How to Choose the Right Slackline Kit for Tricks
After being a trickliner for over six years I have gained some experience setting super tight slacklines to do tricks on them. As you may know, tricklining requires high tensions on the webbing in order for it to be elastic, providing a similar feeling of the one of a trampoline. Certainly, the kind of webbing used for tricklining is slightly thinner than the one used in a regular slackline kit for the same reason: providing more elasticity and bounce power.
However, at the beginning of my thirties – when I started slacklining – there were not jumbo ratchets on the market and my friends and I started tricklining with standard-size ratchets. At the beginning we were only using one ratchet and would tension the line as much as possible to get some decent bouncing air. Even though we used to reach the desired tension, especially for short lines of no more than twelve meters, it was a bit difficult to set up for one person alone as it required a lot of pulling.
After a few months, I added an extra ratchet – also of a standard-size – on the other side of the line (the setup for the side with the loop is a bit different, though), things got easier and I was able to set the right tension without much trouble. I was a dedicated trickliner and was practicing about 4-6 times a week for one to 3 hours each time. I also noticed that heavier slackliners required some more tension on the lines to have the same bouncy effect that lighter slackliners would feel with less tension.
A year passed and I started noticing that I was having some slight pain in my wrists, Since I did not practice any other physical activity – besides commute biking, I realized that I was having some tendinitis due to pulling ratchets so much and so often. By that time jumbo ratchets were introduced on the market and I started replacing my two standard-size ratchets with one jumbo-size, also called “ergo ratchet”.
For a while, that seemed that it was the solution for an easy setup. However, as I progressed in my tricklining practice I started setting longer than 15m lines and so I realized once again, that tensioning at such lengths was becoming hard again and demanded quite some pulling. It was time to add another jumbo ratchet to my setup. Using two jumbo ratchets proved great for tensioning lines up to 25m without feeling that I am hurting my wrists.
It is important to mention that when your slackline kit is well tensioned the use of a SoftDetensioner is strongly recommended for avoiding fraying and improve the lifetime of your webbing. It also allows a smooth and safer release by avoiding the scary “snap” that happens when a webbing is released only using the ratchet.
In my own experience practicing and teaching slacklining for all these years I have realized that most people prefer lighter kits and slackline only 1-2 times a week. For such practice, our Puma Trickline (with standard or jumbo ratchet) is usually the right option. Those who really fall in love tricklining quickly prefer to go with longer and heavier kits – like our Slacklife Longline – and then as they progress they upgrade their gear to a double jumbo-size ratchet kit – like the Aerial Pro.
To summarize, a regular trickline kit – with one standard-size ratchet – can be a good option for those who are new to slacklining, want to travel with a lighter kit or plan to slackline occasionally. Tensioning tight lines very often can cause some problems in your tendons/wrists in the long-term. For those who really want to become trickliners it is recommended to buy kits with one or two jumbo ratchets, depending on the length of the line, the weight of the slackliner and the desired tension, as well as a SoftDetensioner.