Check out 2012 Fairview High grad Justin Wagers, a professional slackliner for Gibbin Slacklines, making it all look easy at http://youtube.com/user/jwage23.
As slacklining grows in popularity (it was even in the 2012 Super Bowl!), more and more students are slacking around, too.
It looks awesome. You want to walk the line and yoga-slack and butt-bounce and the whole way more than nine yards. But before you buy a kit or DIY — old school, with webbing, carabiners and knot-tying know-how, that’s how the rock climbers started it up — there are a few things you should know about slacklining on campus and in Boulder’s parks.
Check out our handy guide to campus and city rules on slacklining:
Slacklining is permitted on campus, but there are some rules and regulations that the university has set out for the sport. You can only slackline between sunrise and sunset, and you must assume all responsibility if you or anyone else gets injured (or dies, gulp) while slacklining on campus.
If that’s a risk you’re willing to take, here are a few other things to consider:
Campus policy states that trees must be larger than one foot in diameter and that some type of protective fabric must be placed between the slackline and the trees to protect the bark. Trees that have been damaged by slacklining might be restricted for use in the future.
Make sure there’s a clear and flat landing surface below the entire length of the line. You cannot use memorial trials or other already-prohibited trees for slacklining.
You must tear down your line at the end of every session — all lines are temporary, according to CU policy.
The line may not be higher than three feet in the center, and it cannot exceed 40 feet in length.
Campus policy states that lines cannot be attached to buildings, bike racks, handrails, light poles or any other objects besides trees. Also, you cannot set up a line within a special event zone. So, yeah, don’t try this at graduation.
University officials who deem equipment to be unsafe or harmful can remove it.
Slackliners are not allowed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while participating, and no stunts or tricks are allowed — just walking.
A spotter is “strongly recommended” according to campus policy.
In the city
There’s nothing specific about slacklining in Boulder city code, but two ordinances make it illegal on public property.
Ordinance 6-6-6 c states that “no person shall attach to or install on any tree or plant growing within or upon any City-owned or controlled property, including public rights-of-way, without first having obtained approval from the city manager, any metal material, sign, cable, wire, nail, swing, or other material foreign to the natural structure of the tree, except materials used for standard tree care or maintenance, such as bracing and cabling, installed by tree professionals.”
If that’s not enough, ordinance 8-2-16 states that “no person shall attach any object to any city property or locate any object on city property in such a manner as to damage the city property, obstruct public right of way or interfere with the function of the city property.”
“We don’t outlaw slacklining,” said city risk management specialist Helen Cowan. “We certainly appreciate the sport. It’s a well-liked sport and an up-and-coming sport. The main reason (for the ordinances) is we don’t want people who are not anticipating that there’s going to be a slackline running across a park getting injured.”
Those ordinances also prohibit hammocks or rope swings, which are handy for jumping across the Boulder Creek (don’t say we didn’t warn you). Since January 2012, Boulder police have cited four separate people for slacklining, Cowan said. She said police don’t track warnings, so she doesn’t know how many slackliners have gotten off without a citation.
Cowan said the city’s Open Space and Mountain Parks division has been brainstorming ways to make Boulder more slackline friendly, like creating a designated slacklining area somewhere around town.
Good news though, if you live on private property or have access to some private trees: you can slackline as much as you want, Cowan said.
–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.