Slacklining has definitely come a long way since it first started. Athletes are tuning into the benefits that slacklining has to offer like strengthening the link between the mind and body, increasing ones range of focus and enhancing all your natural abilities. Slacklining has progressed from something that climbers did to kill time to people enjoying a great day in the park to utilizing slacklining as a cross-trainer.
Now slacklining has a competition circuit of its own with athletes that compete for supreme balance. Gibbon, a company that brought the 2 inch line into the picture and who has been responsible for pushing the sport of slacklining to new heights has created a slackline competition circuit that is spreading across the US. Who’s attending? Slackers from all around the US and other countries have shown up to give it their best shot at winning the comp as well as to meet other slackers in order to share different tricks and to share the energy that slacklining brings. The slackliners include many types of characters and people from all walks of life. In the end it is about finding freedom while on the line and sharing experiences with great people. Gibbon had asked Slackline Visions to help at the competition in Ohio and Slackline Visions was happy to be a part of such an event. Leaving from Golden it was a 19 hour drive to get to the competition, but I was in luck because Quinn and Mickey, two local talented slackliners, had signed up for the comp. So we were able to share the responsibilities of driving on this long road trip.
My part in the competition was to be one of the judges at the competition along side with Damian Cooksey, owner of Bridges Rock gym in California and Brent Anslinger of Gearfest. It was an honor to be a part of this exciting event that captured most of the crowd that came to this gear show. There were so many new slackliners to meet with their own style and tricks to share. One thing that was impressive to see, was the level of talent that the two women who were in the comp had. Emily Sukiennik and Melissa Bowe, who are very talented on the slackline throwing tricks like chest bounce’s, big butt bounces with crazy combos and sick-nasty‘s.
Along with the Gibbon lines that were up, the event let us set up a mid line, which is a line just high enough to warrant a leash in case of a fall. The line was set up by Michael Payton, it was 150 ft long and consisted of two Gibbon Pro lines taped together. The general census the line was that it was very comfortable to walk for a highline. The tension of the line was just right and the Gibbon one inch Pro Line made it feel like you were walking a 75 ft line rather than 150 ft.
The competition was held over two days, starting on Friday and finishing up with finals on Saturday night. The competition was full of surprises and upsets, which made for a very interesting tournament. The energy was high, with the crowd going crazy. When prizes were given out between each match it was like watching a football game with a huge dogpile and the ref being the MC pulling people off each other in order to see who actually got the slackline. Things got crazy!
The competition was set up with an 18 man bracket. The competitors included Brad Schneider, Josh Greenwood, Emily Sukiennik, Mike Payton, Alex Mason, Hayden Nickell, Mickey Wilson, Quinn Carrasco, Melissa Bowe, Kyle Cockett, Frankie Najera,Luke Hall, Zach Duckworth, John Fait, Jack Bethel and Thomas Fullerton. Everyone in the competition tried their best knowing that there could only be one who could walk away with the title, that person ended up being Michael Payton. His style and technique was pretty amazing to watch. Second place went to Mickey Wilson, pretty much unknown to the scene, he runs the slackline club at the Colorado School of Mines where there are over 200 students that are signed up for the club. He was the wildcard at the comp surprising everyone with his energy on the line and landing the backflip to chest bounce, which has never been landed at a competition before. Third place went to Alex Mason who is only 14 yrs old, and has only been slacklining for the past year and a half. In fourth place was Hayden Nickell, who is a slacker you might want to follow, he has a talent for both the two inch and the one inch slackline.His style is mixed with unique grabs and butt bounces.
A good thing to see at a slackline competition was the prize money. First place got $1,250.00, even 2nd and 3rd received money. The slackers at this competition worked hard for their balance on the line and deserve the right to compete for cash like that.
It was great to be able to be there and support such an event, especially when you have seen the sport of slacklining grow
Damian Cooksey and Mike Payton avoiding the rain
so much in the last few years. Slacklining is definitely catching on, as being the activity of choice among all ages and becoming the ultimate way to cross train your mind and body. Going to the USA National Slackline Championship was an amazing experience and I look forward to the next event.
Emilio, Josh and Jaime
Thank you Emilio and Jaime for making this happen.
Brought you by Slackline Visions
Written by Josh Beaudoin