the Line: USU students 'slackline' in spare time
By Amanda Wouden
May 3, 2006 | While studying, Utah State University
students, Jon Knott and Whit Lund take a break
to "slack, while slacking off," Lund said.
"We set up the line while doing homework, but
we usually just end up slacking the whole time,"
Lund, a junior in business administration said.
A type of portable tight rope walking, slacklinning,
is "the act of having an unbelievable amount of
fun walking and doing tricks on a piece of webbing
pulled tight between two points, also used as
a form of meditation, physical and mental training,"
according to slacklineexpress.com.
"It's like who invented bread? Did one person
invent it or did multiple people at different
times," Lund said.
of current slacklining is generally credited
to two rockclimbers from California who started
walking on loose chains and cables in the early
1980s. After time they started to string up ther
climbing gear to test their balancing skills and
the term slacklining was born.
DONE: A USU student demonstrates
slacklining. / Photo by Amanda Wouden
up a slackline is the process of gaining a mechanical
advantage through friction and a simple pulley system.
The more times we wrap, the less we have to pull to
make it tight. As it tightens the webbing holds itself,"
Knott, a junior in biology said.
We want it as tight as we can get it. We walk it a
couple of times and then we have to retighten it, Knott
Knott and Lund consider themselves beginners. "We
are just starting," Knott said.
"You gotta get in the mood a little bit -- because
you have to be relaxed and calm to do it," Knott said.
"If you are too tense it doesn't work," Lund said.
While attempting a
180 Knott fell off the line into a pushup positon.
"Wow that could have been dangerous," onlooker Rebekah
I haven't been hurt too bad. You can fall off with
one foot on the other side of the line than your body,
and sometimes you get scrapes but nothing too serious,
"One time I missed the line went down and hit my stomach
on it, grabbed it and flipped around to the ground,"
One way slackers can get hurt is by surfing the line.
"It's when you get out there and the line starts swaying
back and forth," Knott said.
"Not a little wobble but a big one," Lund said.
"When you walk across really fast, we call that 'sprinting
the line', it's not a technical term, we just made it
up," Lund said.
Sprinting the line was not a problem for first-timer
Rebekah Royce, a junior in geology. Just relax was the
main point as Lund and Knott gave advice and
tips to Royce.
"Don't think of it as you have to concentrate, you
just do it. The times when I do best is when I am just
confident and walk," Lund said.
"If you think too much you start to screw up," Knott
We started with the webbing low, around 2 feet off
the ground but once you get in the middle the line hits
the ground, he said.
"We started out having someone walk next to us, so
that we could put our hands on their heads if we needed,
but really it was just for the first two or three walks,"
While setting up the slackers put cardboard on the
trees to protect them and their webbing, Lund said.
"Different tree's bark is fine, but on these trees
this webbing would tear the bark off, so you have to
be careful," Knott said.