GV students take on slacklining


GVL | Bethann Long

Melia Williams, Staff Writer

The Outdoor Adventures organization, which is put together by the Recreation and Wellness Outdoor Adventures program, is introducing the Grand Valley State University community to a form of physical activity that many students might not have heard of before: slacklining. 

Slacklining is walking, running or balancing across a flat webbed rope suspended between two anchors. In this case, two trees on the Kirkhof lawn near the clock tower. Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking, but with less tension, so it is more bouncy, similar to a trampoline. The line is also made out of a different material. 

“You can try to walk across, and maybe do some tricks,” said Josh Tinkham who works in the climbing center on campus and was stepping in to work this event. 

Slacklining is a full-body workout. However, it can also help train balance and some use it for meditation because it causes them to focus on other things.

“It’s a cool outdoor activity to do with a lot of people to just hang out,” Tinkham said. “It’s just a fun thing to teach in the climbing community for climbers to do on their days off of climbing because it still works out like your legs and balance and that kind of thing.”

When it comes to trying out slacklining for the first time, experiences vary. Tinkham said he was able to get the hang of slackening eventually, with continued practice. 

“I did it frequently for like a month or two and practiced on my own,” Tinkham said. “It’s just something that takes time and practice.” 

However, Tinkham said he had a friend who was a cheerleader that picked up slacklining very quickly. 

“It was very difficult for me but after trying it a few times I kind of got it,” said Vanessa Wright.  

Only a few people can participate in slacklining at a time, making it an easy way to make connections with people while waiting to take a turn. 

“I found out about slacklining on Tiktok and was happy to see that GVSU was offering an event where I could try it,” Wright said. “I knew it would be fun.”

The Outdoor Adventures weekly meetings are held on Wednesdays from 2-4 p.m. at the Kirkhof lawn near the clock tower. This slacklining event will be recurring every Wednesday until Oct. 26, pending dry weather.

No RSVP is necessary to join in with the group.