Trickline Basics and Forces
When it comes to gear, tricklining is arguably the most demanding disciplines of slacklinling. When advanced tricks like big aerials, flips, body bounces and major dynamics become part of your practice the simple girth hitched beginner trickline kits will no longer cut it. When you get to this point there are currently two general options to consider; either you can 1) use a pulley system to tension your trickline or 2) use slings and shackles in conjunction with one or two big, industrial style ratchets. But before we dive into the different rigging options, let’s talk about the forces involved in tricklines.
Tricklines exert incredibly high forces on both your body and your gear. It is imperative to use strong, rated connectors with a high safety factor in addition to understanding what your body can take. When rigging a trickline the static load (the load/tension needed for big tricks) is set very high to increase the trampoline like effect of the webbing. Not only is there a high, sustained static load but when one starts tricking, very intense cyclic loading takes place that adds to the overall load taken by the connectors and equipment.
Loads commonly exceed 15kN (over 3,300 lbf) on big tricks. We recommend using a minimum of 2 ton (4,000 lbf) WLL shackles as your main connectors and spansets as slings for all things trickline. Over time, gear that is repeatedly loaded over its working load (WLL), will decrease in strength; it will fatigue and potentially fail.
To protect your body from the load cycles tricklining creates it is a good idea to rig your trickline over 45 ft (15 m) in length, better yet over 65 ft (20 m). This gives the system more webbing to absorb the loads and increase the travel you can bounce on. This also creates less compression on your spine when butt bouncing. This is also good practice for your gear, as the forces are lower and less abrupt.
It goes without saying that your anchor points must be chosen wisely for tricklines; they must be bomber (incredibly solid). Thin trees and man made structures, like volleyball poles, park benches and street lamps must be avoided at all costs. If it is not absolutely bomber, do not use it. The last thing you’d want to do is anchor to a lamp post and then pull the lamp post down on top of yourself while on the slackline. Believe it or not this has happened and people have been seriously injured.