This year’s annual Rhythms of Rimba festival was hosted in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, where a gathering of conservation focused scientists, artists, musicians and activists came together to share ideas and passions about the changing planet. Environmental awareness and education was at the forefront of this event’s theme, where the public got to participate in all sorts of interactive outdoor experiences (such as the space net and slacklines) while also learning about important environmental issues and our human impact on the Earth’s biosphere.
We live in a complex world together and our future hinges on the ability to cultivate better balance with our surroundings and create more harmonious relationships with the diverse wildlife sharing this living space. The slackline is a great metaphor for this challenge, providing an opportunity to play outside, find our center, breath deeper and tread a little lighter. Fun is fun, and when people of all ages, religious backgrounds and different nationalities come together to smile, laugh, balance and enjoy the outdoors, a new language is communicated and something transcendent happens.
The space net similarly provided an experience for everyone to sit back, slow down and enjoy the natural beauty of a sunset with strangers. Ultimately our human net-worth is only as strong as our capacity to net-work with one another.
Thanks so much to Anton Ngui and Linn Yong for pouring so much blood, sweat and tears into this event year after year, it was an honor to be a part of your vision. A big bow of appreciation goes out to my main rigging and adventure partner Scott Rogers for joining in the epic adventure, it was surely one we’ll never forget. To Tree Net Willy for coming through with some desperately needed paracord and nets at the last minute. And finally to all the other participants, local bad asses, speakers, bus drivers, DJs, hotel staff, etc. who helped out in the process, you are greatly appreciated. This kind of collaboration doesn’t happen without a community who supports it.
As a lover of mountains I often find myself seduced by the siren’s song of the summit, heeding to the mysterious whispers of the wind at great heights. Whether climbing up an exposed rock face or flying down a mountain with great speed, I am powerfully drawn to the exploration of heights and its strong gravitational pull. Motivated by the intrinsic allure of seeking answers to questions I don’t yet have, or stepping courageously one foot in front of the other through life challenges, I trust my intuition to know where to go, when to stop or turn around. This is all part of the sacred mountain wisdom.
Since I was a child, I’ve responded to this innate urge to go up, to climb into the trees, the hills, the mountains everywhere I go. Seeking creative ways to focus my body and mind together, I move upward against Earth’s gravitational pull in the most efficient ways I know possible. Rock climbing, highlining and BASE jumping are my chosen disciplines where I get to play with the unforgiving elements of nature. Through them I get to confront my deepest fears and encounter my greatest strengths. As an athlete and photographer, I attempt to capture this magic for others to experience through my lens.
MOUNTAIN has been touring the world for the last year, alongside a live performance soundtrack from The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and is debuting in New York for its U.S. release on May 11th. It’s a truly breathtaking visual masterpiece that tells the essence of what draws mankind to the dangerous heights of mountains, the outer limits of our fear and the ultimate pursuit of outdoor adventure. I’m extremely grateful and elated to see a glimpse of Moab’s incredible athletic achievements featured in such a world-class film and am excited to have contributed some of my archival video footage to its creation. What an honor to be alive.
Roughly 400 rag-tag dirt bags and silent heroes from across the globe gather in the sandstone cliffs outside of Moab during Thanksgiving 2015 for Gobble Gobble Bitches Yea and Turkey Boogie; two festivals that are dedicated to supporting each spark that engulfs the imagination and pushes the limits of human possibility. Within 10 days, 17 highlines were strung, two space nets suspended and one Russian BASE swing constructed in the middle of the desert by dreamers, inventors, and influential creators coming together to create an unstoppable community. “It’s a cool environment to do groundbreaking things with talented people. It always has been and will continue to be that way.” says Scott Rogers, Director of the upcoming Wingate Motion film “Sky Tribe”. This group creates an atmosphere only portrayed in the Hollywood blockbusters, like finding the magical wardrobe or taking the red pill; you feel like you’ve made it to Neverland.
The tight, red canyon walls drop more than 350 feet below leaving you standing at a precipice of possibilities. Everywhere you look you are surrounded by the world’s best of the best in extreme sports, and each one of them is here to collaborate with your inspiration. That is where Scott Rogers and Cody Tuttle, Co-Directors of Wingate Motion, come into play. Documenting such incredible feats was a no-brainer for these two alongside the help of Brian Mosbaugh, Corey McCarthy, and Sarah Taz. Scott and Brian are two of the original Moab Monkeys and have been a part of the festival since it started many years ago. “At the beginning, we were setting world records every year. At the very first GGBY we rigged a 135 foot highline with Terry Acomb called ‘A Walk In The Sun’ and that was a world record. Several years later, Andy Lewis walked a 330 foot line which was the first highline longer than 100 meters,” Scott remarked. While records never have been a priority at the festival, they tend to happen thanks to the creative, open, and energetic people who gather there year after year.
