Monday, December 9, 2013

#TSDayOut - Slackline KL

Often in the circus shows, there will be an act where the performers walk on a tight rope, elevated hundreds feet above ground level, with a long shaft to balance themselves while doing stunts. Audiences would go 'wow' and wonder whether it is easy to do that. Well, the answer to that question is hell no and I can attest to it for I had a taste of something similar called slacklining.

Helena Foo was giving introduction on slacklining

The idea behind slacklining is somewhat similar to tight rope, as in, you have to walk on a webbing (called slackline) anchored at two points. However, instead of it being taut, there is this bouncy quality to slackline. Just imagine yourself walking on a long, narrow trampoline or as described in the Slackline KL's website, "a giant rubber band".

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, the last day of the month, when I had my first #TSDayOut in Damai Extreme Park. This monthly outing, organized by Tourism Selangor, has been on my radar since I first heard of it but have no clue on how to get myself invited. Well, after the wonderful #TSBreakAway adventures, let just said I managed to get acquainted with these awesome peoples behind the state tourism board. The best part is that slacklining was actually 'discovered' by one of the Xplorers, Juan Lye (read about her first expose to slackline here).

Demonstrating how to lift yourself up on the line

If you think all this sounds easy and the idea of this being an extreme sport is preposterous, well, you have it all wrong. As you placed your first foot on the slackline, you began to feel shaky and unstable and this wobbliness best described slacklining as a whole. Using core strength, you then have to lift your other foot and put it on the webbing. When you successfully did that, your journey has only just began for you have to combat your way to the end of the line, constantly seeking balance to be by your side.

"Don't look down. Focus on an object in front of you and move forward," said Helena Foo, one of the Slackers with us on that day. Somehow, that was the mantra of the day. Our first attempt was an assisted one, going in pairs, with the one on the line holding the other for stability and support. Even so, it was not easy, as gravity kept pulling you down and balance wasn't much of a help.

Walking barefoot helps

After that, Helena began to increase the difficulties. From simply walking across the line to squatting down midway to pick up a ball (all these with supports from fellow #TSDayOut), to standing on both feet unassisted to walking without guidance to sitting cross-legged. It definitely was not going any easier. "If you are falling to the left side, use your right hand to balance back. If you lean towards the right side, frail your left hand." Another golden nugget of slackline.

Looks easy but it is not

Some seems to be born with balance at their grips, demonstrating perfect skills even though it was their first time doing it. Some managed to do it after much tries and practices. Some just failed miserably, like yours truly.

One of the few participants able to grasp the concept well

Much like anything in life, practices and patience are the key ingredients to slackline. No one was born with amazing sets of skills and Helena and her fellow Slackers definitely had their fair share of trials and failures to be at their current levels. Many of us had fun that day. Some even consider picking it up as a sport. As for me, I like how it challenges you to fight for balance, using every body parts to maintain upright.

Hakimi, another fellow Slacker, performing some stunts

As you get more confidence in your slacklining skill, you can venture into doing stunts and have the slackline being elevated higher. Just a simple Google search and you will find images of people doing slacklines in an unbelievable high, between two mountain peaks, bridges, and so on. That's an extreme sport for you.

Here's a quick video from my friend Khai who recorded Hakimi performing a stunt on slackline.

Thank you so much to Tourism Selangor for organizing this amazing #TSDayOut adventure and Slackline KL for showing us what slacklining is all about.

Sharing is caring. A word of advice and a piece of information.

Slackline KL is a Malaysia-based community and there is a weekly slackline session in Kiara Park every Saturdays open for public, free of charge. They will be having the last session of the year this 14 December 2013 before going for a well deserved break. So, do drop by on that day to find out more about Slackline KL and like their Facebook page to get the latest update.