Dossier: Trend sports

Slacklining: balancing for any age

Samuel Volery is a human movement science researcher at the ETH and multiple world record holder on the slackline. Read on for his tips for beginners and to find out why slacklining holds such a fascination for him.

Text: Clau Isenring

How long does it take for beginners to feel confident on a slackline?

Someone who’s sporty and who trains regularly will be able to cross a 30 to 50-metre slackline in about a month. I’m currently trying to cross slacklines that we set up in the mountains stretching across 1 km.

What’s the best length and width of slackline for beginners?

A slackline set for beginners is usually 15 metres long. For first attempts I recommend setting up the slackline over no more than five meters. The line should be pulled tightly approximately 30 cm from the ground. Lines with a width of around 3.5 cm are best for beginners. No wider, because broad lines are “wobblier”. Balance is influenced significantly by touch. The wider the line, the less you can feel your way along the edges of the slackline with your toes.

Where is it best to set up slacklines?

Anywhere between two trees on flat ground. Trees are ideal because huge forces are exerted on the anchor points. Don’t use road signs, because they don’t hold.

Is slacklining also suitable for older people?

Definitely. We’ve held courses for 70-year-olds before. Slacklining is an excellent way of preventing falls as it helps train balance. And of course, grandchildren are delighted if their grandparents have a slackline in their garden.

How much does a good slackline set cost?

Between CHF 150 and CHF 200. High-quality sets are kinder on trees because they have an anchoring system that does less damage to the bark. Speaking of protecting trees, if you set up a permanent slackline between two trees in your garden, you should change the position of the line once a month to prevent the trees from being damaged.