Highlines

23 10 2011

 

In case you were wondering what is going on in the picture above, well that’s my buddy Dylan on his way back from establishing a new highline trying to cross a very very cold river. Needless to say it was a chilling experience!

This weekend turned out to be a busy couple days establishing two new highlines in Golden, Colorado. The first one was about 8 months in the making after I had noticed the gap on my trips to Breckenridge. The next step was a recon mission with good buddies Anthony and Mike. After discovering that it was possible, the decision was to come back and create a spot for the anchors. So 4 months later Slackline Visions and crew Scott, Quinn, Dylan, Sara and myself got the gear packed up  and successfully got the job done! Besides the walk itself, which we did not have time for, the toughest part of the day was getting back and forth across the river. After looking up and down the river for a suitable place to cross, it became apparent that the only way was to strip down to undies and ford the river. There was definitely sun- shine all day but some of the coldest water I have ever been in. So the picture above best explains it, Dylan who pushes the highlining side of things at Slackline Visions, is crossing back over the creek and unfortunately fell in with his heavy backpack. After shivering himself dry it was to the car for some warm clothes. Hence the name “Cold Creek” highline. 182ft long and 100ft off the ground.

The next morning Tyler, Elliott, David and myself woke up early to establish another highline that has been long in the making as well. A year ago David Stallman, the Vice President of the CSM slackline club had told me about a possible highline that he had noticed while climbing a route in Clear Creek. After looking at it from below we both concluded that it was possible to establish a highline. One year later and with the help of four people, we all climbed to the top of the 400ft sport climb and made it happen. Since it took most of the day to locate and establish the anchor points, this line will have to wait just a little while longer before it sees its first accent. The name of the line is still undecided per Davids request until someone walks it. It is roughly 90ft long and an epic 400ft up. Can’t wait to send these new highlines! These two highlines will be a good addition to the slackline community, but keep in mind that as the sport of highlining grows, we should be careful regarding access issues, follow leave no trace policies and please be safe with your rigging.

Brought to you by Slackline Visions
Written by Josh Beaudoin





Stewardship, conservation and slacklining

20 10 2011

 

Normally one would think that the words stewardship and conservation have little to do with slacklining. Well, that is not  case. Since most slacklines are set up in the park, over the water or between two cliffs that are ridiculously high off the ground the position for stewardship and conservation is a must in the slackline community. When we slackline at the park we must wrap our trees and make sure that the trees we are slacklining on are big enough to support the slackline. When we slackline over water we must be mindful of the trash  we pack in, so we can pack it out and leave our rivers clean pristine. When we highline we must consider the eco system and use the trails provided as well as pack out trash.  Though most slackliners practice these concepts we have a great opportunity to spread this great knowledge on to the next slacker that joins this already positive community!

Working closely with the Colorado Mountain Club and their youth programs, Slackline Visions was invited to come help facilitate a stewardship and conservation workshop put on by Lisa Cashel the Lands Partnership Manager at the Colorado Mountain Club. Slacklining was there as a another station for the volunteers to experience.

The workshop was located at North Table in Golden, Co, where people come from all over to climb the basalt cliffs above. Mostly sport climbing with a few trad-routes, the destination serves as a a place for beginners as well as tough problems for even the strongest climber.The approach to the crag is mellow and because the cliffs are south facing, the weather year round is good nine times out of ten.  Due to all of this North Table sees a lot of traffic.

The team was mixed with youth and adults alike, split up into two different teams, one working on the trails and the other painting over graffiti, removing plants that are not indigenous to the area and picking up trash. And of course there was slacklining. Having the parking lot to ourselves enabled us to have 6 slacklines set up, including the predictable walking surfaces and a slackrack that allowed even the most novice slacker to learn how to find their balance on a dynamic surface such as a slackline. The slackrack is a device that keeps the slackline a foot from the ground and is used with a GIBBON slackline. The other slacklines consisted of different two inch GIBBON slacklines and a one inch Proline. The day was filled with lots of learning and sharing knowledge, it was a beautiful day and a great opportunity to meet new people with the same compassion for the outdoors. Projects like this allow us humans to enjoy our environmental surroundings without destroying it. Slackline Visions would like to thank Lisa Cashel, Melanie Joyce and all the other volunteers for making this event possible and exciting. Thank you Lisa Cashel for taking all the wonderful pictures!

Brought to you by Slackline Visions
Written by Josh Beaudoin





Slackline Campus Buzz

17 10 2011

 

 

 

Slacklining in college seems to be the perfect thing to do when you’re not studying for a test or trying to complete a frustrating homework assignment. By slacklining one can alleviate that type of stress and anxiety that that environment can bring.

