Slacklining: Dare to Walk the Line

Matt Leung (left) and Christian Cervantes Carr (right), two UCSD Muir College students, slackline at Black’s Beach. Photo by Diana Kraikittikun/Guardian
Matt Leung (left) and Christian Cervantes Carr (right), two UCSD Muir College students, slackline at Black’s Beach. Photo by Diana Kraikittikun/Guardian

A community of adrenaline addicts has successfully infiltrated the lawns and beaches of San Diego by blending both art and sport through slacklining. Walk past Sun God Lawn and you’ll see them gracefully traversing along a two-inch-wide band held up only by a ratchet and two arboreal anchors. Slacklining was essentially conceived as the answer to, “Now what?” once mountain climbers reached the top of a mountain’s peak, and the thirst for thrill could no longer be quenched by climbing. To the uninitiated, slacklining incites curiosity, as well as excitement, for those who dare to walk the line.

Two of these adventure enthusiasts are Muir College second years Christian Cervantes Carr and Matt Leung. Carr first slacklined on a family trip to Ecuador five months prior and eventually forced his roommate Leung to take up the sport upon his return to California. Slacklining has been a major part of both of their lives ever since.

“It’s definitely addicting,” Leung said, describing the allure of his slacklining experience.

They differ in their creative approach to slacklining but share a common, adventurous motivation. “For me, it’s just a way that I can adventure and test myself because I’m all about trying new things and getting better at things,” Carr said.

For Carr and Leung, slacklining isn’t a fleeting fad but a sincere passion to stick with.

“We actually tried to set up a club, but we got shut down because [UCSD] was a little scared it was a liability issue,” Carr said. Thus, an official slacklining organization doesn’t yet exist at UCSD — at least, not with all of the bells and whistles of a school-sanctioned club. It exists as an underground community of risk-reapers whose degree of friendliness rivals the extent of their passion for slacklining itself. You will find no pretension or exclusivity anchored between the trees of Sun God lawn or between the logs at Black’s Beach that Leung and Carr hand-fastened on their own.

“If we could find a way to bring people together, we would love to have a whole group and just slackline weekly and just have new people come and try it,” Leung said.

Carr welcomes UCSD community members to join as well.

“Come try it! We want more people to come, even if it means we don’t get to slackline as much,” Carr said. “It’s something new; I feel like people are scared to try new things and to test themselves, so I just want to encourage people to have fun and do new things.”

The next time you pass by Sun God lawn and see a couple of slackliners, don’t hesitate to let your curiosity take you to new heights.

“Sun God lawn is a good spot just because a lot of people go out there, so if other active slackliners see you, they can give you tips and have fun with you and you can meet people,” Leung said.

For first timers, Leung and Carr advise that you use your arms and not your shoulders to balance and that you don’t look straight down at your feet but instead look at least a few feet ahead of you.

“If you look down at your feet too much, you concentrate on just the next step but not where you’re going,” Leung said. This philosophy of always looking ahead succinctly encapsulates the spirit of slacklining. With eyes kept up and forward, novice and veteran slackliners alike clearly see what new trick and unexplored thrill they wish to attempt next. With every step, slackliners welcome the endless possibility of what lies ahead.

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