From strange hobby, to worldwide impact
I learned to slackline while taking a rock climbing class at Missouri State University. At the time, it was an obscure hobby that climbers occasionally took part in around the campsite. To get started, the only options were to either use complicated and hard to use climbing equipment to rig and tension your own lines, or buying incredibly expensive systems that required experience rigging safety equipment.
With a bit of trial and error, we developed an easy to use ratchet tensioning system. At the time, we were mocked for breaking with tradition, but with that core change, we moved the sport from being an obscure hobby that only a few hundred people knew about to a sport that now has global competitions.
Our affordable and easy to use setups changed the game entirely. I won’t pretend the balance sport isn’t still a bit niche, but it suddenly was practical for a grandmother to set one up in the backyard for the grandkids. We also developed a robust training clinic and successfully taught ages from 3 years old, to 83 years old how to walk the line on their own.
We were featured in dozens of books, magazines, newspapers, and TV spots. We were in the New York Times (multiple times), Men’s Journal, Go Magazine, Vox, Minnesota Star Tribune, Local News Channels, and even mocked in the comics section of our university paper.
SlacklineJoe makes the funny papers
Me during my college school days, slacking between classes.