Sunday, March 31, 2013

US Trip 2013 - Take 1; Tacoma & Ashland

I am here in US for few days already and so far the trip was really nice even though Jordan and I didn't make it yet to one of our main targets, which Lodi/CA. After arriving in Tacoma/WA we had a few chill days. Jordan got a bit sick so it wasn't as active as we planned (meaning no bouldering or climbing) but we managed to organize few important things for our trip, pack and we even went for a short slacklining session. It was kind of weird to slackline after almost 2 months brake but it helped me to realize how much work I have to do. It is time to get back on it!

Together with Jordan we went to Chambers Bay Park to set up a line on this amazing structure. I think Jordan was thinking about setting this line for quite a while but apparently someone already did it before us and he was in EU for really long time too. It was really nice to do this line together at his home spot. I wish the park had some big trees - it would be such an amazing longline location. We had only few hours to sesh the line but Jordan was able to take some nice pictures. We also used my fresh green Type-18 webbing from Balance Community for the first time and I must say it's a great line. You can check few pictures from or session ...

We left Tacoma on Friday stuffed with delicious food cooked by Jordan's parents and drove straight to Ashland/Oregon to meet up with slackline protagonist Scott Balcom. I would believe every slackliner knows or should know who he is. If you do not know, he is the first guy to walk a highline (Lost Arrow Spire), publish a slackline book and he pretty much 'invented' our sport and bunch of slacklining gear.

We were really psyched to meet Scott again. It's been a while since the last time we saw each other. We knew he is really psyched on the videos of rodeolining we were posting lately on the web, so the plan was to go to the park rodeoline together. I was speaking with Jordan the other night and he said; 'would you ever think we will be teaching Scott Balcom how to rodeo line?!'. The answer was no. Slacklining takes you in really unexpected directions sometimes ...

After restful night we had an amazing day in Ashland. At the morning went longboarding a bit, then a visit to Scott's shop and a 'slackline history class'. We had a chance to see all the prototypes, evolution of slackline gear as well as some other projects Scott is working on. Some cool footage was taken for sure (if you're a gear nerd as we are) ...

We went to Triangle Park ans set up two rodeolines and one old-school slackline with Scott's gear. We had 15m rodeoline set-up with Type-18 webbing and about 3-4m of sag, 25m rodeoline set-up with Aero webbing with about 5-6m of sag and 5/8" tubular webbing tensioned with SlackJack - true old-school set-up great for playing around and surfing. It was a great day and we all had fun. I was getting back in shape and got few really good sideways surfs, Jordan was going big (or I should say HUGE) and Scott was playing around on still new to him rodeoline. Here is few GoPro snapshots for you ...

Today is a bit rainy and we are packing up and leaving soon to Lodi, CA where we'll stay for 2 - 2,5 weeks. We are going to meet up with Faith Dickey and then tomorrow do our first jump (tandem) and then our AFF course. After this we'll continue to jump with bunch of friends and do around 150 jumps with some highlining and bouldering in Bay Area in between. Stay tuned for more adventures!

Peace & SlackOn!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Changes, Plans and Updates for 2013

I had no time to keep up with my blog posts lately. I was busy working as an industrial climber in Rivera (Switzerland) assembling membrane roof over new aqua-park. I will not get into details because you would be definitely bored. It was a pretty cool job and cannot complain. I was working with really nice crew; got lots of experience and hours in my IRATA logbook and learned new things ... Sometimes this work can be really hard on you. I had to work 10 hours per day. It was really sunny for one week but I survived whole spectrum of weather. It does not matter if it is windy, snowy, icy or rainy, you have to work. Now when I am already in US, feeling excited and a bit scarred at the same time about my next adventure, I can honestly say I miss that great group of people I had a pleasure to work with.

My life in Swiss for last 1,5 month ...
Well, you might find your self asking why I am writing about working on my slackline based blog. The reason why I do this is due to some changes in my life which are quite important in terms of what, how and why do it.

For last few years I evolved a lot as a slackliner, human being and I learned a lot about myself and others. Now I came to realization that it is right time to change some things in my life. First of all I am sure I want to continue living the slacklife but at the same time I do not want to be dependent so much on sponsors, other people and I do not want to be broke every time I go back from a trip. I spent last 3 - 4 years leaving to the max dirtbag style and it was a great experience although I know now I wouldn't be able to continue this lifestyle much longer.

Adding to the picture my plans for next 2-3 years, I knew I had to come up with a new plan. Together with my best friend and SWEL team member Jordan Tybon we figured out that our best option is to make proper papers (IRATA and FISAT) to work internationally as a industrial climbers and safe up money for our plans. It was a bit expensive to do all the training and get the experience, but soon after that it paid off.

With the sponsorship I had it would be impossible to realize all the plans I had. I wanted to do lots of new stuff I was putting off for too long. I want to do AFF course, then between 150-200 skydives from 4000m and hopefully start BASE jumping. Add to this gear, flights and leaving costs and it becomes pretty expensive thing. I would also like to start ice climbing this year and in 2 years realize my main goal which will combine 3 different outdoor disciplines in one epic project.

I will definitely continue to be semi-professional athlete but it is nice to know I can totally support myself and still have time to do what I love to do. Now the plan is to balance this two ways of making a living and to find good proportions.

After three years I have finished my co-operation with Gibbon Slackline as a PRO-Team athlete. It was a really good experience and I could write a separate blog post about it. I made lots of friends at Gibbon and will always have many good memories. Unfortunately, I think my plans were not so interesting to the company policy and we were going in a different directions. So, finally I decided it's better to finish the co-operation. It's a long story ... Anyways I am not even going to try get any financial support from a slackline company anymore. I do not see the point.

At the end it is much better for me to spend couple months working and training at the same time and then go do my thing. I do not have to stress about many things I did before which didn't let me focus so much on my projects or things I would like to do. Now I have more time to do what I want to do and when I am doing, I am less distracted and I can enjoy myself more during the trip. So, I am still a dirtbag ... just with a better plan and a bit more organized (which is probably a good thing) ;)

Since beginning of this year I started co-operation with Balance Community. I always liked their gear and company's philosophy. The company was founded by a friend of mine and amazing slackliner Jerry Miszewski, known from his world record breaking ascents on big longlines, highlines and his passion to create amazing slackline gear. BC offers high variety of slackline gear; anything from tricklining, through longlining and highlining. It is always top quality, super safe and made by slackliners for slackliners. I could not ask for more and I feel really glad I can represent them with my next projects. You can check my profile on the PRO-Team page.

There might be other sponsorship opportunities but I do not have to stress about it too much. I will be on the trip in USA for next 2.5 months together with Jordan. Faith Dickey will join us for a part of the trip. We are also going to rage with Jerry, Andy, Scotty and others. I can not wait! We will be doing some epic projects in Smith Rock, Yosemite and some new area from Scott Balcom, do our AFF, 150 skydives and then BASE-jump at the end of the trip from Perrine Bridge. You will find more info about my trip in US in the next blog posts. I have some nice projects for the rest of the year too, but I can save writing about it for later.

I am here already and Jordan and I are getting ready to RAGE! We're leaving to Lodi, CA on Sunday. Hopefully Jordan gets better soon (he just got sick, damn it ...).

Of course, first thing I do after arriving in USA is play with new skydiving rigs together with Jordan
Peace & SlackOn!