Australian Highline Record

At the start of this year I set myself the goal of setting a new Australian Highline Record for the longest highline walked by an Australian. At the time the longest highline walked by an Australian was 90m, but I was very determined to walk a 100+m line. And in May of this year I achieved my goal by walking a 130m line in the Blue Mountains. This record did not come easily though…

Aside from the 2 weeks of straight effort needed to walk this line from end to end without falling. The year leading up to this had been a gruelling training year involving a lot of failure. But I’ve always believed that failure is the best way to find success, so I persevered through the year of 2016 trying lines that were far above my skill level at the time. With many lines that I stepped on, I knew I wouldn’t be able to easily walk them. But the goal was a long term one, of building up my skill level to a point where I would be able to walk these lines, and simultaneously I made it much easier to walk lines that were shorter in distance.

I had initially hoped to break the record before the Blue Mountains Highline Gathering in March, but for various reasons it just didn’t happen. During the Highline Gathering, I decided that instead of trying my hardest to walk just 1 line, I would try to attempt every line. And this worked out great as I started noticing that it was not always the case that the longer a line got the harder it got. E.g. We had setup a 400m highline, which was a record for the Southern Hemisphere, but this was perhaps the easiest line to walk on! It certainly wasn’t the easiest to walk continuously to the end, because that would take a lot of endurance and concentration, but just the task of taking steps was much easier. This gave me a huge confidence boost that the training I had been doing was actually paying off.

After the Blue Mountains Highline gathering, I had a few weeks off, and I finished off a few other projects I had wanted to do, which were beautiful lines like “The Fear”. Then I went about setting up a 130m highline, with the intention of leaving it up until I sent it (i.e. walked it without falling). After 2 weeks of continuous effort, I finally managed to achieve the allusive goal. And I have to say that I wondered up to that point if achieving the goal would offer any satisfaction, or if it would just mean setting a bigger goal…

But the day I sent that highline was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. Not only because it had taken over a year of dedicated training to get myself ready for it, but also because the simple act of walking the line which took ~20mins, was 20 minutes of pure meditation and focused awareness, a state which I had never been in for such a length of time on a slackline – pure bliss.

So there you have it, having a goal actually does help sometimes – just don’t be afraid of failure 😉


Shawn Mclaren

Feet Off Ground Co-Founder


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