Sunday, October 21, 2012

RodeoLine Training

I can not believe I am slacklining for almost 7.5 years and I did not get into rodeo-lines before. I mean of course I tried and practice that kind of slacklining a bit. I just didn't think it can be so much fun. Well, it just proves again slacklining never gets old and always brings something new ...

For these who might not know, rodeoline is a slackline which is REALLY slack. That means there is no tension on the line at all and usually the line has LOTS of sag in it. Usually that means you have to climb your trees and attach your anchor high above the ground (for example for 20-25m line 3-5m is great!) If the trees have branches it is really easy to climb and fix your spansets (best placement for your anchor would be just above a branch so the spanset can not slide down). If the branches start really high above the ground you will have to climb the trees using two spansets. It is pretty simple; you wrap the tree with a spanset and girth-hitch it. You will need second spanset/sling fixed the same way. Then, simply, put both spansets as high as you can, put your foot in a free hanging loop of the first spanset and stand in it. Next, move the second spanset as high as you can, step on it, move the first spanset up and repeat till you get to the point where you want to fix your anchor ...

Soon, I will post whole article about how to set up your rodeo, different line types, gear tips, photos etc.

Rodeoline is great practice for longlines, highlines and your balance in general. I like how slow you have to react to any movement in the line. What really got me hooked though, was surfing it ("brah!")... It is not easy but also not as hard as I thought it would be. I definitely got lots of inspiration from 'rodeo-surf masters' such as Jerry Miszewski, Johannes Olszewski, Jordan Tybon and Basti Aldehoff.

Jordan going BIG (25m L/4m of sag, Type-18)
My first attempts to surf rodeoline took place during European Juggling Convention in Lublin this year. Piotr Błaszczak and I were doing slackline workshops for almost one week and I had lots of free time on my hands before the Urban Highline Festival. I spent almost whole time on a rodeo line set up with Gibbon 'Classic Line'. It was not a perfect set up but on this easy and short set up I learned all the basics (how to start, surf, sideways surfing, surf-walking etc.)

I followed continuously train rodeo lining and soon moved to 20m length with 3 meters of sag. I was using quite static Gibbon 'Flowline'. You can watch the video down below:

Nowadays I am in Berlin. Amazing place to be, with LOTS of slackers and great slacklining spots ... I went out few times with Jordan for some slackline training (mostly some longlines, 50m of loose threaded 'Slack Spec' and rodeolines rigged with Type-18) ...

On the 123m rigged with Core [OS-FM] (photo by Ingo Thomas)
We did few 25m rodeolines with about 4-4.5m of sag and tried 35m with 5-6m of sag (it was pretty beastly but we manage to progress on it a bit) ... After watching the video of the guy sit-starting while swinging on a rodeoline both of us wanted to learn how to do it. You can see the video below:

Both of us got it first session although Jordan and I have slightly different technique. Good swing and the timing is really important in this move. We had so much practice that right now we seriously can barely sit down because of the sores on our butts...

Swinging sit-start in progress (25m L/4m of sag, Type-18)
All of our session were really fun and we tried to go as big as we can.

Jordan going BIG ... (photo by Ingo Thomas) 
... like a fairy! (photo by Ingo Thomas)
I swear, one day we are going to spin full circle ;) Next ideas to learn are; sitting back down, turning, standing up & turning in one move ... And right now enjoy short clip from the last training session:

Peace & SlackOn!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Master of Universe

During amazing long weekend in Ostrov I had a chance to rig and try my best on the "Master of Universe" Highline. It is 96.5m long and around 40m up high. This line means a lot to me and has some quite story behind it ... (to find out more read whole post 'Ostrov Updates')

Jakub Hanuš aka Kwjet Oslaf on the "Master of Universe" Highline in 2010 (photo by Jordan Tybon)
"Master of Universe" was first rigged 2 years ago by Jerry and SWEL Team. At the time Jerry was the only person to send it (OW). In August of 2010 the line was also longest highline on the world (exact 'sendage' date: 27th of August 2010). It was inspiring time and everyone had a good try. Kwjet got to the middle of the line and after crazy fight took a huge whipper. It was amazing to watch Jerry sending this monster!

To get more info go to:
- really interesting and well written POST by Jerry Miszewski,
- full GALERY from the trip to Ostrov in August 2010.

Soon after this the highline history was rewritten again by Andy Lewis who crushed the first 100m highline. The line sent by Andy on 10th of September 2012 - 'Afrodysiac' Highline was 103.5m long and 110m high set up in amazing spot of 'Fruitbowl' in Moab, UT/USA.

This year "Master of Universe" was crushed again! Faith Dickey (USA) established on it new female world record (to read more go HERE) and Danny Menšík (CZ) send the line OS-FM which I believe is the best send in this style on the world till date and I got my new personal highline send and established new polish highline record! It was amazing to watch both Faith and Danny on this line.

Faith put up some amazing fight and sent the line almost both ways. It was heartbreaking to see her fall during FM attempt 1/3rd before the anchor.