Photo: Cody Tuttle
It was only a matter of time before the world would find out about GGBY and the Turkey Boogie events held in Moab. In eight years, the GGBY event grew from a mere 15 people on a camping trip to 400 people choosing “the outlaws over their in-laws” as Scott describes. With the growing community, 2015 was the biggest event yet, with GGBY and the Turkey Boogie mashed together for the second year in a row. The Wingate Motion production team hung off cliff faces, climbed tall boulders, and bounced across 4WD desert roads to work with the most talented Wingsuiters, BASE jumpers, and Highliners in the world. Over the week we captured the first two-way wingsuit flight off of Castleton Tower, the longest human anchored highline, the rope swing to BASE and Russian swing to BASE, just to name a few. “The cool thing about the event is that it’s a collection of so many awesome people that are so creative and so open to expressing their creativity uninhibited, because it is such an open and welcoming environment that it’s conducive for doing new and cool things,” says Scott. And that’s exactly what Wingate was able to capture.
Photo: Cody Tuttle
Wingate’s “Sky Tribe” lives somewhere between the documentation of the rare extreme sports we all know and love, and the embrace of the friends and outlaws we love as family. This community is built upon striving for more as a whole, thus empowering the individual; making each world record event a group achievement, which can’t be explained better than witnessing the human anchored highline. “That’s why we are making this film, to not only document this amazing event, but to inspire other people and other communities to continue doing things that they are passionate about; to grow, to create, to inspire others who continue to increase the collective amount of good things that we still have as humans in this world and try to offset the bad.” Scott describes the passion behind the film project we all share at Wingate. This film will unveil a totally new world for anyone who has not experienced the BASE or Highlining community, creating the feeling of a world hidden in another reality. This is our family, our Sky Tribe, and we encourage you to share, join in the fun, and to hopefully be inspired to go out with your own tribe and discover the realm of human possibility.
Check out how the 9th annual Turkey Boogie/GGBY gathering has grown in yet another Red Bull featured video below. A tribute to the slacklove that Terry Acomb has so graciously offered to the world of extreme sport athletes exploring the red rock wilderness of Moab, Utah.
Have you ever wondered how long your focus could last while walking on top of a one-inch-wide piece of slackline webbing? Theoretically, if a line continued in distance for as long as the eye could see, at what point would you fall off? At what point would the world’s best balanced athletes fall off? The discipline of “longlining” attempts to answer this question and the record lengths continue to exponentially grow as webbing technology and skill level of slackliners worldwide advances. This question of distance becomes the main focus and adversary for “longliners” who naturally take this challenge to great heights as well.
Antony Newton making giant strides across 1,617 feet of webbing.
In the world, there exists a very small niche community of highly trained slackliners who devote their lives to balanced practices daily and break staggering world records regularly. The observation I’ve made of these talented individuals is that, the majority of them aren’t pursuing this challenge to stroke their egos or for any real claim to fame. Walking across a slackline is a very arbitrary and personal accomplishment all things considered, and there is little notoriety for it in mainstream culture. Instead, what I’ve experienced is that their deepest motivations and desires, to push the limits of body and mind, stem from a profound need to be the best version of themselves. To explore their outer limits and see what is humanly possible when strict rules and definitions are ignored. During this Fall season, those limits were pushed longer and higher than they ever had been before. Read more
I just got back from the humid jungles of Borneo, where myself and other members of the Moab Monkey crew installed a new custom space net in celebration of preserving biodiversity. We spent the past week enjoying the sights and sounds of Sandakan, Borneo, rigging a colorful “Jungle Nest” above a beautiful lake at the Rainforest Discovery Centre. This was all coordinated as part of an amazing annual festival to celebrate, preserve and teach about the immediate need to protect our rapidly disappearing jungle environments. Over a two day period, hundreds of professional artists, educators and musicians gathered at the 2015 Rhythms of Rimba celebration to share their thoughts, concerns and plans to slow the destruction of their surrounding jungle. During the event it was our duty to facilitate over 200 people from the general public, getting in and out of the suspended net (with a huge amount of help from local Bornean climbers), to enjoy a new perspective of the canopy life around them. Although our role may not have been as educational as the professional lectures given, it offered attendees the opportunity to push themselves past comfort levels in their beautiful home and see new perspectives along the way. We also took advantage of this time to rig several slacklines in the area to teach the general public how to walk again. This gave them a greater appreciation for their own personal balance and mind power, which empowers humans for life.
