Slackline Park

Today’s post includes a video below.

We found a Slackline park near our house (15 min drive away). This is a small bit of grassy park that has posts set up specifically for Slacklining. Below you see some of the posts. There are three groups of posts setup for 20′, 50′, and 80′ Slacklines.

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I showed up today around 1p, and setup my rig between one of the 20′ posts and one of the 50′ posts. I chose these two because I wanted to try a longer distance than the 20’ers, but the ground between the 50’ers was not so good. Using two odd posts this way gave me something in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 feet of walkable Slackline.

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It was a bit tricky getting things tightened, but I managed to at least get things tight enough to walk. The line was too high for me to jump-start, but I was able to get up fairly easily by sitting on the line and doing a regular start. There was decent amount of wind, which made the line oscillate at a high frequency, but it was an easy adjustment. The wind also made it difficult to walk because it tended to blow me around. There are no trees to block the wind (or to provide shade). It was fun though! I noticed one of my chain links was acting strange and sitting cock-eyed on the webbing, so I removed the two chain links and went back to the Rap Rings.

Had fun for about an hour, and made the video below; which I sped up to last 30 secs. Kinda fun! Sorry there is no music, PhotoBucket thinks I’m trying to use copyrighted material, ugh!

If you are interested, this park is located here.

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Sit On It!

Today’s entry includes videos below.

Basically, I am trying to do the things shown in this video.

On the weekend, I was able to do the pose shown at 0:45 in the video above.

Over the past few weeks, I have been learning to sit on the line (shown at 5:00 in the above linked video). Today, I made my own video of sitting on the line. This is very hard on the butt, and it takes time to condition the butt enough to be able to sit for much more than 2 or 3 seconds!

My wife walked 14 steps today, and I am trying to learn to do a king’s-kneel on the line. I’ve also tried  jumping up and spinning 180 degrees, but took a bad fall so I might put that off for a few weeks.

What about you? Have you tried this sport yet?

Rap Ring Replacements

After viewing this article over on NWSlackline, I decided to try my hand at using chain links instead of rap rings in my Slackline setup. I ventured out to my local Lowe’s home improvement store and bought one foot (nine links) of 5/16″ 3900lb working load limit (WLL) chain*. Total bill was $2.89 including tax. After cutting every other link I will have 5 good links, so the cost comes out to about $0.58 per link – not bad when you compare the cost of a rap ring at $4.75 (plus tax). A rap ring weighs about 30% less than a link, which is why climbers probably wouldn’t do something like this, but chain links are perfectly useful for Slacklining.

I used a grinder and a cutoff wheel (and some safety equipment) to cut the four odd links. This left me with 5 links for use as line lockers.

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I filed down the weld on each link. As Adam points out, over time the weld on each link can cause damage to the Slackline. (Click on the picture above, and zoom in, to see the welds on the links)  Using a file, some 80 grit sandpaper, and some elbow grease I removed the weld protrusion. The following picture shows a link after the process.

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After smoothing things over with the link, I replaced two of the rap rings in my Slackline setup, one at each end. This picture shows the fixed end using a chain link instead of a rap ring. (The rap ring seen in this picture is part of the system to remove the tri-loading, and cannot be replaced with a chain link).

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For size comparison, here is picture of a link and a rap ring:

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Chain links are nearly 1/10th the cost of rap rings, and two links can eliminate both rap rings of a basic primitive setup. This saves about $9 and gets the job done quite well.

* Note: I used 5/16″ Grade 43 chain that has a 3900 lb Working Load Limit (WLL) and a breaking strength of over 11,000 lbs (52kN). You’ll also find 3/8″ Grade 43 chain available with a WLL of 5400 lbs, and a break strength over 16,000 lbs (72kN). Either of these are good choices, and both accept a 1″ wide Slackline. I stayed away from the chain with lower rating (ie. 2650 lb WLL) and went with the Grade 43. More information here.

Jump Start!

Today’s entry includes a video below.

I had an interesting experience in beginning Slackline. I headed to my buddy Luke’s house (he’s maybe 45) to let him have a go at Slacklining. He’s an avid hockey player, and wanted to test out his balance skills on the line. At first I thought I might set up the line and fifteen minutes later I would tear it down due to lack of interest. But nope! Luke was all in from the first moment he put his foot on the line. He had to learn to control the shaking of his leg, and then to balance on one foot, but he did it! We spent at least a couple of hours, maybe three before lunch. After about an hour or so, he could stand on the line without anyone’s help.

His daughter (13 yrs old) took to the line rather quickly. She didn’t have as much of the shakes to get past, and she was walking on her own after an hour or so. Another daughter (11) also caught on quickly, I think she had done it once or twice before. A neighbor friend (also 11 or so) joined in, and we had a full-on party going!

After lunch, we set the line up again so that his wife could try it. She also did well, without so much of the shakes that other folks (like me) had to deal with.

This was a short line, maybe 26 or 27 feet, so it was easy to get the line really tight and bouncy. This made for easier walking, and the girls were having fun with duels to see who could knock the other person off the line.

Everyone enjoyed the line, and it was a beauty day in the park!

I practiced doing a jump-start and was able to land a few throughout the afternoon. After heading home, my wife and I set up the line for her to practice. I made a few more attempts at jump-start and made the following video of one of them.

I am totally impressed that people can learn to slackline in one day, given enough time on the line! I think my friend might invest in a line, his family surely enjoyed it today!

Catch Up

We were gone for a week, vacationing in Moab, UT. Didn’t get a chance to do any slackline while there, and since it had rained two days before we left for Moab, we hadn’t had a chance to slackline for one whole week. Back home, we set up the line and gave it a go. Good News! We got on the line and started walking right away! That is to say, we didn’t seem to lose much (if any) skill level. I was very impresses when my wife jumped up and walked 3 or 4 steps immediately! It was as if she hadn’t skipped a day of practice.

The one month mark (since our first steps on the line) passed us by last week. I hope that if anybody ever reads this, they realize that a person can make quite a bit of progress learning to slackline.

Turn Around, Slacker!

Today’s entry includes a video below.

Today was another gorgeous day spent slacklining in the sun!

Spent about 1 to 1.5 hours practicing with my wife. Was able to do repeat turn-arounds on the line. Below is a short (30s) video of one turn-around. I practiced turning to the left and to the right. Turning to the left has been easier for me and, after some focused practice today, I am getting the hang of turns to the right. Although this sport looks hard, and it is a bit of a challenge to learn, I am very impressed with how far we’ve come, and that we see progress everyday.

Progress Update

Slacked a bit on Thursday, but none yesterday (Friday) on account of high winds here all day. So, yesterday was a rest day. Set up today about 1p, and slacked for about an hour, taking turns with my wife. She was able to walk about 8 steps on the line today, so she is stoked! It really is fun seeing real progress every time we try it. I am now walking 8 or 10 steps backward, and I can move along the line at a better pace (no more stopping to catch my balance between every darn step!). Will set up tomorrow after lunch (and bowling).

Three weeks and we are moving right along!