Local slacklining fans hope to raise awareness of extreme sport
Local slacklining fans hope to raise awareness of sport
Please try this at home.
This may not be something you would usually hear from extreme sport practitioners, but it is exactly what Mr Naufal Ali, a slackline enthusiast with five years of experience, wants everyone to do.
The 25-year-old business undergraduate hopes to raise awareness of the extreme sport and encourage others to give it a try.
He and two other adrenaline junkies, Mr Heng Yongli, 25, and Mr Akid 'Ammar, 22, will be at the Shaw House Urban Plaza this weekend to do a slackline demonstration.
The event is open to the public and is part of the publicity campaign for the Hollywood biopic The Walk, which opens here on Oct 22.
Slacklining resembles tightrope walking and requires one to balance and walk on a thin line that is usually set up above ground level.
The sport was largely inspired by Frenchman Philippe Petit's audacious high-wire walk across the roofs of the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center, which were about 61m apart and 417m high, on Aug 7, 1974.
Petit's daring feat is featured in The Walk, which stars US actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the daredevil.
The difference between slacklining and high-wire walking is the use of nylon webbing instead of wires.
This makes it more versatile and portable, Mr Naufal said, adding that slacklines can be set up at any height depending on confidence level.
Also, because the tension of the slackline is adjustable, walkers can do tricklining, which involves tricks such as bouncing, somersaults and backflips.
"It can be set up easily so anyone can do it and it's a lot more dynamic as you can do anything you fancy," he told The New Paper.
The trio and other slackline enthusiasts practise on Monday evenings at *Scape Level 4.
The local community has grown to about 1,000 people of both genders.
Said Mr Naufal. "We have ladies who are quite good at tricklining and there are some who practise their yoga poses on the low slacklines."
Slacklining can be performed by all ages, too.
Said Mr Heng, an economics undergraduate: "We have had little kids who tried it out and they seem to fare better than the adults.
"Maybe they haven't developed the fear of heights yet."
As is the case with all extreme sports, accidents do happen and Mr Akid and Mr Heng are no strangers to sprained ankles.
Mr Akid, a store manager, said: "You fall, you get injured. It's normal and it doesn't matter how high you string the slackline."
Added Mr Heng: "You just go to the tie da (checked) (Chinese orthopaedic)."
Mr Naufal said he had been to the hospitals "quite a few times".
His worst injury was a concussion a few years back when he had just picked up the sport.
"My parents were worried, but they've come to accept my passion for slacklining," said Mr Naufal, who has travelled around the region to learn more about the sport and pick up tricks.
The highest slackline he attempted was about 40m above ground, at Malaysia's Batu Caves.
Mr 'Ammar and Mr Heng's highest attempt was 8m, for an *Scape event.
Said Mr Naufal: "The fear isn't about falling as you have a safety rope looped to the line.
"The scary part is that when you do fall off the line, you'll need to pull yourself back up, and if you don't have the strength to do that, you'll be stranded in mid-air."
Although the trio will not be scaling great heights at Shaw House Urban Plaza, they will be about 1.5m above ground without safety harnesses.
Said Mr 'Ammar: "It's going to be fun as there will be this projection of the Twin Towers on the ground to simulate Petit's walk in the movie.
"Let's just hope we don't fall."
THE WALK IMMERSIVE 3-D SLACKLINE EXPERIENCE
WHEN Today and tomorrow, 1pm to 6pm
WHERE: Shaw House Urban Plaza
TICKETS: Admission is free