What are these people doing? On the way to class, one might pass students walking on (or falling off of) lines strung between trees on Kafadar Commons and wonder that very thing.
This is the Slackline Club. To rig a slackline, a length of webbing is tensioned between anchors on two trees. People work on walking on it and even doing tricks. Some members of the group are working on walking, while others are mastering tricks like back flips and sit starts. Mickey Wilson, president of the club, explained, “slacklining becomes addicting once you try it out.” Mike Kasberg, a junior in the slackline club, said, “I just like the feeling you get when you’re walking or doing a trick, it’s the same thrill as any other sport.” For those just starting out he recommends to “just practice as often as you can. The more work you put into it, the more you will get out of it.”
Tom has been going with other members of the club when they set up a highline at North Table some 60 feet above the ground. The slackliners are attached to the line with a harness and leash, but understandably, Tom was scared of the idea at first. He kept working with his friends and built up the skill to try it when they went out on their most recent trip a few weeks ago. “The amount of exposure and the feeling you get sitting on an inch of webbing sixty feet off the ground is incredible,” Tom remembers. He thinks it is “something everyone should experience.”
The club is open to everyone, including beginners. “They’re willing to teach you if you’re brand new,” said Jonathon Cummins, a freshman beginning to get into the sport. Walking or even getting up on the line is difficult at first. But as Tom Grummon, the treasurer puts it, “all you need is persistence and enthusiasm.” If heights are an issue, that’s okay. David encourages people walking by to get involved, “walking takes forever to figure out but stop by and come try it.”
Even if this seems a bit intimidating, it can be worth a shot just to meet people. “All slackliners are super friendly. If you ask to get on their line, no one will say no,” said Wilson. As he will tell you, “It’s not actually as scary or dangerous as people think.” Slacklining may seems ridiculous at first, but it is fun and popular, as the club attests.