The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Balancing act: MSU students slackline on campus

As college students, there is a sort of balancing act that takes place in our lives. One must balance schoolwork, social pressures and many other sources of stress. However, several Mississippi State University students have turned this balancing act into a form of enjoyment.

These students set up a slackline in front of Allen Hall almost every Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. Slacklining is when one sets up a nylon or polyester rope between two points and attempts to walk across it. The art of slacklining is similar to tightrope walking.

The activity began when two rock climbers set up a similar contraption in Washington. Other rock climbers began to take up the challenge, and it caught on in the West.

The students in front of Allen Hall are mostly members of the Starkville Adventurers Autonomist club. They choose not to be affiliated with MSU and serve as a meet-up group for those wanting to explore the outdoors.

Their group includes slackliners, jugglers, musicians and much more. The group began meeting about two years ago. When it first started, it had hula hoops and music playing for people to enjoy.

Ben Elam, senior mathematics major, said he discovered slacklining in 2008 and has worked since then to bring it to MSU’s campus.

“We want to offer a supportive environment where people can learn something new,” Elam said.

Elam mentioned the group works hard to protect the trees as well as the people trying slacklining for the first time. There are different types of slackline you can purchase, but Elam prefers the tubular webbing for his slacklines.

There are multiple types of slacklining done across the world. Among these are urbanlining, waterlining, slackline yoga and windlining. Urbanlining involves the skills shown in urban areas. Waterlining is any slacklining that takes place over water. Slackline yoga was adopted when people realized how similar the two were.  They both involve balance and coordination and are very good sources of meditation.

Chance Rodriguez, senior mathematics major, said his interest in yoga encouraged his passion for slackline.

“I am interested in yoga and liked slacklining because it involves balance and is a great way to meet people,” he said.

Lastly, windlining is the intense sport of slacklining in extremely high-wind areas. Many of these forms of slacklining involve grueling amounts of practice before they are achieved.

Slacklining involves a large focus on balance and skill. There are competitions held around the world for this sport. These competitions include judgments on tricks and flips done on the slackline. The first competition was held in Friedrichshafen, Germany in 2008. There is now a Slacklining World Cup and multiple competitions held in the U.S. 

GoPro and Gibbon sponsor many of these events.

For the less experienced slackliner, the group in front of Allen Hall offers the perfect place to practice.

Morgan Orich, ROTC member, said the group was very welcoming when she first approached them outside of Allen Hall.

“I was just walking by one day and saw the slackliners out here and wanted to give it a try,” she said.

Elam explained the slacklining system they set up on campus is primitive, but still works just as well. The Starkville Adventurers Autonomousclub attempts to go on other trips such as camping and climbing excursions. The group is not limited to slacklining, but does spend a large portion of time working on the sport.

The group gladly welcomes those who are interested in slacklining and are there to offer a helping hand; in this case, literally. 

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Balancing act: MSU students slackline on campus