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Slacklining gains popularity in Argentina

Slackliners practicing on a Sunday afternoon
Fernando Cuevas

Slacklining, a sport that originated in the 70's when two rock climbers decided to string up flat climbing webbing in the Yosemite Valley, has been gaining popularity in South America especially in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Slacklining has developed to include slackline yoga, waterlining (over water), tricklining (tricks on the slackline) and highlining (high off the ground.)

The sport, which is mostly practiced in public parks in Buenos Aires, effortlessly captures the attention of passer-bys who stop and marvel at the slackliners' walking, jumping and balancing abilities. Bodhi Stanberry, a photographer for The Argentina Independent, photographed Slackfest 2013, a day-long festival organized by local slackliners in the Puerto Madero neighborhood. The black and white and color images not only capture the intensity of the sport. For many slackline enthusiasts, slackline provides a mental and physical escape from society and this mentality and/or desire can be perceived in Stanberry's photographs.

Although slackliners have established online groups and communities, their scope of influence remains largely local. The community of slackliners in Buenos Aires rely heavily on its Facebook page, 'Los Locos de la Cinta' to organize practice sessions, promote upcoming local events, and advertise slackline equipment. In this way also, the slacklining community is becoming a culture unto itself. Even aspects of Argentine culture are detectable in slacklining. For example, during and after slackline sessions in the parks, slackliners are often seen drinking mate, an Argentine tea made by steeping dried leaves from the yerba mate plant. Similar to Argentina, Chile and Brazil have active slackline cultures as well, so travelers to those regions, be on the lookout for some high flying action!

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