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Waterlining: An Ultimate Guide to the Thrilling World of Slacklining Over Water

Jul 30

Waterlining, also known as slacklining over water, is a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping sport that has been gaining popularity among outdoor enthusiasts in recent years. Combining the art of balance from slacklining with the allure of water, this unique activity offers a dynamic and challenging experience for thrill-seekers of all levels. This article serves as a comprehensive guide, providing everything you need to know about waterlining - from the basics of setup and safety to mastering advanced techniques and tricks.

What is Waterlining?

Waterlining is a variation of slacklining, which involves walking or balancing on a narrow, flexible webbing anchored between two points. The key difference is that waterlining takes place over a body of water, such as a lake, river, or pool. The water beneath the slackline provides an additional safety feature, making it ideal for trying out new moves and pushing your boundaries.

Gear and Equipment

To get started with waterlining, you will need specific gear and equipment designed for the unique challenges of this sport:

  • a. Slackline: Choose a sturdy and durable slackline that is long enough to span the distance between your anchor points. Consider a waterline-specific webbing that has water-resistant properties to maintain stability when wet.
  • b. Ratchets: Use high-quality ratchets for tensioning the slackline. Ensure they are corrosion-resistant and able to handle the extra stress from water exposure.
  • c. Anchor System: Your anchor system must be reliable and secure to ensure the slackline stays in place during use. Common anchor options include trees, rock anchors, or specialized waterline anchors.
  • d. Life Jacket: Always wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) while waterlining to ensure safety in case of falls into the water.
  • e. Helmet: Protect your head with a sturdy helmet to minimize the risk of injury during falls or impact with the slackline.

Setting Up the Waterline

Setting up a waterline requires careful planning and attention to safety. Follow these steps to ensure a successful setup:

  • a. Location: Choose a suitable body of water with a depth that is safe for falling into. Avoid locations with rocks, sharp objects, or strong currents.
  • b. Anchor Points: Securely anchor the slackline at both ends using reliable anchor systems. Make sure the anchor points are stable and capable of supporting the tension.
  • c. Height and Tension: Adjust the height and tension of the waterline based on your skill level and preferences. Beginners may prefer a lower line with less tension, while experienced slackliners can increase the challenge by raising the line and increasing tension.
  • d. Overhead Clearance: Check for overhead obstructions such as branches or power lines that could interfere with the slackline.

Safety Tips

Waterlining, like any adventure sport, involves inherent risks. Follow these safety tips to minimize the chances of accidents and injuries:

  • a. Buddy System: Never waterline alone. Always have a buddy or a spotter present to assist and provide help if needed.
  • b. Know Your Limits: Start with a low line and progress gradually as you gain confidence and skill.
  • c. Use Proper Gear: Ensure that all your gear, including the slackline, ratchets, anchors, life jacket, and helmet, are in good condition and suitable for waterlining.
  • d. Warm-Up: Perform a warm-up routine to loosen your muscles and improve your balance before stepping onto the waterline.
  • e. Clear Communication: Establish clear communication signals with your spotter or team to convey when you are ready to start, stop, or need assistance.
  • f. Avoid Alcohol or Drugs: Never waterline under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as it impairs judgment and reaction time.

Getting Started

As a beginner, waterlining may seem challenging, but with practice and determination, you can quickly improve your skills. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • a. Find Your Balance: Focus on finding your balance on the waterline. Keep your eyes fixed on a point in front of you, and let your arms move naturally to help with stability.
  • b. Take Small Steps: Start by taking small steps on the line, gradually increasing the distance as you gain confidence.
  • c. Use Your Arms: Utilize your arms for balance, just like a tightrope walker uses a pole. They can act as counterweights to help you maintain equilibrium.
  • d. Relax and Breathe: Try to relax and breathe evenly while walking. Tension and stress can hinder your performance.

Advanced Techniques and Tricks

As you become more proficient in waterlining, you can explore advanced techniques and tricks to enhance your experience:

  • a. Jump Mounts: Practice jump mounts to get on the slackline from the ground.
  • b. Sitting Start: Experiment with sitting starts, where you begin by sitting on the slackline and then stand up.
  • c. Turns and Pivots: Work on turning around and pivoting on the line while maintaining your balance.
  • d. Tricks: Once you have a solid foundation, attempt tricks like knee drops, chest bounces, and surfing the line.

Environmental Considerations

Practicing waterlining requires a profound respect for the environment. Here are some considerations to minimize your impact:

  • a. Leave No Trace: Pack out all your gear and trash, leaving the area as you found it.
  • b. Protect Wildlife: Avoid disturbing wildlife and their habitats while setting up and using the slackline.
  • c. Follow Regulations: Comply with local rules and regulations regarding water use and recreational activities.


Waterlining is an exhilarating sport that offers a unique blend of balance, adventure, and water-based fun. As you venture into this thrilling world, remember to prioritize safety, use proper gear, and practice in a controlled environment with a supportive team. With dedication and perseverance, you can conquer the waterline, experiencing the joy and excitement of this unforgettable activity.