Slackline clubs across the United States have been a popular thing to start amongst the college scene, creating huge turnouts within the student body. Taking it a step further the CU slackline club created a college slackline tournament not only to let the slackers compete for the top spot, but to raise awareness of the sport and to raise money in order to plant trees in the rainforest’s.

Travis Brown, Spencer Roberts and Sam Starka are students at CU and are the ones behind this awesome event. Also serving as founders of the CU slackline club, they were there to spread the word and help cultivate the slackline community.

Helping to facilitate this event was GIBBON slacklines and Slackline Visions. The GIBBON team brought the protective padding and the lines in order to make this event safe, fun and exciting. GIBBON also provided the winner of the competition a plane ticket to Boston in order to compete in the GIBBON GAME EAST 2011.

The day for the slackline competition could not have been better, the sun was out with only a few clouds in the sky. A total of 6 lines were set up on campus with a spotter at each one. The lines varied from different kinds of two inch lines to a 70ft one inch Pro Line. After signing a waiver and learning how to save and protect the trees each student received a pink wrist band and they were ready to slack. People were all over campus trying out the different lines, having fun while seeing the many different slackline styles that were present. Since this was a college slackline tournament it only seemed right to invite other slackers from other slackline clubs in Colorado to be a part of this wonderful event. One club that was a major supporter was the Colorado School of Mines slackline club. 15 members all packed into 3 tiny cars, including Mickey Wilson, club president, made their way to the slackline competition.

Judging the competition, was the one and only Michael Payton, the stylish Hayden Nickel and myself. There were some very close matches, which made for an exciting event to watch! The energy was high, with different styles and big tricks to go with it. The crowd went crazy when tricks like the chest bounce 360, the back bounce to chest bounce and the backflip to chest bounce were landed.

Armed only with a megaphone, Sam Starka did a great job entertaining the crowd during and between the rounds at the event. And since there was a policy that didn’t allow any type of amplified sound, Finn saved the day with his amazing talent on the hand drum. The crowd numbered well over one hundred people supporting their favorite slacker with cheers and encouragement.The final results of the competition were close and definitely gave the judges a run for their money. They were, 4th place Zach, 3rd place Eric, 2nd place Michael Bross and 1st place went to………Mickey Wilson. Congratulations! and good luck in Boston. This was another milestone passed and a great day for the slackline community. Slackline Visions would like to thank Travis, Spencer and Sam for making this event possible. This event truly left people with high energy and a positive mentality about what it is to be a slacker. A special thanks to Kate Denninger for all of the great pictures.

Brought to you by Slackline Visions
Written by Josh Beaudoin





Golden River Line

11 10 2011

 

The Golden river line is always a fun line to set up in between events in order to spice things up a bit. When set up diagonally across the river, the line is about 75 feet long, 4 feet above the river at the ends and 6 inches over the water in the middle. The water was 2ft deep  in spots and because of the rocks beneath the water it was best to keep your shoes on in case of a fall. Since the slackline was just skimming the surface of the water, there was no room left to catch the line. In the event of a fall, you are either on the line or in the water.

 

The slackline crew today consisted of Quinn, Marcus, Mickey, Tyler, Adam, John and myself. A mixed group of slackers with more or less the same objective, to find freedom while on the line. Four slackliners out of the group were actually from the CSM slackline club, a club with over 200 slackers  on the email list. After Mickey and I pulled the line to tension, the only thing left to do was to walk across. I went first and made it to the other side, followed by Mickey who cruised it as well. Tyler was next in line to go, with this being the craziest thing he has attempted to walk, he was ready to give it his best. After attempting the line several times with each time ending up in the water about 10 ft out, Tyler was ready to pass the turn on to Marcus. Marcus choose to go bare foot for this walk in order to get a better feel of the line while sacrificing shoes that could potentially protect his feet from the rocks if he were to fall in. So in short it was a pretty intense walk, everyone watching held their breath while Marcus took each step slowly and with much focus. Finally making it to the other end you could hear a big sigh of release, as everyone cheered his successful walk. Quinn, who was in desperate need of a root canal, was up next. Despite the pain he was in he made walking over the water quite easy. Walking a water line such as this one has crazy psychological challenges that come with it. If we were to set up a line in the park similar in distance and height,  everyone who was there to attempt the creek line would have rocked it. All around it was a great day to be out and around so many people that share the same passion as you do. Slacklining has always been a good way to connect with great people, and what better way to do that then under the bridge over the river and.
Brought to you by Slackline Visions
Written by Josh Beaudoin





US NATIONAL SLACKLINE COMPETITION

8 10 2011

 

 

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