I get by with a little help from my friends – well my new French friend does. That’s me on the left.
I get by with a little help from my friends – well my new French friend does. That’s me on the left. Ashley Weyman-Jones

Friends, falls and focus found on a beach slackline

THERE is nothing like being hit in the groin to make you reassess your chosen afternoon activity.

It was New Year's Day and hubby and I had decided to buy a slackline and sling it between two trees at the beach to shake off the dust from the previous night.

What is a slackline? It's a strong piece of flat elastic rope no wider than 5cm that you set up between two trees.

The idea is to walk on the rope, but what I kept doing was falling off in a spectacular fashion that had every passer-by in stitches.

In this instance, I had lost my balance but was so committed mentally that I ended up with my legs each side of the rope as it sprang up like a toad in a thunderstorm.

It was like I was trying to earn a spot on Australia's Funniest Home Videos. I slid to my knees as the rope continued to rattle in my nether regions and I tried to recall... what made me think this was a good idea again?

We all flock to the beach together at this time of year and unless you are a surfer or a child, you retire to the sand eventually with a book or to inspect the back of your eyelids.

We had company visiting from overseas so those two blissful options seemed antisocial and good old-fashioned beach cricket was doomed because of some hand-eye co-ordination issues.

And so the slackline idea was born.

I got back on my feet and found enough strength to wobble toward hubby to assist him to mount the line.

For the sake of our future children, we decided from this point to walk beside each other to provide ground support.

Keeping your legs slightly bent and not looking at your feet were supposed to help as well.

To begin with our visitors were amused but not exactly enthused.

Eventually the lure of the line and some small progress on our part (combined with a reduction in the groin smacking) had them wobbling around with us.

To our surprise, a complete stranger walked up and asked if she could join in followed by two more of our friends who were out for a jog and decided to stop by and kick their shoes off to step up onto the slackline.

The friends and falls were fun, but the real benefit of the slackline for me was this: when you are on that line, putting one foot in front of the other takes up 100% of your mind's energy.

There is no room to worry about what you look like, stressing about work or thinking about what you might eat for dinner. Your focus is completely in the present.