Monday, August 14, 2006

Slacker



Not much to report on the surfing front last weekend. The wind was blowing like hell again and the swell was prepubescent in size. Not only that, but the Saturday crowd at Short Sands was insane. We had to wait 15 minutes to get down the steps to the beach as a parade of 50 soft-top surfboards filed up the stairs. Did I mention that there were no waves?

This reminded me of a flat-spell alternative I just tried for the first time: slacklining. I'd seen Rob Machado messing around with it in a surf mag before, but my friend Utah, a seasoned climber, taught me the basics a few months ago. Essentially, you stretch a strap between two trees and give it enough slack so that when you step onto it, it stretches down a few feet. The effect is similar to walking on a tight rope, but with trampoline-like spring in the line. The trick to being able to walk along the strap is to concentrate intensely on the end, where it meets the tree. Looking at your feet will mess you up. It took me awhile, but I finally was able to walk the line by myself. Seasoned slackliners like Utah can walk the line, turn around on one foot, and walk back with acrobatic ease. Experts can do flips on the line and all kinds of other mind-boggling (read insane) tricks.

In the top picture above, believe it or not, I'm off the ground and officially slacklining. Look easy? In the second shot you can see how far I'm launched by the strap and how high it snaps when you fall. The first time I tried it, Utah warned me in her German accent, "Be careful not to straddle the strap when you fall. Not good."

Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
(I couldn't resist...)

3 comments:

Diane said...

I remember this. You were so brave and coordinated just enough not to do yourself a disastrous snap. Nice photography.

g said...

Slacker,

7.5 at 8 secs...you never know it could deliver some short-interval smiles. Peace, aka Jason, aka my brother, is donning the new suit Wednesday for a go-out with the S...teins.

totor said...

In the famous movie "Free ride", Rabbit Bartholomew "rides" a kind of kid swing made with a beam.
Difficult to explain without an image, but it just looks crazy, he even manages to noseride it; the moves are just so similar to surfing!!!!