Wednesday December 10, 2014
Those slackliners that we saw on the beach our first Sunday of wandering through Las Palmas? It must be a weekly thing for them, their own type of Sunday-Funday, because we saw them once more whist walking to Play Canteras a few days ago with Kit and Alex. Mentioning to them that we had seen the same thing last week, they casually mentioned that they too enjoy this sport. What’s more, they even carry their very own slackline aboard Berwick Maid and said they’d bring it out sometime for us to try. Which was kind of perfect for us because we would never admit to ourselves that we’re beginning to slide further and further into that hippy-esque lifestyle and won’t go out of our way to join others already participating, yet still wanted a reason to try it. This gives us the option to say “Well…ok. If we must“.
Planning on an early time to meet at the beach (10 am for us, this still gives us time to get in our full 9 hours of sleep and inject ourselves with a bit of coffee) we all rendevoused at the small strip of sand right in front of our anchorage, or Playa de Las Alcaravaneras as most people would know it. Unrolling the heavy duty slackline, or a giant ratchet strap as it looks like, we picked two palm trees to walk between and went ahead setting the line at an appropriate height and tautness for beginners.
Oh, and if I forgot to mention exactly what slacklining is, it’s is similar to slack rope walking and tightrope walking as you try to cross from one end to the other of a line that is held under tension. I guess it’s become very popular and people do it on places other than the palm tree lined beaches we’ve seen.
As soon as it was tensioned, Kit jumped up and began slowly walking from one end to the other while using her extended arms for balance. Although her concentration wasn’t solely on the task at hand she did mention that she wasn’t yet up to the level of carrying on a conversation while walking the line, so we observed as she made her way across the bright orange fibers.
Jumping off she gave us a few pointers such as it’s best not to hold any sort of tension at all in your body, to relax it as much as humanly possible, and never to watch your feet as they walk across the line but instead to keep your gaze straight ahead. After a few brave attempts and tumbles on our part she also explained that a perfect way to practice, while still on the ground, is to try and take one foot off the ground and extend your opposite hand over your toes, holding them about one inch off the ground.
While in theory that’s some very good advice that I’m sure we’ll be practicing later, we wanted to get walking on that rope right away. Matt was a bit more stubborn than I was and made his first few attempts solo, not even making it one step before succumbing to gravity, before literally taking a hand that was being offered to him to keep him on balance. We both found that walking next to a person on the ground while holding their hand, even very lightly, was enough to keep us on the rope for quite awhile. Sometimes even from one end to the other.
It was a great morning on the beach, surrounded by palm trees and sand, and even though we may not be experts in the field now I think we have the gist of the basic principles of it. Who knows, the next time we see those unicycle riding, baton juggling hippies as they run a slackline from one palm tree to another, we may ask them to join in. Not showing off any skills I’m sure, but at least having a hell of a good time trying.
Matt doesn’t look too sure about this whole thing.
Matt’s first attempt….and he’s off!
He’s keeping his balance with a little assistance.
Getting instructions from Kit before preparing to stand up.