Slack Line on the Uni -- the Ultimate Skinny

There’s a little group of climbers/unicyclists who meet at a local (Santa Monica) park on some Sundays and practice “slacklining” (essentially low level wire walking, but on a highly-tensioned nylon sling), unicycling, impossible wheel, frisbee, hula hoop, and a ton of other stuff. These guys are amazing on the slack line and can walk it back and forth with a cup of jo in hand.

Anyhow, Don took the tire off his old Torker and we tried riding the slack line. That’s one hard skinny. Super wobbly, too. We could only mount by using someone’s shoulder. And since the line is tensioned to all get-out, when you come off, the uni fires off the line like it’s rocket powered, shooting many feet into the air, with everyone running for cover.

But man, is that a riot. Don will post pics in a bit.


Ben Plotkin-Swing and I have tried this on a slack chain near my old dorm. We used our munis. The tires are wide enough that keeping the tire on isn’t really too bad. Still, it’s a beast. Ben has had some good runs. I feel lucky if I even get on.

How high off the ground is the slack line? Do you ever get tangled or caught in the line when you fall? I can see how that might be painful, especially given how taut the line is! :astonished:

at moab they had a slack line…it was hard as crap to walk on…i couldnt imagine riding on it…

Slacking Pics

Kelly on the slackline with coffee in hand.

The rig.

Don styling on the nylon skinny.

Feeling kinda sketchy.

Seconds later, the uni ended up ten feet in the air.






were any rims bent that day?

Slacking tips

For anyone interested in slacklining without a uni, I can direct you to They have all types of info and gear, etc.

I think slacklining is great cross training for just about any sport, including uni. And it is seriously fun, and generally inexpensive for a basic setup.

Always learn on a line below crotch height. Learn on a shorter line, 25-30ft in length is easier than trying to learn on a 100+ footer, plus it is much easier to rig. Longer lines require greater tension and need to be higher in order not to hit the ground in the middle. Falling off in the middle of a 100+ ft line and getting hit by the line while it is racing back skyward and you are falling down can inflict some serious damage.

I slackline all the time, and I unicycle all the time, yet for some reason I have yet to bring them together.
Andrew Carter, the King of Skinnies, has a video somewhere of him riding across a slackline on a uni.

I wouldn’t recommend buying a slackline kit though, they’re way overpriced…just go to any outdoor store, and buy fifty feet or so of 1-inch tubular webbing and a couple carabiners, then look up online how to set one up, it’s really easy.

I agree about learning on shorter lines, shorter is definitely easier.

The kits are actually a pretty good deal for the convenience they provide if you have the extra money to spend. Don’t buy a kit, if you want to really save money, and you never want to walk a long line - but if you have to put it up and take it down all the time, and you are going to be setting up any longer lines by yourself you will quickly realize the importance of pulleys and/or ratchets for mechanical advantage! Once you have used a non-primitive tensioning system it is hard to go back to tensioning the line just using friction and brute force.

And please, if you are using trees for your anchor points, please protect them with old carpet or something to prevent damaging the bark.

Ive tried it once, and managed about 3 revolutions, then fell.

Earlier in the year Andrew Carter and I spent at least an hour riding a rope on trails unis. It was super wobbly but we both managed to get from one end to the other a few times. The rope was about 4-5m long. Andrew has a video somewhere of him riding it. He also managed to do a 30sec still stand on the rope.

EDIT: heres the video of him riding it

That is a GREAT video!! Ouch, that had to hurt!

A couple of years ago I saw a Chinese slackwire/unicycle artist working for the Big Apple Circus. While I slackwire a lot with different lengths and tensions while juggling, he was on a uni doing this on a very very slack wire, set up about 12 feet high at the anchors and about 5 feet high in the middle. He not only rode the uni out, but also swang about 60 degrees total from side to side while on the uni! Not to mention juggling while simply balancing on it. So all us uni folks have a long way to go!

I saw a guy in Balboa Park, SD, about 20 years ago with the same act. He was a street performer trying to go to clown school. He was a local, and I never knew what happened to him. He was probably every bit as amazing as the act you saw, but was doing it for donations. If anyone knows this guy, drop off his name and I will buy him a beer.

Maybe a steel cable would be good

I have a friend who performs on a steel cable, pulled tight with a come-along.
But perhaps a cable would be good slack as well. No stretch, no snap back.

Koxx made a video and at the end they showed Yoggi trying to ride a 20’ or so long rope w/ a UW. They showed his attempts, but covered most of the screen on his successfull ride. I think they wanted you to actually buy the vid.

In the circus I’m performing in right now, there’s a guy that does slack wire, which is a rig that’s about ten feet high at the sides and maybe four at the middle. He does some pretty cool stuff on it, things you could never do on a tightrope, though possibly possible on a slackline…

Chances are, for Cal Muni Weekend this year, I will have a slackline for the trials comp.


I both slackline and uni. This past autumn I attempted riding the uni on the line, I could mount and ride three revs but thats it. I didn’t bother taking off my tire.

Someone who is good at riding real skinnies without doing any hopping could probably be really good at this. I think its easier with the tire on as its grippier and you can ride/hop off of the line if need be.