Slacklining to longlining: Walking farther and higher

If you’ve ever enjoyed slacklining before and are looking for something new to try, then longlining should be your next challenge. In the slacklining world, longlining is walking on any slackline that is over 100 feet long. I first started slacklining last year on a 50-foot line, then worked myself up to a 100-foot line about four months later. I can walk the line pretty well when it is rigged about 75-feet long, but I wanted to go further, so when my pal Spencer invited me to come longline with him, I was stoked to try it out.

With longer lines, the anchors have to be much higher, so when you’re getting on, your feet don’t touch the ground at all. You have to climb on top of the line and sit astride before attempting to stand up. At that point, you’re sitting on an inch wide piece of webbing (yes, wedgies happen a lot) with nothing holding you steady but your ability to balance, making it feel like a mental process on top of a physical one.

Even though it was a brisk 45 degrees, longlining just isn’t the same with shoes on, so we went barefoot as we would on a warm day. Spencer’s line is over 400 feet long, but he had it rigged a third of its length at about 140 feet. I wasn’t feeling very optimistic, so it was a complete surprise to me when I got on the longline and was able to take about 10 steps before losing my balance.

Fortunately, slacklining is an easy sport to get accustomed to. Your body learns early on how to stand and how to distribute your weight so that your balance is always on top of the line and not under it. It was fun adjusting to the dynamics of the longline. They react differently to wind, so it felt like the line was dancing under my feet as it moved from side to side.

Overall, I loved trying out the longline, and I hope to keep walking longer and longer lines. I also feel extremely lucky to have friends who are way better slackliners than I am, and I learn from watching them every time. So, if you’re someone who wants to try longlining, I’d suggest starting out on shorter lines and then working up to longer lengths. It can also be a fun challenge to jump from a 50-feet line to a 200-feet one as well, if you’re up for a little wobbly fun. You can buy slacklines at any outdoor store in Bozeman, such as REI, or order them (for significantly cheaper) online. All it takes to get started is a line, two trees the optimal distance apart and preferably a friend who knows what they’re doing to help you out.