Can you imagine being suspended a few feet above the ground while walking across a wobbly thin rope? Well, that’s what students in the Slackline Club do every week.
[media-credit name=”CLAIRE FAULKKER & DANIEL DALTON” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“Slacklining entails balancing on a 2.5 to 5-centimeterwide piece of webbing made from synthetic bers, which is rigged between to xed points, often trees,” according to theInternational Slackline Association.It mirrors tightroping, except instead of a taut rope to walk on the webbing slacks, making it much more dif cultto maintain balance.Founder and president of the club Daniel Dalton hasbeen slacklining since the 10th grade, when he got his rstslackline for Christmas. Hoping to bring his beloved hobby to Quinnipiac, he ran into some trouble with Public Safety.
“I got in a lot of trouble for slacklining on campus and Public Safety came up to me and they weren’t too happyabout me using the trees and whatnot, so I started a club,”Dalton said.
Dalton had to cut through a lot of red tape in order to get the club approved. The safety of the students and the trees were a big concern for the school.
“I had to make a slideshow for facilities about the safety of trees and my knowledge of the trees so I didn’t destroythe trees,” Dalton said. “I had to answer questions aboutsafety, like do we wear helmets, knee pads, do we have padson the ground?”
The constant tension, pressure and friction of the rope can cause damage to the trees. The International Slackline Association has prioritized the safety of the trees during the sport. They recommend a number of different materials to protect trees on their website. They suggest staying away from visibly damaged trees, trees with weaker barks and not repeatedly using the same tree.
Although slacklining can cause stress if the trees aren’tproperly taken care of, there are a lot of bene ts to the sport. In the three page constitution, Dalton outlines the bene ts of slacklining.
“Slacklining promotes balance and core strengths,sharpens focus and can be used as a form of meditation,”Dalton said. “It also promotes social interaction whileenjoying the fresh air.”
[media-credit name=”Photos by CLAIRE FAULKKER & DANIEL DALTON” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Maire Clarke, a freshman criminal justice major, joined the club in early September after she saw its booth at the involvement fair. The club gives her a chance to decompress from her academic workload.“Our meetings are a really nice break in the middle of the day and they help me de-stress and get a break from myhomework and studying,” Clarke said. “It’s also a good wayto get outside and we constantly have new people who walkby us and want to try it out so it’s fun to see the interest in theclub grow. Slacklining is different from other activities andreally easy to set up and do with other people.”Slacklining has proved to have many health bene ts.According to a recent study done by neurologists at Ludwig-Maximilians University, slacklining has been linked toenhanced concentration, learning and memory. The clubwants to create an environment where students can relax and enjoy the experience of line.
“The goal for the club is just really to provide an outlet forpeople to just chill out, it really has no educational value,”Dalton said. “It’s very… this is going to sound corny, it’s very zen for me. I just forget about everything, because you have to. You have to zone in and focus on what you’re doing and where your body is. The goal of the club is to enable people to slackline without having to spend the money tobuy the slackline and just have a good time.”
While balancing on a wobbly thin rope sounds intimidating, with enough practice, people pick up the art ofslacklining pretty quickly.
“I’d say it’s generally easy just because I know when the line moves a certain way, where my body is going to push and where I should move my legs to counterbalance. But, you know, it took me a while to learn and get thisgood,” Dalton said. “I’ve been doing this for ve years andit depends on how long you do it. Like some of my friends
did it for an hour and they were already doing like ve orten steps. Like it took me a while to learn like when I wasin high school.”
Clarke started slacklining two years prior to her joining the university’s club. Joining the club was a great way for her to meet new people on campus and now most of her friends are in the club as well. Team members form a bond as they encourage each other to challenge themselves on the line.
“At each meeting, there is always someone who losestheir balance and falls off the line in the craziest way,”Clarke said. “So it always makes everyone laugh to see people falling and then we encourage each other to get upand try again.”
Freshman lm, television and media arts major AndreLeo sees himself slacking for a long time. He joined out ofpure curiosity but has since enjoyed the experience of theunusual sport.
[media-credit name=”Photos by CLAIRE FAULKKER & DANIEL DALTON” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“My favorite part about being in Slackline club is being challenged every time I go to get better and better atslacklining,” Leo said. “It is extremely fun to get a little bit further every time and before you know it you’re walking.”With equal parts meditation and balance, slackline clubpromotes a healthy lifestyle for its members. Slacklining gives students an outlet to release stress and focus on controlling your gravity where they are able to disconnect and clear their mind from the outside world.
Slackline is an unorthodox method of exercise andmeditation for students at Quinnipiac. Watching people tightrope in the circus left the audience in awe and now the everyday person will get a chance to try. So naturally, the idea of balancing on a rope peaks many students interests on campus.
“When I say slackline they don’t know what it is and then I have to explain it,” Dalton said. “They think it’s a littleweird. I think it’s a little weird. But they think it’s cool and Ithink it intrigues them and they’re a little curious and that’s why they come out.”