One of the biggest steps in preserving the rapidly disappearing jungles, due to expanding palm oil plantations and other forms of corporate exploitation, is the simple act of educating people on the importance of protecting biodiversity as a whole. If you don’t understand the fragility of your own home or wildlife, you’re less likely to take a stand against its destruction. Similarly, if you don’t value its natural presence then you won’t see the absolute need for its existence. This is why the festival was created, to make a positive impact on the surrounding communities and take a stand against the decimation of our own biodiversity.
Orangutans in rehabiliation
Orangutans in rehabiliation
Sun Bears in rehabilitation
Sun Bears in rehabilitation
Sun Bears in rehabilitation
By deforesting our rainforests in the name of human greed we simultaneously destroy all fragile ecosystems, plants and animals that require them to live, including ourselves. Borneo supports over 15,000 different plant species alone, which rivals that of the entire African continent, and may well represent the highest level of over all plant diversity on planet Earth. A lot of this vegetation remains endemic to the unique island of Borneo, so when rampant deforestation and wildfires takes place, as a direct result of the growing palm oil industry, this precious life disappears forever. When you take into account that many endangered species are already struggling to live on this large island (the thirds largest in the world after Greenland and New Guinea), such as the colugo flying squirrels, pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinos, orangutans, clouded leopards, gibbons and sun bears, you realize many changes need to be made in regard to our human behaviors and priorities for this biodiversity to continue existing. If drastic changes aren’t made more life will be lost and our future generations will be deprived of a more diverse world to live in.
Yoga has always been a part of my daily life of stretching and being outside. The constant search to find inner stillness, better breathe and greater flexibility in my movement has always been a joyful meditation, but I’ve always been more drawn to sharing the experience through more playful forms of balance such as slacklining, climbing and acrobatic yoga. Instead of focusing on individual static poses and personal progression, I prefer combining the finesse and flowing movement of two people together. This approach has continued to be a more relaxed and playful practice for me. I was first introduced to acroyoga a couple years ago, while living in Oregon, and immediately was intrigued by the focus and flexibility required of two people to find balance in a very simple yet beautifully complex form of choreographed motion. The creative flows are infinite, the mood always light and the natural settings where we practice are continuously shifting. In drawing on my skills and experience learned through many years of disciplined training in wrestling and mixed martial arts, where the combative goal is to counterbalance your opponent and dominate their body position, I found that dance with another person brought me a new sense of accomplishment.
Last winter I was approached by my good friends, Scott Rogers and Dallin Smith, with a project idea that would join our combined skills of acroyoga, desert rock climbing and extensive rope rigging in a new form of adventurous artistic expression. To take these three disciplines and combine them into a single project, where the natural beauty of Moab’s desert towers became the incredible setting for our flowing balance with acroyoga, became the new focus to pursue. Being the desert wanderers that we are here in Moab, Utah, Scott and I started to brainstorm some interesting environments where acro could be practiced in new exposed ways. After deliberating on a number of different rock towers in the local area; which we had previously climbed, established highlines at and BASE jumped from their summits, we concluded that this concept of tower yoga could be achieved realistically in our own backyard. Very quickly Trimr water bottles was excited by the idea and the project was set in motion. Over a cold three day period, Scott and I climbed a couple towers, fixed ropes to their summits and began planning the logistics of getting the other yogis to these remotely exposed locations.
I've committed my life to the pursuit of world exploration and pushing the boundaries of human limits. I have a strong passion for climbing technical rock routes, BASE jumping in the mountains and walking lines of 1-inch webbing at varying heights. In this shared space I hope to convey the stories of inspiring outdoor communities and individuals who interact with nature adventurously.
Slackline Media is a shared platform where all forms of slackline and other adventure sport related news, blogs, projects, photos and films can be openly viewed and appreciated. It showcase the evolving lifestyle of actively balanced individuals who are continually pushing the boundaries of human achievement.