- Putting yourself on the line
Putting yourself on the line
A new trend has picked up across Goa, where adventure sports enthusiasts now perfect the art of balancing themselves, over a flat line that is tied between two pillars. A test of courage, the activity that is not as difficult as it may seem, involves learning to ‘Slackline’ is the new fitness goal. Cafe takes a walk behind the scene
For a state that is known for its dime-a-dozen
stereotypes, there is one community that
stands out and offers a refreshing change in perspective.
These are your usual everyday Goans, who
are giving adventure sports in Goa the kind of credibility that make people in
this space take notice and even want to come to Goa just to try it out.
This was the scene earlier this year, at a
beach in South Goa; where you not only had people from other parts of India but
also from Europe taking part in a sport, that leaves the audience awestruck.
To some, these are the kind of ‘stunts’
seen in movies but to them it is a way of life and after you try it out, it
doesn’t feel like a stunt at all.
The name of this exciting sport is
‘Slacklining’ and it refers to the act of walking or balancing along a
suspended length of flat webbing that is tensioned between two anchors. These
two anchors could be two trees and given that every beach in Goa is dotted with
them, it is only fitting that slacklining in Goa often takes place on the sandy
shores. It is not limited to beaches alone but walking on a highline with the
sounds and sight of the sea in the background can be quite the soothing
experience, to say the least.
Speaking about how this can help one
physically and mentally, the Goa based group pointed out that it almost like
‘meditating on the line’.
“It’s a sport which combines mental focus
and physical balance. You can even term it as a true art of balance. Think of
it as balance walking across/on a flatrope tied at a height above the ground.
The line could be tied to trees, pillars etc. Further, to be able to slack, you
really need to clean up all that mental clutter. It’s all about your mental
focus and breathing. Of course it’s also a great core workout but it really
makes you aware of your body and how you can use it to stay on the line,” says
It is also fitting, that you find people from the climbing
community, skateboarding community and other adventure sports communities that
are active in Goa, at these meet ups.
Besides Anveer, others like Samuel Ferreira, Zhen Paintal, Ajey
Patil, Anant Shirodkar, Surya Subramaniyam, Rea Burman, Hampus Olsson among
others meet up regularly, while there are also a lot of people, that attend the
setup and try it out for the first time. Clearly, it has generated a lot of
curiosity among the public and is not being seen as a passing fad.
In Goa, slacklining started with the skateboarding community
somewhere late last year and has slowly grown ever since, captivating the
imagination of many. “We meet regularly and also have slack meetups where we
keep it open to more people to try it out. Our usual spot is at Miramar beach
late in the evenings,” adds Anveer.
“When we discovered it, we absolutely loved it. We wanted
everyone to try it out because it’s really a lot of fun. Once you learn how to
walk the line, you can improvise with different tricks or jumping on or off the
line, mixing it with other art forms. Or setup the line much higher or over a
swimming pool. There are endless possibilities!” says Samuel.
While the sport has become extremely popular in several
countries across the world, it is believed that the sport originated from the
climbing community and that it spread on from there.
In India, it caught on through some climbers and Samar Farooqui,
who is India’s first pro slackliner. His company Slacklife, organises ‘Between
years Slackline festival’ in Lonavala every year: A week long get together of
slackliners across India and the world where they rig high-lines across the
mountain faces and over ridges.
At the international meet up in South Goa, Samar did the
spectacular and walked on a highline over the ocean. At this event, there were
a lot of interesting talking points such as the many different lines from 1 ft
high to 50 ft high and 12m long to 80m long line setup. “It was absolutely
amazing. Something you had to see to believe,” quipped Samuel.
Speaking about what drives them and their future plans, Zhen
pointed out that essentially it’s just about having a good time and a good
healthy engagement activity to pass on to the others.
lot of places in India now have a strong regular scene. It would be lovely to
see a big growing community from Goa as well,” adds Zhen.