Slacklining: Obscure sport highlighted during Super Bowl
The guy performing on what looked like a tightrope during the Super Bowl halftime show was actually doing something called slacklining.
Mon, Feb 06 2012 at 3:44 PM
Slacklining at the Super Bowl. (Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty Images)
There was a tightrope and a guy wearing a toga during Madonna’s halftime show during the Super Bowl. Except it wasn’t a tightrope. The toga wearing fellow was actually performing on a slackline.
Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking in that the walkers still have to balance themselves on a narrow length of rope, but the difference is in the walking surface itself.
Instead of being pulled taunt like a tightrope, slacklining uses more flexible webbing rope, commonly used in climbing, that has some give to it, and is typically performed relatively low to the ground using two trees as anchors.
Climbing is, in fact, where slacklining got its start. According to Gibbon Slackline, the activity began in the mid-1970s when climbers at Yosemite National Park would rig lines to walk across.
“They found that the activity improved their core strength, balance and movement for climbing,” says the website.
Gibbon Slackline is actually the sponsor of that high-flying man in the toga during the Super Bowl halftime show. His name is Andy Lewis, aka Sketch Andy, and given the tricks and flips Lewis was doing, he was most likely tricklining.
Tricklining is in the same family as slacklining, but as opposed to just walking across, people will perform various stunts while on the line. Trickling also employs a different type of webbing, one made from the same materials as trampolines to give the daredevils a little more height.
Know more about slacklining? Leave us a note in the comments below.
Check out more of Sketchy Andy's daring high-wire action in the below video: