When the entire nation was fighting for NRC-CAA, and some political parties appealed to all people to intensify protest and participate in ‘Bharat Bandh’. Some people were filing Public Interest Litigation against it and some of them were getting arrested for triggering a debate on the misuse of sedition law, on the other side 100 people from India were travelling to Lonavala and people from Israel, Sweden, Germany, France, Norway, Poland, Iran, Russia, and England were flying to India to walk in the air to create Asia's Highline Record by setting up a 1.3km long highline at Dukes Nose, Lonavala.
Due to lack of funding, they were not able to achieve this record but they managed to rig and send a 750mt long highline breaking the “INDIA HIGHLINE RECORD”. This is a monumental feat for the Indian community of highliners.
Ronan kemp was the first person to send (cross without falling) the line and it was done at night! Indian athletes who crossed the full line includes Sumanth Dhanya Kumar, Samar Farooqui and Wasim Abbas.
This January, Slackline India (Association), with the support of Shivdurga Mitra has successfully
executed its first event - TGIHG. The Great Indian Highline Gathering was an organic gathering of Slackliners, Highliners, Flow artists, conservationists and nature lovers all looking to add a little balance into their lives.
Talking to Navin Torres who is one of the organisers, got introduced to highline by Maleva Robert from Bangalore and started slacklining 4 years back. He says he made a lot of progress in Australia when he flew to visit his brother. There I learned a lot because people there are just the next level. I had attended a festival and there I got a lot of encouragement and then I was able to push myself so that’s another inspiration for the gathering actually, bringing people together and it can really help people to overcome fears, Navin adds.
They are more advanced because it’s been there for longer for example, like every Sunday there are three different groups highlining in three different places whereas in India we have to plan so much in advance to even rig one highline.
In the month of October also Navin, Harshdeep and Samar organised a small gathering in Dukes Nose, Lonavala and they camped out for 30 days and a total of 80 people joined them. Talking about David who is from Sweden, Navin says he visits India every year and makes projects. So, this time he had contacted some people from the community in advance about attempting for an Asia record. He also said, he is going to bring the athletes and also the pieces of equipment. So that is how the idea of gathering became more clear for us and this was the opportunity for us to bring people together.
We never thought of organizing a commercial event but we thought of at least covering up some expenses for the international athletes we were inviting and hosting, so we thought of keeping basic ticket prices which helped us.
So originally David wanted to do the Asia record project and we added the gathering part into it. This was a chance for us to learn from them and we thought to bring everyone to Lonavala. We also invited people from the flow arts community to the gathering as slacklining itself is a natural extension of "flow".
Navin says there is a limit to how much we can get inspired by watching videos but when you see someone performing in front of your eyes, your mind is blown and your body starts feeling like ohh! If this person can do it, I can do it too. It’s a very strong energy you get. So that is why it’s important to bring everyone together.
The second thing is there is a lot of knowledge sharing that happens during these days because everyone is from different backgrounds, cultures, states, countries so for example, a lot of people from Mumbai came to this gathering who did not know about the rigging process. When they came, they asked us many questions and this motivated people. People of every level came to this gathering to go to the next level.
"India is a big country, so if we can decide one time of the year where everyone comes and meets each other, its amazing".
If I talk about myself, I didn’t get a chance to meet people from Delhi so far and I have never been to Delhi to slackline. So you see how one gathering helps people from different places to gather at one place, slack, highline together and to talk about each other's projects which normally doesn’t happen. It also creates collaborations.
The gathering saw a whopping total of 80 people across 7 highlines including first-time beginners
and experienced world record holders. Apart from highliners, we had a total of 300 visitors
which also included kids from the local “Zila Parishad school” adopted by Della Adventures.
We had participation domestically from Mumbai, Pune, Lonavala, Delhi, Bangalore, Kochi,
Meghalaya, Chennai, and Mangalore. Also, we had a lot of female participation, which is very encouraging. For example, one girl, Himanshi from Pune. She slacklines often but was intimidated to get into highlining. Seeing other girls from Mumbai and Delhi pushing themselves on the highline, gave her a very big mental boost. So it becomes a place where everyone feels welcome, everyone feels motivated to learn and share.
The gathering was created under the umbrella of the Slackline India Association which is a democratically elected body. So it doesn’t belong to an individual, it is not for profit. So, people want to come for these things because they know that no one is doing it for commercial benefits and it’s only and only for the sport and the community. Plus we had zero accidents or serious injuries. So that was another success for us, the safety was taken care of properly. All of these things matter to organize a gathering where lots of people can come and participate without hesitation.
Slackline India (Association) is a not for profit, Legal, Democratic entity formed by the Slacklining community of India for the promotion and preservation of slack-lining as a sport and all the ethics we stand for.
And we are also getting many messages from people around the world who couldn’t come and join so, I am sure next year is going to be even bigger.
International Record Holder Athletes
1. Friedi Kühne
2. Lukas Irmler
3. David Sjostrom
1. Sumanth Dhanya Kumar
2. Samar Farooqui
3. Wasim Abbas
4. Rohit Vartak
Besides highliners, we had some of India's best flow artists like Rohan Jacob (Poi and Flow
Artist Bangalore), Ami Shroff (Juggling and Flair Bartending Artist Mumbai) and Eshna Kutty
(Hoop Dance Artist Delhi).
Thank you to Navin Torres, Kshitij Mittal and Nutan Shinde for the contribution.
If you know any Indian person who is breaking barriers in extreme and adventure sports, then write to us. We would love to let people know about them and inspire others.
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