In One Ear: On the line

In One Ear: On the line

“I videotaped a young man tightrope walking along the Riverwalk,” Penny Rodgers wrote to the Ear, who was delighted that she had sent along a clip of 21-year-old Austin White, pictured. “He was pretty impressive, something you don’t see every day at the Riverwalk.”

“It’s called slacklining,” Austin clarified, and entails “walking on a 1-inch flat dynamic webbing pulled tight between two anchors.”

“I started slacklining after watching a rock climbing documentary that showed someone walking and doing different tricks on it,” he explained. “After I saw him walking between two canyons, hundreds of feet off the ground, I was hooked to idea that I could learn how to do the same thing.” And he did.

In Moab, Utah, he walked a 1-inch slackline 430 feet off the ground over a canyon. “No poles,” he proudly told the Ear, who was feeling a tad faint. “It was a really magical moment. It was really cool.” He’s walked all sorts of slacklines, including one longer than a football field. “I’ve been a part of many communities of ‘slackers’ in many different cities,” he recalled, including one forming in Astoria.

Interested in slacklining? Email him at or follow him on Instagram @austingwhite

“I’m hooked to this sport,” he declared. “... Any struggles I have, any bad days I’m having, they go away when I’m on the line. My mind goes still and the line goes still.”

But it’s more than that. “Slacklining for me is an amazing lesson for life. It may shake and wobble around, and it may be scary sometimes, but no matter what, you have to just stay focused and keep looking ahead, always remembering the line you’ve already walked, and not to let it hinder the line ahead of you.”

“It’s what gets me up in the morning,” he confessed.

— Elleda Wilson


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