Hammock Culture

Ask a Sarcastic Slackliner

slackline1I am a slackliner so instead of interviewing another slackliner, I’m going to interview myself. First off, I’ll say that this is possibly the most wicked interview with a slackliner ever written. Second, I did NOT talk to myself during the bullet points (as in, I didn’t go, “bullet. bla bla bla.”). Those bullets are there for your convenience. Third, enjoy!

ENO:  Why Slackline?
Me:  Slacklining’s great for your balance. The unstable tension of the line also strengthens your leg and core muscles. Many rock climbers use slacklines for cross training purposes. But there’s more than just physical benefits.

I first started slacklining a few years ago. A buddy of mine set up a line between two trees in this forest where our friends used to hang out. You know, we were just chilling and he sets up this line, and we’re all like, Dude? You can probably walk on that thing. And he’s like, yeah, that’s why I set it up.

So, I’ve been going at it for a few years. It’s just — you feel one with the universe, you know? I can’t explain it. Love isn’t the right word, but it’s kind of like practicing your capacity to love when you’re on a line.

ENO:  What Do I Need for a Good Slackline Setup?
Me: For a good slackline setup, you’ll need:

  • 70 feet of nylon webbing, one inch in diameter
  • Two pieces of carpet, or sturdy cardboard
  • 5 carabiners

ENO: Where do I Buy?
Me: You can find webbing and carabiners at most climbing stores.

Besides that… I don’t know. The internet? I’m sure there’s some places where you can buy them. That one website… ENO, with all the stuff on it, probably.

Seriously, it’s been a while since I bought mine. Ask your friends.

slackline2ENO: Where are the Best Places to Slackline?
Me: I was just at the quad on this college campus where I know a few people. My ex-girlfriend goes there — we’re still kind of friends, and all her friends are super cool, they’re really artistic and just thoughtful, you know?

So it was me, a couple other people, and we had this line set up — it was a gorgeous day man. It was warm, and the sun, man — there were these beams of light coming through the leaves. We were hanging out and hopping on the line when we felt like it. I was just in the zone.

Then these kids walked by. I don’t like to judge man. I mean, people are people — am I right? But these kids, I could see right away, never walked on a line before. Their clothes were a little… But I don’t judge, you know?

So I just waved at them. They pretended not to notice, so I said Hey, nice day, right? And they nodded and kept walking. Then I said, Hey you guys want to jump on the line? And they stop and they all looked at each other, and I could tell — I could see it in their eyes that they wanted to get on the line, so bad. But they had never done it before, so they’re a little scared. They just laughed and said, maybe when they come back from doing whatever it was they were doing. So I said, Sweet dude.

They never came back — they were probably busy — but that’s what I love about slacklining, man. You know how our government has people overseas. Well slackliners are kind of like ambassadors in our own country. We spread goodwill. Those people walking by? Their lives were affected by the good slacklining energy.

ENO:  How do I Setup my Slackline?
Me:  Find two anchors, like trees, that will hold the force of the slackline. And use your carpet/cardboard pieces to protect the trees. Then, tie a clove hitch into one end of your webbing and attach two carabiners…

You know what? You can probably figure this stuff out yourself. I mean, check the internet or something. The thing you’ve got  to realize about slacklining is that it’s not about rules, it’s not about following a how-to guide to setting up a line — it’s about expressing yourself. On top of a springy, unstable line.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, man. I mean, you only live once right? — Actually, I believe in reincarnation, so I probably have a couple more lifetimes before I get out of the endless loop of existence. I just hope that I come back next time as a creature that can slackline.

But, you know, I’m pretty inclusive about people’s systems of beliefs. I don’t want to impose my values on you, man — so if you, you know, believe in this whole one life stuff… Who am I to say otherwise? Maybe we do only have one life to live, as beautiful as a hummingbird fluttering its little wings. We just don’t know, man, and I dig it!

ENO:  How do I Perform Slackline Tricks?
Me:  Tricks? Tricks!? Man, you’ve got a lot to learn if you’re calling them “tricks.” And the fact that you’re asking about them tells me you’re not ready.

You think you can just learn how to jump in a circle and land on the line without falling? You may as well ask how to measure the duration of eternity. These things can’t be learned — they can only be felt!

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound harsh. Sometimes my negative energies just get the best of me. Tricks are hard man, and I keep saying: slacklining’s more than just tricks. Life is more than tricks.

ENO:  How do I Care for my Slacklining Gear?
Me: Sometimes your webbing’s gonna break, and there’s just not a whole lot you can do about it. Things wear down, and things break. That’s just life, you know? And you know what? I love it anyway!

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