Yesterday my friend and I spent part of the day gathering materials, seeking out some quality trees, and taking our first stab at slacklining. We ended up in Frank Curto Park, the strange magical land on the side of Bigelow Boulevard, home to the random french fries looking sculpture and even more random wild turkey.
We picked up some nylon tow straps at the home improvement store and set about finding suitable trees to secure them to. After some trial and error we found a pretty good pair of trees and ran our line, maybe about 18″ above the ground. That may not sound very high but since this was our first try at it we wanted to make sure we could fall and not have too far to go.
A while back I watched a documentary about suspension, and someone had said that the hardest part isn’t having hooks put through the flesh of your back, its having the belief in your body to hold you as you leave the ground. “Letting go of the earth is the hardest part.”, they said, as they were slowly raised above the ground, tip-toes clinging to the earth in a last minute effort to NOT let go of stable ground.
So far in my limited experience I’m finding this notion to be very true to wire walking as well. Gathering the will to take the first step up onto the board or strap seems to be the hardest part. Once your feet leave the ground and you find your balance above it, it doesn’t seem nearly as scary as it did before.
All in all I think my first attempt at slacklining was successful. I got up on the straps, I even took a few steps. I didn’t break any bones. I laughed. I’d call that a pretty good start.