Break out the slackline

On a surf trip, only a few hours, at most, are spent in the water.

The rest of the day is spent making and eating meals while telling tall (wave) tales.

There’s some resting and napping that goes on too, but it’s fun to have other daytime activities. So it’s a good time to break out the slackline.

Slacklining was developed by rock climbers in the 70’s to train their balance skills, and for fun. You just stretch a length of strong nylon webbing between two stationary anchors, usually trees, and then (try to) walk across it.

It’s kinda like tightrope walking, but a slackline isn’t as tightly tensioned as a tightrope and the webbing, 1 to 2 inches wide, keeps your foot from rolling.

It’s hard to do at first. Your legs will shake with small tremors while your nervous system figures out how to fire correctly to walk on an unstable surface. Then as your muscles learn, you can take a couple of tentative steps, lose your balance and try again.

Besides being fun and good for your balance, slacklining is a good icebreaker. People are drawn in when they see it. The people who’ve done it before want to have a go and people who’re seeing it for the first time want to try it out.

I’ve set up a slackline on the last couple of surf trips to La Ticla, a surf spot that attracts Mexican and international surfers.

The slackline always helps in meeting and befriending other people who stop by to give it a try. Not just surfers either, there was even a passing hammock vendor giving it a try on this trip.