Longlinning and the fever for the longest distance

By Pedro Silva

It was the year of 2005 when the Austrian Heinz Zak walked 100 meters on a slackline for the first time in the history of the sport. That record stud up for quite a while until in 2007 the distance of 123 meters was reached by Damian Cooksey, a renowned American within the community that was also the first one to make a frontflip on a slackline. That record was broken by himself a few months later reaching the mark of 154 meters that held up for 2 years. In 2009, the 200 mark was surpassed by the famous German duo Stefan Junghannß and Damian Jörren that established the 203 meters record. These guys are well known for their work in a company that first developed a lot of the equipments that allow us to enjoy specific materials developed for the sport as we know it today.

As you would expect the 203 meters mark is now long gone. What was seen in the past as an enormous challenge, the 100 meters, is today considered to be a milestone to be achieve by anyone who wants to be recognized by its peers as a dedicated longliner. Even the 203 meters have been pulverized! Nowadays there are about 10 slackliners that have already reached the 300 meters mark and the present record is on 380 meters walked by the young athlete Danny Mensik, with only 17 years of age but an enormous talent.

All these records have been achieved using PES (polyester) lines. However if we look into lines made of dyneema or vectran we have a different story as the record set by famous Jerry Miszewski is already up to 494 meters long. The reason why we should separate the records by line type is due to the fact that the lines made from dyneema or vectran fibres are a lot lighter and less elastic that a PES line making them easier to walk as elasticity and weight play a major role on the behavior of a slackline.
As to the future we can only expect what is coming but I know that Danny is already planning on achieving the 400 meters and let me tell you that I have no doubts in my mind that he will succeed.

What an evolution we have had the pleasure to witness in only 8 years… And remember we are only speaking of one of the styles of this fantastic sport!