Faith fighting the 'Master' (photo by Jordan Tybon)
Somewhere in a middle of the line (photo by Jordan Tybon)
Danny was just amazing. It seemed like the line was piece of cake for him. He had maybe like 2-3 moments each direction when he had to stop and correct the movement of the line. The rest was just pure cruising.

Danny after sending "Master of Universe" Highline (photo by Jean Geoffrion)
I never forgot that 2 years ago I promised myself one day I'm going to send this line too. I just didn't think it's going to happen during trip, but after watching these amazing sends I was super psyched to try and give it my best. After few attempts I managed to send the line AF (with 5 falls). I was really happy about it and this experience opened my eyes. I didn't expect I can send the line or stand back up after the fall in the middle of the line. After getting to the anchor I realized that I just pushed myself further and while doing that I had SO much fun ...

Somewhere in a middle of the line ... (photo by Faith Dickey)
While riding back the line on the 'glider' it hit me how long it actually is ... I was totally sucked out of any energy after this attempt and bunch of free-solo sends on the shorter lines before that. I decided to take a rest and try the next day.

At the morning I felt pretty fresh but the weather was super windy. The friend of mine Petr "Peeto" Kučera was already on the line. He arrived super early coming from Prague trying to send the line before having to head back to his uni. Peeto is really good highliner and watching him falling in a middle and struggling with the wind cooled down a bit my enthusiasm. I decided to warm up by free-soloing 'Czexas' Highline. Five FS full-man walks in a strong wind made me feel pretty confident again , so I packed my stuff and went to the 'Master'.

The wind was raging. I don't even know how many times I tried (must be something around 20 or so) and I had two really good tries when I felt totally solid on the line. In both attempts I got to 1/3 or a bit further and the wind got crazy again. The line was going from straight to 'U-shape' and then to the 'shaking mode'. I knew I'm able to send but I was too tired and too cold ...

Kind of pissed at my self I decided to head down to the pub, say goodbye to the french filming crew, Jordan and his girlfriend and then go back to de-rig the line with Faith. Sitting at the pub I was looking up on the 'Master' and I noticed the line is not moving anymore. The seed of hope was sown ...

When Faith and I got to the anchor it was already 7pm. Faith convinced me to try one more time and I decided to go. Without any expectations I got on the line and stood up. First meters were pretty shaky but then it got much better. Then I realized I am in a middle of the line. I thought "there is no way I am going to fall now! If you fall, I am going to hit myself in a face!". The transition on the 2/3 was hard but last 10 meters I was really fighting for my send. Last few nervous steps and I was standing on the anchor. My legs were shaky, I couldn't believe what just happened. I have to admit I shed few tears. I had no power left for the FM walk and it was already getting dark. We de-riged the line in the dark, and hiked down to the pub.

Just before sending time ...
Shaky beginning (photo by Faith Dickey)
Find me on the line, I am near the end (photo by Faith Dickey)

It is still kind of weird to me to think about it and realize I walked this line. I am super motivated to try more big lines and get better in it. I want to continue longlining and free-solo highlining but that 'long-time focus' big highlines acquire got my hooked. I want more!

Peace & SlackOn!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crackhead Colosseum

A while ago Jordan and I had a small highline training mission. Because I'm currently working in Berlin doing some rope access work we have enough time to hang out and slack from time to time. On Sunday we went together to set up amazing urban line called "Crackhead Colosseum" at undisclosed location in Berlin ;)

After 10km bike ride we arrived at the spot. The place is truly amazing. It's an old train repair station next to the S-Bahn station. Lots of broken glass and weird items under the line. We had a great day, met up with Ingo and seshed the line to the max. For the highlights of this day go to the movie down below and take a look on few pictures from Ingo :)

'Ankle-leashing' (photo by Ingo Thomas)
Jordan floating in the air ... (photo by Ingo Thomas)
Cowboy Jordan riding the line like a pro ;) (photo by Ingo Thomas)
Somewhere in da space (photo by Ingo Thomas)
Jordan sending in a swami-belt (photo by Ingo Thomas)
Freesoloco! Ajajaj! (photo by Ingo Thomas)
Slackline Gangstaz fo life! Who's your rigga'?! ;)
Squirrel grab after korean butt bounce combo (photo by Ingo Thomas)
If you want to see really nice pictures from the 1st ascent of this line go to the POST on S.W.E.L. Team blog.

Peace & SlackOn!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ostrov Updates

Ostrov is a small village located in Czech Republic just on the border with Germany. It is really quiet place with lots of walls and rock towers around it. It's hard to believe the thick forest wasn't here few decades before and the whole area was covered by fields. Nowadays at some of the local highline spots the trees are almost too high ;)

The coolest place in the whole village is campsite and pub 'Pod Císařem' where you can stay and get some delicious check food and beverage. The pub has it's own character and it is really busy on weekends so actually best time to come and highline is during the week.

