Gibbon Games 2011Gibbon USA invited me to be an official judge for the Gibbon Games in Salt Lake City, UT, and I couldn’t be happier. Overall the experience was amazing, and I had a chance to not only catch up with old friends but make many, many new ones. The video at right contains some practice session footage I shot, as well as athlete interviews at the end. I had to judge during the competition, so I wasn’t able to shoot video of any of the comp runs, but I am sure Gibbon will put up video soon.
The competition stretched across three days, and followed a standard bracketing format. In the end Ellie Schulte from Germany took third place, Andy Lewis second place, and “Alpha” Mike Payton first place. The judging was incredibly hard on the third day, as all of the final round competitors were razor sharp with their skill sets — it’s amazing to see how far tricklining has come in just a couple of years, and even more amazing to imagine where it’s going.
About 40 of us were staying in a house in the suburbs of SLC, which make for lots of hijinx after each day of competition. I managed to have my first Chipotle Grill burrito (something many of my fellow slackers couldn’t believe I’d missed out on) after competition on the first day … officially I gave it an 8.5. That night a midline also was rigged at the house, around 1am. In photos below you can see Alex taping the line, and then Damien walking it.
I spent a good amount of time hanging with Jan, one of the founders of Gibbon, and I can tell you for sure he is a stand-up guy. Mid-way though my stay I found time to sit down with some of the Gibbon USA folks and talk about where the company is headed, and without getting too wordy here, let me just say that I think not only are they doing a lot for this sport, but that their products are only getting better and better. The days of taking a hand-written list of ‘random stuff to buy’ at your local climbing store so that you can ‘build’ a slackline are probably coming to a close in the near future — which, honestly, is great, because Gibbon can reach way more people than I can with my how-to videos and lists of things to buy at REI. So I look forward to working with Gibbon in the future, and seeing what products they have in store for the US market, especially their one-inch products (since I am more a fan of one-inch lines than two-inch).