A balance sport gaining in UK popularity, apparently, not that I've seen anyone doing it anywhere other than the internet.
None the less, it is gaining in popularity among my friends, Mike recently having come back from Manchester, declared it was awesome fun, and bought some kit for it, slowly getting everyone else on it.
It is however, very very hard to start out.
I never quite appreciated how hard it would be until we started playing with them at least twice a week, I now realise that even with lots of practice, it's going to take even more before I can say I'm competent at it.
There are just so many factors that affect the difficulty of the line:
- The width of the line determines how easy it is to place your feet on it, given you need to look ahead while walking, though a really wide line adds rotation in the line itself, another obstacle
- The length of the line, affects how much bounce there is, how far you have to go, and often how high you can get it above the ground (too high, legs either side = unfortunate accident)
- The tension of the line, as above, affects how much bounce there is, but in a different way, a short loose line is hard, but in a different way to a short tight line, same for a longer line at different tensions
- Wind can also mess you around (http://goo.gl/cAJh) on the line (the only rick roll, I promise :P)
- Whether you have shoes or not, the verdict is unknown on this so far, but I feel it is easier without as you can feel the line better
So, general premise, walk from one end to the other, try not to fail, if you do fail, get on again, repeat until you get further.
Which gives quite a steep learning curve, quite off putting for a lot of beginners, you really have to stick at it and just accept every inevitable failure as it comes.
Another thing to note, slacklining kits can set you back about £80, or a lot lot more, but you can achieve exactly the same effect with webbing and a ratchet http://goo.gl/3lYj for £40 or less, depending on how long you want the line.
There you go, a disjointed summary of slacklining, suffice to say, I love it and it is a great way to chill out with friends, maybe some beers and a bbq, so if you see anyone around with one, just ask for a go, I'm sure they won't mind, and if you're interested in starting, grab a kit and play around.