When Sara Kaiser first tried slacklining during a family vacation in eighth grade, she hated it.
But the 22-year-old recent UC Santa Cruz graduate says she had a change of heart while, as a senior in high school, she was reviewing photos from that fateful trip. She recalls suddenly feeling as though slacklining was something she could get into.
Slacklining is a cousin to tightrope walking that, instead of a rope, uses a type of polyester or nylon webbing that has some bounce and—hence the name—slack. The stretchy cord is strung between two structures, be they rocks or trees or buildings, and then walked across. (Kaiser describes it as a cross between tightrope walking and trampolining.) The lengths and heights vary, and that’s a major part of the fun.
“I’d say the conventional definition of a good slackliner is someone who can walk a long slackline without falling or who can, say, juggle while on a slackline,” Kaiser says.
By any definition, her ability to journey across slacklines that stretch for nearly 500 feet places her squarely in the category of skilled slackliners. Her personal record includes having tackled a 180-foot-long slackline poised 70 feet in the air.
“But it’s the process itself that’s rewarding—the rest doesn’t really matter,” she adds.