I just arrived back home from an amazing two week sponsored trip to Europe for slacklining and I must say, I have never experienced anything like that before. The amount of cool people and amazing locations that we went to was incredible. For the first five days of the trip, I attended the second annual Lublin Urban Highline Festival. At this festival were some of the best slackliners in the world from all over the place which I got to meet and slackline with. What an inspiring thing to watch other slackliners doing their thing on the line, I was truly touched with the skill some of these guys had. Walking longer highlines in Swami Belts, doing crazy butt bounce combos, surfing the line hard, walk the lines at night, the list goes on and on of what these guys are capable of.

Kwjet surfing the line at Urban Highline Festival 2011

Of the the three lines that were rigged, the Church highline seemed to be the favorite. This line was rigged between two towers on the church near the festival. It was 75 ft. long, 150 ft. high, and super exposed. The rig was Gibbon Proline with a dynamic rope backup, which felt surprisingly good. People were tearing this line apart, including Janek who had to walk the line at night with a HUGE spotlight shinning right in his eyes in front of hundreds of people who were listening to someone read a story about a tightrope walker who was born in Lublin. It was a great experience to watch him do this, as highlining under pressure can be quite stressful and extremely difficult. He managed the stress quite well though as he onsighted the line with ease.

The Church Line at Urban Highline Festival 2011

On the second day of the festival we went out to search for a big field in which we could have the longline competition. This is what I was most excited about for the event as longlining is what I really love to do and there were some extremely good longliners from around the world going to be competing. We ended up rigging a 604 ft. (184m) line in an old soccer field between 2 light towers. It was surprising to see that the light towers held up to the tension required for such a long line.

The day of the competition was extremely windy and the line was rigged with some really heavy webbing from Slackpro in Germany, which made the line excruciatingly difficult. Lukas Irlmer gave the line a try and he got lucky with the wind conditions and was able to onsight fullman continuous the line without too much trouble. Then Anatolij from Russia gave the line a few tries and was able to walk it in one direction on his second attempt again with favorable wind conditions. I then tried the line and fell on my first attempt about 100 ft. into it, then was able to walk the full length, turn around, and walk about 7/8 of the way back continuously. The wind was especially bad during my walking, which made the line extremely difficult for me. I was taking 2 steps at a time and then waiting for the wind to calm, then taking a few more steps. I was probably on the line for over a half of an hour fighting the wind. It was really nice though, I found out that the Slackpro webbing is very good webbing and is super nice to walk. I was able to score about 930 ft. of it so I will be able to rig some nice longlines in the future.

This walk I had was good enough to land me second in the competition which was able to get me 150 ft. of Slackpro webbing, which is very cool. Lukas got first place and won a Linegrip from Slackpro, and Anatolij got third place and won 2 Slack Bananas from Balance Community. Later on in the day, Kwjet, Janek, and Gretscha all sent the line without too much trouble. Janek actually onsighted the line in one direction, which was his longest line at the time. Congrats Janek!

The next day in the festival was devoted to the trickline competition. Bernhard, Faith, and I did not want to compete in the mens comp, so we decided to be judges. I have to say that judging a trickline comp is very hard, especially since all the competitors have very different styles.

We started with 15 competitors and narrowed it down to 4 winners. We had 7 minute rounds for 3 slackers at a time for the first round, then we eliminated 1 slacker from each group of three. The second round was head-to-head and we chose one slacker from each group to continue on to the finals. We ended up having 6 finalists in the last round.

This is where it got intense, the slackers had 2 minutes each and had to touch all 3 slacklines: the 70 ft. threaded tubular line, the 50 ft. Jibline, and the 30 ft. Slackline Tools line. This made it hard for some of the competitors because their style works best with certain types of lines. It was really amazing to see some of the tricks these guys were pulling. Amazing combinations of tricks and stuff I have never seen before. It has inspired me to get more into tricklines and walking shorter stuff to hone my skills a bit.

The results of the comp were as follows:

3rd Place: Kwjet – Won a Jibline and Treewear

2nd Place: Lukas – Won 25m of Red Dragon from Slackshop.CZ and Treewear

1st Place: Janek – Won 50 Threaded Tubular from Balance Community and Treewear

Congrats guys, keep slackin hard!

Sorry no pics from the longline or trickline comps, but you can checkout http://www.urbanhighline.pl/ to see a bunch of pictures.

After the festival ended, Janek, Faith, Jordan, Eskar, and I all went to Berlin where they all live. This place was amazing as well. Never in my life have I seen such a big community of slackliners in one location. We went to the park near Janek and Faith’s flat and their were probably around 40 slackliners with about 10 different lines setup in this park. We came and setup a few longlines and a nice trickline which turned out to be hits of the days. I had a lot of fun on the 430 ft. white magic line that we rigged, surfing the middle and exposure turns with some yoga stuff also, really fun line. The only problem was that people always try and touch the line and mess you up when you are walking, which seems to be a really big problem in Germany that happens to many slackliners. It wasn’t too much of a problem, but was just strange to see something like this.

We also setup a 656 ft. (200m) line on Slackpro webbing again and I was able to onsight fullman it with some surfing and bouncing in the middle. This webbing is just incredible feeling, it has such a nice slow movement to it and the heavyness really makes it flow like nothing I’ve walked before. I’m very glad that I have a long piece of this stuff now because it’s amazing stuff. Janek was able to walk this line also onsight in one direction and second try the other direction. He has now become a member of the 200+ club, congrats Janek! Also Gretscha was able to walk the line in one direction. It’s incredible the amount of people that are walking 200m lines on polyester now, the skills are increasing at an alarming rate. Soon enough people will be walking 200m highlines, which will truly be amazing.

Longlining at Treptower Park in Berlin

After a few days stay in Berlin, we were off to Ostrov, Czech Republic to do some highlining in the wonderful Sandstone towers of the Saxony area. This I will talk about in another blog as some big things happened in this part of the trip.

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