For those who have never heard of slacklining, what is it exactly?
In basic terms, slacklining is the art of balancing on a length of webbing tensioned between two anchor points. Being a relatively new and progressive activity the boundaries of what’s possible on a line are consistently being pushed further and further… from simply balancing you progress to walking, turning and simple ‘static’ tricks, and from there you progress to bouncing, jumping, flipping, and combinations of tricks. The possibilities are endless…
How did you first hear about it?
Maverick crew have been slacking for a couple of years – we’d seen some pretty inspiring stuff on youtube mainly from America and this made us even more keen to get ‘tricking’ – we then became totally hooked.
How accessible is slacklining, is it just a case of finding two trees?
With the dawn of ratchet tensioned lines slacklining has become extremely accessible. It remained fairly unheard of for many years due to the use of climbing gear being used to rig and tension lines. However, modern ratchet tensioned systems are very simple to use and inexpensive, opening up slacklining to an entirely new and much wider audience… It really is as simple as finding 2 anchor points, such as trees (parks are a great place to set up), and the line can be set up very easily in just a couple of minutes.
You can see how simple it is on the video below on how to set up a Maverick Slackline. This method is similar for all ratchet slacklines.
You have recently been advertising some club sessions on your facebook page within sports halls, how do you go about rigging the lines in an indoor environment?
At our indoor club, the lines are attached to floor-fixings and run over 2 purpose built boxes to raise the line off the ground. This set up can be utilised in many ways when trees or other anchor points are in short supply, for example on the beach we’ve dug in ground anchors and used simple A-frames to raise the line off the ground. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
How often are your club sessions, are they always in the same spot or do you move around – is there any cost involved to participate?
Currently we are running a weekly club at Ashdown Leisure Centre in Canford Heath on alternate Thursdays (details are posted on our FB site) – this isÂ free to join and participate at the moment. The Sports Centre Manager is really cool about it and is already talking about rolling this out to other areas.
Everyone who comes along seems to get hooked pretty quickly and there’s a lot of interest.
For those of us living in towns and city centres, can you give any â€œto do’sâ€ and â€œnot to doâ€ tips for the urban environment?
Careful selection of anchor points! Don’t tie off to anything you think you might break, slacklines can exert huge forces. Also, avoid sharp edges that could damage the line… It’s best to stick to trees if you’re unsure. Use large, strong trees of a type with tough bark and always take great care to protect them. An old towel or a piece of old carpet will do the job nicely…
Slacklining has actually beeen prohibited in the royal parks of London due to concern about damage to trees. Take every effort you can to protect the trees you are using and hopefully this won’t become a problem, being seen to be responsibly caring for the trees we are using will benefit the way slacklining is perceived by the general public
At what stage of walking lines yourselves did you start â€œMaverick Slacklinesâ€?
We’d all been slacking on and off for a while, Jennings longer than the rest of us with two years under his belt – hence he’s got some good tricks nailed and some of usÂ have got some catching up to do!
What were you doing before you made slacklines, do you have any other products or projects?
Maverick are best known for creating some of the best skateparks in the UK – Dorchester, Hairy Bobs in Scarborough, Midsomer Norton and more recentlyÂ Halton in Lancashire are amongst the top UK parks. We set up a few years back to push the boundaries in skatepark provision and nowadays we are seen asÂ one of the industry leaders.
Do you plan on extending your product line, and what are the benefits between different styles of line?
We’re currently developing a number of new product lines to add to the range – all under wraps at the moment but we’ll let you know when the time’s right.
Do you plan on more clubs throughout the summer, any big events you will be attending?
We’re meeting up with a number of people who want to start up their own slackline clubs to help them get startedÂ – we cant be everywhere and this is a great opportunity for ‘slackers’ to start their own local community. We’reÂ happy to help with advice and support along the way.
We’ll definitely planning to be at some of the events this Summer. We’ve been commissioned to install a skateparkÂ in Glastonbury later this year, and we’ll be demonstrating the lines at this year’s Glastonbury Festival – can’t waitÂ for this one! We’ll also be doing the Windfest event at Sandbanks on the beach. Apart from that we are stillÂ planning which other venues we can fit in – we get requests pretty much daily for us to go and take part in somethingÂ somewhere – it’s incredibly exciting to see the enthusiasm generated.
It must be pretty hard work up there on the line, would you recognise slacklining as a good form of exercise?
Slacklining is incredibly good excercise, it builds core strength, balance and mental focus and is recognised to build lateral stability in the knees. These things make it an excellent cross-training tool for other sports. It’s actually surprising how much it does exercise the body. It uses muscles you probably don’t even know you have!
For the more adventurous out there, there are lots of tricks you can pull off on the line. Where does the inspiration for these come from?
As different people from different backgrounds get involved, tricks and styles are becoming more varied. Some of the more basic ‘static’ tricks are essentially yoga postures, the more advanced moves are drawing inspiration from gymnastics, trampolining, even breakdancing. Now, slackline tricks are starting to develop organically as people become more familiar with the line and how it works and the progession of trick development is one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of slacklining, with new ‘firsts’ being claimed regularly.
What advice would you give to anyone reading this who would like to give it a try?
Get involved! This is something anyone can enjoy and can be extemely rewarding, whatever you’re ability…
Persevere ! Initially it can feel very daunting trying to stand on a thin, wobbly line, but with a couple of hours practise most people can start to get a feel for balancing. Once you’ve pushed through those early wobbles and trepidations and it starts to feel comfortable then the real fun can begin! Don’t expect to be doing backflips on your first session and enjoy learning the basics at your own pace… And respect the trees man…
Is there any shout outs or final words you would like to say?
We’d like to say a big thank you to our growing team of slackers who come along to our club and events regularly. The slackline scene is just about to explode in the UK and it’s really exciting to be a part of it.
Keep up with the word on the line with Maverick below:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/maverickslacklines
Maverick Blog – www.maverickslacklines.co.uk