors!

Elk Creek Highline Fun

Recently watched some friends highline in a nearby canyon. Highline is another level of Slackline that gets people excited! I have yet to try out highline, but would like to some day. So far I’ve only tagged along to help setup or just watch others do it. I am intrigued by it because I see it as low impact and therefore fewer (although perhaps not less severe) injuries.

Here is a link to some video from the highline session.

Slackline Competition – Frederick, Colorado

Today we spent a few hours at the 2nd birthday party for Echo Brewing in Frederick, Colorado. Part of the celebration was a Slackline Competition featuring many great Slackers: Alex Mason, Zack Andrews, Marcus Nelson, Wes Duckworth, Martín Hernandez, Mickey Wilson, Justin Wagers, to name a few.

Below is my video featuring some of them.

Upgraded Slackline A-Frames: New Design to Hold the Line Steady

My first set of Slackline A-Frames work fairly well. I’ve set them up and used them multiple times so far. However, one thing became clear after I started using them with people who do tricks – the ends of the Slackline are not held static where it passes over the A-Frame. This is an important feature to have: a steady, non-sliding line. I came up with a way to add the feature to my A-Frames.

IMG_2741First, I’ll describe the problem. As shown in the above photo of the original design, the Slackline passes over a piece of 1/2″ pipe. The pipe is 12″ long or so, and there is nothing to prevent the Slackline from sliding sideways (left to right). This happens predominantly when a slacker on the line does a move called “surfing”. They kick their legs out sideways and swing their feet back and forth in an oscillating motion. This action causes the Slackline to slide back and forth on the 12″ piece of pipe. The biggest downfall of this is that it abrades or melts the line just at the point where it crosses over the pipe. In addition, it makes for non-static ends on the Slackline. This is opposite of a tree-based Slackline, where the ends do not move left to right when in use, even while surfing.

The solution I came up with is fairly simple to implement. and can be made of parts from a hardware store. First, I made two of the U-brackets shown below. Each U-bracket is made from 1/2″ black iron pipe and some fittings. Each one uses the following parts:

  • four 90 degree elbows
  • two 4″ nipples (although any length under 6″ is OK)
  • one 3″ nipple
  • two 2″ nipples.

The only critical part is the horizontal 3″ nipple. The goal is to have 2″ (width of the Slackline) between the two 90 degree elbows once they are screwed onto the 3″ elbow. I was able to get the elbows to screw in 1/2″ on each end of the elbows, leaving 2″ for the Slackline. I used parts that I had laying around as well as pieces I bought at the store. Screw all the pieces together so they look like the picture below*.

IMG_3615

The second thing I did was drill two more holes in the top of each A-Frame to accommodate the U-bracket. These are 7/8″ diameter holes, to accept the 0.840″ outside diameter of 1/2″ black iron pipe. The holes go all the way through the plywood and the 2×6 legs – that way you can use longer nipples if you prefer (instead of the two 2″ nipples).

IMG_3616

The picture below shows the solution in use. The whole idea is to create a channel where the Slackline sits as it goes over the iron pipe. As you may notice, the channel I have created isn’t quite 2″ exactly in width. That is mostly because of the way black iron pipe is put together. Threads at the joints of black pipe are tapered. For industrial applications, fittings are screwed together until the tapered threads seal together. The joints are not an exact science, so the fittings don’t always end up completely seated, or even seated by the same amount. This is one flaw in my design, and it means I need to tighten my fittings a bit more (one or two turns, by the looks of it).

IMG_3612

 

In any case, the idea was to use off the shelf parts to create a steady point for the Slackline to pass over the A-Frame. Here is another picture of the setup in use.

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Of course, the length of all of the pieces of the U-brackets can be adjusted to fit your needs. As long as the Slackline clears the top of the A-Frame, things will be fine. I should probably shorten the 4″ nipple to reduce the leverage the U-bracket has on the A-Frame itself.

Hope you get the idea.

*You may have noticed that my 3″ nipple going horizontally in the U-bracket doesn’t quite look like a piece of black iron pipe. This is because I milled the 3″ nipple to remove the extra threads present once the 90 degree elbows are tightened to this nipple. You can get around this by wrapping the 3″ nipple with duct tape, or possibly by filing the threads down by hand. Otherwise, the threads will cut the Slackline and reduce its life.

Chongo Mount

This past weekend, the kids over at Colorado School of Mines held a slackline festival. There were tons of slacklines set up, and people of all ages and skill levels participating in the fun! We were near this particular 150′ line, so I decided to practice my chongo mount. The video below shows one of my attempts. Although I did not walk far, I was mostly trying to mount the dang thing! Later in the day, I was able to walk 10 steps (at the opposite end of the line).

50/50

As a follow-up to my ‘let the season begin’ post, here is a video of my first try on a 50′ line for the 2014 season.

50/50: My first 50 foot line as a 50 year old! Plus, I figure I’ve retained about half of my ability after taking the winter off from serious slacklining.

The two videos below try to show the difference between my abilities toward the end of last season and what I’ve got left after taking the winter off. One thing to note, I only made it to the halfway point yesterday. True, the line from 2014 is more slack (difficult) than the line from 2013. In any case, I hope you are getting out there starting this Spring!

 

 

Denver Slackline Competition 2013

Today’s post includes a video below.

This past weekend Gibbon Slacklines held a Slackline competition at the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo in Denver, CO. Lots of people from the local Slackline scene were there, in addition to competitors from around the USA. We had the chance to watch the Semi-Finals today, and to meet some of the folks involved.

First off I met Frankie Najera, one the early influences on my Slacklining. I learned from Frankie’s beginner video featured in my beginning Slackline post. It was a pleasure to meet Frankie, and I thanked him for his influence and contributions to this wonderful sport.

The four competitors in the Semi-Finals were Mickey Wilson, Zack Andrews, Alex Mason, and Wes Duckworth. Mickey Wilson is a great Slackliner, and the second person to complete the infamous “Luke Skywalker” move, Zack Andrews has been doing Slackline for 6 months (same as me!) and he’s only 12 years old! Alex Mason is the current national champion, not bad for 16! and Wes Duckworth is a super Slacker from Fort Collins! Like everyone I have met so far in the Slackline community, these guys are top-notch and some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet!

Here’s a bit of video I shot at the Semi’s today. I was very impressed with all of them, and I think Zack Andrews is going to be at the top of the sport very soon. Enjoy!