Certified Slackline Gear
The International Slackline Association (ISA) has started to certify highline-gear. Some people are wondering what the advantage of a certification might be. But before answering, let us ask you a question: Would you buy climbing gear that is not certified? Most climbers would not.
But let us start explaining how gear can become certified. First, the ISA is in discussion with different slackline-brands to decide what the gear in question needs to fulfil. This includes:
- Minimum Breaking strength
- A manual that is easy to understand and explains well how the gear needs to be used
- A clarification after how much time the gear needs to be replaced
- Depending on the gear some further tests like e.g. slippage-test for weblocks, etc.
Those standards are based on experience from highlining of the last decades, different studies led by the ISA, private people or companies, experience from the climbing world and the incidents and accidents that have happened in the slackline-world so far.
Once a standard for a certain piece of gear has been decided, the company needs to send their gear to a neutral tester. This is SIEBERT CONSULTING (Walter Siebert, siebert.at) who then tests the gear according to the standard. The manual will be checked by a team from the ISA. Once the gear has successfully been tested and has fulfilled all the required standard, it will be officially certified slackline- or highline-gear.
But what is the advantage for you as user? So far (March 2020) there is almost no tested gear on the market. But this will change over the next months and years and it will become a standard.
- When buying certified gear you will know that it is safe and tested by a neutral party. In the manual you will also be able to read how it needs to be used, about the lifespan of the gear and at what point it should be replaced.
- Insurance companies might insist (in future) that only certifed gear will be used to get an insurance covering.
- Access: Often when talking to officials about permission to rig a slackline or highline in a public space, you will be asked whether you use certified gear. In future you can answer with yes which will for sure help you to get access to a new place.
- Gear certification will also help to get acceptance for the sport – it is not unlikely that prohibited areas for highlining will be allowed again.
- Shows: when offering shows and courses it will help you a lot if you can tell the organizers that you are using certified gear.
SLACKTIVITY has started with 3 certified products: redTube, seaHorse and the leash – more will follow.
Webbing is categorized into 4 different types, depending on the MBS (minimum breaking strength). The webbing categories A+, A, B and C of the ISA have nothing to do with the categories A, B and C that have been used by SLACKTIVITY for over 2 years now (just coincidence). Here are the ISA classifications:
- Type A+: 40kN+
- Type A: 30 – 40kN
- Type B: 26 – 30kN
- Type C: 22 – 26kN
The SLACKTIVITY redTube is the first webbing on the market that can be used as an official highline webbing. It is categorized as webbing Type A by the ISA-Standards. This means, it has a recommended lifetime of 720 days of use. Lifetime is counted as the days that the slackline is rigged. Leaving your line rigged for a week costs 7 days of lifetime, no matter if it is being sessioned or not because UV-light is one of the main factors to weaken your line. Once the days run out, the slackline is no longer safe for highlining. Webbing can becume unsafe much earlier for other reasons like abrasion, cuts, burns or contact with chemicals.
For permanent rigs, SLACKTIVITY recommends slacklines that have a physical connection between the mainline and the backup. This is e.g. the case with redTube Type B (SLACKTIVITY-classification of webbings with T-Loops). The T-Loop should be connected to a backup-webbing with a knot/connection that holds at least 12kN. Here you can find the breaking strength of different knots of SLACKTIVITY-Webbings.
Be aware that every redTube sold, comes with a sewn end loop on BOTH sides of the line plus a backup loop on one side of the line. This loop can be used for a direct connection to the anchor point. More information about the use of the redTube as highline can be found in the manual.
Also for highline-leashes there is a new ISA-Standard. And the SLACKTIVITY leash is the first leash on the market that can officially be used on a highline. According to the standard the rings need to have a MBS of at least 24kN. The SLACKTIVITY leash ring is much stronger than the required standard and convinces with a MBS of 39kN at a weight of only 51g per ring. Also the weight of the rings have been limited to 150g in the new ISA standard, because being hit by a heavy ring can lead to injuries. Therefore oldschool leashes with a heavy steel bomber ring will luckily be prohibited in future.
SLACKTIVITY (Tobi + Sam) thanks to all people from the ISA that have worked hard to realize this standards - we think it is a big step for the slackline sport and his futur.