Slackline history: how, when and where was it invented?



It is consensual that the slackline history started in the 1980s, although other similar practices may have existed even before that.

The truth is that the answers to the question of how, where and when the slackline emerged, all point in the same direction: at Yosemite Valley, between 1980 and 1990.

About those who invented the slackline, the same sources point to climbers who, adapting climbing equipment, created the concept of slackline that we know today, using pieces of webbing with some elasticity.

Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington wanted to take their hobby and complementary training further and ended up starting the history of Slackline.

Slackline history and curiosities


When was it born?


The first records we can find on the internet are from the 80’s. These end up confirming what sources like ISA point to, with regard to the birth of the slackline. We leave here a video from 1985 and another, recorded 10 years later, which illustrate the early stage of the sport.

Where was it born?


As has already been said, the slackline appeared in Yosemite National Park, or Yosemite Valley. A natural park in the USA, which is a kind of Mecca for climbers and other mountain sports.

With an area of ​​3081 km2, it is a world of endless possibilities that started by attracting the climbing community and, today, drags many slackliners into epic highline projects.

Once again, we recommend 2 videos, one from climbing projects at Yosemite and the other from a slackline project, in this case highline.

Who invented slackline as we know it?


If we separate between slackline and tight rope, there is little doubt that the two climbers Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington, as we have already mentioned, are at slackline genesis.

We returned to this topic only to note that the second, Jeff Ellington, in addition to being part of the slackline history , has its name eternalized in one of the most popular methods of  slackline setup, the Ellington system. You can find out more about this method in our article on how to setup a slackline.




Slackline, what is is?

Slackline is the practice of balancing on a dynamic line, more or less stretched, between two fixed points. The slackliner can walk or perform tricks, dynamic or static. It can be practiced in height, over water. Slackline has many variations, you can explore here.

Highline, what it is?

Explore the highline world, the most extreme type the slackline. Find out what defines it and what differentiates it from other aspects, such as rodeo, trickline, longline or waterline.

Want to find out the main slackline rules?

Slackline may, if practiced in a less responsible manner, envolve some risks. Taking basic security measures protects you and those who share the same space. Putting a security backup, not crossing paths, putting tree protections are just some of them. Find out all on our list of safety rules for slacklining.