At the annual Teva Summer Mountain Games earlier this month, the newly popular sport of slacklining made its debut. Competitors wowed the audience as they tried to outdo each other with flips, jumps and other impressive acrobatic tricks – all while balancing on a narrow piece of webbing secured a few feet above the ground.
The star of the slackline, however, was 14-year old Alex Mason of Southern California. Alex was first introduced to the sport a year and a half ago, when a friend had it set for his birthday party at a local climbing gym.
“He got on the line and, well, the rest is pretty much gonna be history,” Josh Beaudoin, slackline educator at Gibbon Slacklines, the Boulder – based company that now sponsors Mason, told Outside.
After practicing a lot at the gym, Alex began to draw recognition and build his reputation as a prodigy of the sport. All the practice clearly paid off, as Alex was able to defeat several big-name rivals at the Mountain Games, including Andy “Sketchy” Lewis and reigning world champion, Michael Payton, both of whom are ten or more years older than him. He snagged the win from Japan’s Toru Osagi with a final 540 spin.
Perhaps performing a 540 degree spin 6,000 feet above the ground is in this exceptional, aerodynamic teen’s future.