Within slacklining there are a number of different disciplines emerging that contain their own unique skillset and attract various personality types. After moving beyond the basics, tricklining, longlining, slackline yoga, highlining and rodeo-lining are practices to progress into; each having different rigging requirements. We like to remind people that as your style becomes more clear to you, make sure you know how to safely set up your rig wherever you might end up practicing.
Longlining is one of the most committing forms of slacklining and often a segue into highlining. Slacklines become longlines once the distance grows beyond 100ft. Once these distances are reached, it becomes extremely difficult to tension the slackline using a primitive system and ratchet systems are ineffective at these lengths.
Typically, a 5:1 block and tackle pulley system (commonly referred to as a slackline rig or rig) is used to achieve the necessary tension in the webbing. These are typically effective until you reach the 400 foot mark. When greater distances are desired, more mechanical advantage may be needed. Common tensioning systems beyond the 5:1, are 6:1 and 9:1 block and tackle pulley systems. Again, these are used to bring the line up to desired walking tension over hundreds and thousands (yes, thousands) of feet.
Tricklining is by far the most attention grabbing form of park slacklining. Modern tricklining combines elements of static poses, acrobatic aerials, and bold tricks. Tricklining is commonly done on 2 inch slacklines. Common converts to tricklining are skaters, snowboarders, break dancers and gymnasts. The webbing is typically really bouncy (or trampoline like as the manufactures would call it) and made from polyester. They are typically tensioned with ratchet systems using either one or two of them position on either end of the system.
Slackline yoga is a great way to stay in shape for other activities or cross train for the different disciplines of slacklining. Both slacklining and yoga activate your core and stabilizer muscles like nothing else, so why not combine the disciplines. Doing static poses and transitions on a slackline develops body awareness and balancing skills.
Rodeo-lining is actually one of the simplest styles of slacklining… when it comes to rigging. Rodeo-lines are essentially super loose slacklines. It’s practiced on 1” wide webbing and is rigged by setting the anchors about 10 feet or more in height while allowing the slackline to be left under very loose tension. No tensioning system is needed. What this style gives you is incredible side to side motion when surfing. The dynamics between a high tension line versus a low tension one are incredible different. Rodeo-lining is a great way to mix up your routine.
Highlining is the capstone for the practice of slacklining and rigging. It is traditionally practiced on 1” wide webbing and can become fairly complex to set up safely. Highlining is the test piece for many slackliners. Bringing the slackline to heights creates an entirely new dynamic; your headspace changes, nerves rise, exposure increases and for the bolder slackliner; challenge accepted!