Sleeping in 'Pod Císařem' (photo by Jean Geofrrion)
Jordan working in a pub ... (photo by Jean Geoffrion)
Well, I don't think I have to describe this place any more. Most of you probably already have been there  and if not you should definitely come and check out this amazing place. It is great for hiking, biking, climbing and most important ... highlining.

Most of the lines around Ostrov have average height of 20m but you can find anything from lower up to around 50 meters. The length of the lines is even more diverse; you'll be able to choose from multiple already existing lines from 6 up to 96.5 meters range ("Master of Universe" Highline).

Kwjet on the "Master of Universe" back in 2010 (photo by Jordan Tybon)
There is much more potential for mid-sized lines and BIG ones. Depends on the area you can also experienced different kinds of exposure. Most of the lines are in/above the forest or are exposed just one one side but the lines in between rock towers (for example Himmelreich Area).

Himmelreich Area (photo by Jordan Tybon)
In Ostrov rigging the lines is big part of heaving fun. You can not bolt because of the sandstone climbing traditions and ethics so you have to be creative and sling rock towers, blobs, put knots tight on spansets or pieces of wood/rocks as your caming devices in a cracks.

Jan & Kwjet slinging big tower (photo by Jordan Tybon/2010)
Because of all these reasons I really like coming back to Ostrov and it is a great area for practicing and mastering your highlining and free-solo skills. You can send without protection on really mild lines or get REALLY scarred.

FS on the "No Gods No Masters" Highline (28m L/28m H)
OS-FM-FS on the "Rainmaker" aka "Free Some" Highline (14m L/35m H)
This place is not only special to me but my friends and whole slackline community. Faith Dickey is currently leaving in Ostrov, establishing new lines and raging really hard, Jordan Tybon walked his first highline without protection there and the whole area hosted multiple slackline festivals and meetings (including Petzl Slack Trip or annual Girls Only Slackline Festival).

Jordan on the "Alterweg" Highline just before his first freesoloco (photo Jan Galek)
Faith and Jan (Kletter Kiddies) together in Ostrov (photo by Jean Geoffrion)
Lately the SWEL team or its team members were really active in Ostrov. Faith and Jordan set up "Yum Yum" Highline for the German TV show "RTL Nacht Journal". Faith worked together with Kletter Kiddies and the payoff of this cooperation is the movie called 'That Slackline Girl'. I have to admit it's really well done and unique. You can watch it down below:

Also, whole Somewhereelseland Team gathered in Ostrov to shoot footage for a French TV show which should be released really soon. It was really fun times! Faith put up two new female world records sending her longest FS highline ("28 Hertz" 28m L/25m H, FM) and longest highline ("Master of Universe" 96.5m L/25m H, HM). Jordan, Faith and I sent "Czexas" Highline (22m L/22m H, FA: F. Dickey) freesoloco style. I think I had like 10 leashless full-man sends on this line and even added few simple tricks. During that time, Jordan and I also waked another line without protection. "No Gods No Masters" sent first by Jordan is 28m long and 28m height scary line in between two rock noses. I mean the line itself is maybe not so scary but when you step on it it is quite intimidating feeling. I've sent the line the line FM plus one extra walk. Didn't have enough motivation to walk back the more scary direction. I was really happy to hear Jordan free-soloed the line too (HM). It is really proud send and he didn't plan it at all but you know how it is; first swami, then shackle, ankle-leash ... and "why not? I already free-soloed that shit" ;). I was also really surprised to send "Master of Universe" (96.5m L/25m H) too (OW). Soon, more about my new personal and polish highline record :) !

Jordan being happy after full-maning "Czexas" Highline (22m L/22m H)
Just before sending "Master of Universe" Highline (96.5m L/25m H)
Last but not least one week ago I came back to Ostrov again. I went with few friends (Magda, Cinek and Brzezik) to set up new highline I saw next to "No Gods No Masters". It is a really nicely exposed short gap. I had a pleasure to set it up with my peeps ;) It was a fun set-up involving lots of spansets on the tensioning side and hauling big wooden log for an A-frame and on the other side wedging piece of wood inside a crack. I've sent the line free-solo OS-FM. I thought it's a first ascent but I spoke with Stefan from Landcrusing and they did this spot back in April 2008 (to see photo gallery click HERE, from photo 13/35). On of my anchors was rigged a bit differently so I go with the original name "Rainmaker" (and mine aka. 'Free Some') ;) ... Faith put up 2nd FS of this line. Voŕíśek and Cinek send the line too throwing down few tricks. Brzezik & Magda - you'll get it next time for sure!

I gathered footage from few trips to this magic place and put up short video using just a free-solo footage. Some of the ines in this short pieces are:

- "Czexas" Highline (22m L/22m H),
- "No Gods No Masters" Highline (28m L/28m H),
- "Rainmaker" aka "Free Some" Highline (14m L/35m H),
- "Playground" Highline (15m L/17m H),
- "Zkouřenka" Highline (21m L/35m H)


Soon, I will write about more stories from Ostrov, put up more movies and maybe see you there!!

Peace & SlackOn!