Liam was 12 when I met him 5 years ago, striding across a 30m line. Those length lines were still quite scarce then, and he was young. Two years ago he shimmy’ed out on a highline and this year, I felt so fortunate to see him take his first stand and first steps, at age 17. His mom and 6 year old brother, Luke, were there too. Times like these help create continuity in our lives and we realise there’s a much bigger picture at play.
Newly threaded tubular was the upgrade for the shorter lines. Rob and I got the first 30m piece done in Stellies. Burghen and Tim helped with the second piece, with Mary offering incredible support, and Juno, their ever playful pup.
Breaktesting is the best reassurance, so with Ernest cranking the chain hoist, the webbing held until 3.8 ton. Now we were ready for Rocklands. Gear packed.
Bolting was finished off on Wednesday afternoon for the new 40m. It’s a little higher than the others and straight through an obvious gap. What a beaut! 5 years, 5 lines. The boys dreamed up this line while rigging the overhead drop-in for the space-net. Now it’s real. Tim won the ChingChoCha battle for the first send and effortlessly waltzed across, naming it MegaDome.
More gear sorting under the shelter of the cabin’s patio and then we were off to the highline deck to rig the 20m lines and 65m. Andy Alex finishing String Theory’s island side. Burghen showing Mary good pointers on the deck side. Jeff and Tim had the 45m up earlier in the week for training, so the 65m was next. The new 40 was left curing, to rig during the event.
Thursday the water tri-line was set up. Burghen doing the icy swim across to the far anchor on an overcast rainy day.
Brave man! Andy Alex on the deck anchor, me on another. Giant A-frames to keep things suspended. And even then, slackliners walked on water. Brilliant idea to get everyone involved in what seemed easier to attempt than the beasty 60m line from years gone by.
Most of the slack community started arriving Thursday evening. Uwe from Alpha gave his first burns to the 45m, seeing it was ready. Why wait, right? Big line for a first time, but he figured out the fine balance moves surely and confidently. His approach was ultra calm and his learning curve super steep.
More community slackers trickled in through the night and the next morning. Up to the lines we ventured. People travelled from all over SA, as far as Jo’burg and Pretoria. Their skills amazed us all and the combined levels uplifted the contagious spirit of the 2018 event. Excitement all round for longer line sends!!
Luca roared in frustration when he near-sent the 65m one evening. The spectators saw him fall literally two steps from the send and assumed it to be complete. But he wouldn’t have it and went back the next day to finish his true send. Great stuff, Luca!
JJ made it for a day from Mother City Skydiving. He stood up in air a number of times. We chatted about some massive projects for the hope-filled future involving wingsuit flight-highline-spacenet missions. The dam beckoned for a refreshing swim and chill sesh.
More evening sunset highlines and a full moon rise over a pink’n blue sky. Thys’s son, Michal, with his girlfriend sporting a pink event t-shirt, and Max caught up with extreme mountain sights in their backyard.
Two newbie liners, one male and one female, struggled to climb the leash and both asked for a rescue. Burghen and Seb obliged and thankfully those were the only incidents during the highline meet, except for a nasty waterline knee injury which held Bastian back from action unfortunately.
So many faces kept appearing: Jeremy with his dad Dion, Hanlie&Peter, the Naude’s, Dean&Liezl plus sweetest Erin, James Dicks&Clara, Nick da Silva&fam, James Eave with his 35m line, Melri and Duke, Harry, Marcelle, Nix vdW, Nina and Melena from Switzerland, Lily, Emily and the UCT’ers. The list goes on and is long. Super special guests Luca, Zakk, Rei, Dawie, Swart, Tim, Bastian, all shiners from up country.
Full Moon Yoga Salutations on Saturday night up on the plateau, and role model Hedi, Sylvain’s mom, joining in. At one point, the total highline group did a crazy transformation into a howling pack of wolves when the moon came out.
All of the longer lines were rigged in the trend of double webbing, on Great White. Hardware intensive with 4 BaboonLocks per line. An extra long leash for the 65m, custom order for Andy Court. The two shorter parallel lines with stretchy leash-fall friendly tubular.
Most times the 45 and 65 were occupied with competent walkers. This shows the SA community progress. Safety buddy check for the new highliners on the 20m’s. People shimmy’ing out there, getting a feel for the unique exposure. It’s exhilarating and without exception all agree that it’s not something anywhere else found.
Sunrise sesh on Sunday. Drones flying about, witnessing Rei’s 65m send. The weather was perfect the whole weekend, windless and bright. Becky, James and Emily from Alpha arrived and pancakes were enjoyed by many. Pre-lining brush-ups on Chongo’s and off we hiked to the lines.
The FairyLight Nightlining rig was set up by Jeff at dusk. What a spectacle! Pod poi displays on the rocks from Kyle, Jodi, Stuart, and to top it all, MishFifi dangling off the leash of the 40m, poi’ing upside down. Mary extending her limits highlining at night, after a good 20m send during daylight.
It was a magical night, with creativity flowing non-stop. Plenty night sends of the lines too, considering balance is challenged in the dark. Rob, Burghen, Tim, Jeff, all comfy on nightlines.
Bouldering of course happening all the way through the meeting. Refreshing waterfall missions too. Tough choices in Rocklands.
A quiet Monday evening to wind down an action-packed nerve-tingling few days. Dawie amped to figure out some energy efficient line mounts. The Wolski’s keeping up their commitment to attend the event since the start, adding to the valuable sense of continuity, and Liam pushing through the terrifying feeling of taking his first leash fall. Well done one and all, and thank you!