From the Californian desert, to the ragged peaks of the French Alps via the Czech Republic, you can find Faith Dickey seeking out the most daring gaps to set her highline. As one of the female pioneers of slacklining, Faith has established herself as an important figure in building up the daring and highly skillful sport. Between setting world records, competing and organising a unique, female-only slackline camp, Faith talks to Gutsy Girls about her goals, hopes, and mindset.
How did you first get into slacklining?
I started slacklining in a park in my hometown. It was, at first, simply a hobby. A year later I went to Europe to travel and by chance met people taking it to the next level: highlining. So, I gave that a shot, and fell in love.
What is it that you love about the sport?
I love how the sport of slacklining and highlining introduced me to my own ego, and allowed me to see how ego and fear do not have to guide me through life, that I can move through them and past them and keep taking steps no matter how loud those voices in my head are. I also love how the sport demands a meditative state, that quieting the mind also quiets the line and makes it easier to walk. In a sense, it transforms many mental practices into tangible practices. The sport is also very individualistic, I am my biggest competitor, no one else can make me succeed, and having my own success in my hands like that is really empowering.
Tell us about any current projects you’re working on!
In the past I was constantly working on setting records, but the last few years I have found that my passion is really about establishing new, beautiful lines around the world. I love the adventure of traveling to a new place, finding beautiful gaps, and working with a team to put a line where none has been before. I am also working on a feature documentary with One World Media, and we hope to gain funding and start our projects this year.
How do you balance your professional life and your training schedule?
Balancing on a line is often easier than balancing in life! At time a couple months pass without training, due to traveling, climbing and personal life. I try to not remain too attached to my performance level in the sport because it fluctuates, and that’s ok. I need to be active in some regard, and if that means riding a bike, climbing or doing yoga, I try to move at least five days a week.
How do you see the sport evolving in the future?
The sport is only growing and I expect it to continue. Many countries and communities will have to start considering slacklining a sport they will be seeing more often, and local associations will have to work with their municipalities to ensure slacklining is accepted, done responsibly, and not banned just because it’s new and growing fast. I don’t expect the limits to be reached any time soon as far as distance goes, airspace is really the only frontier. I imagine slacklining will be in every country in the world one day.
What do you feel is your role as a pioneering female in the sport?
I was so fortunate to have started when I did, and to have found so much passion in doing it. Any pioneering I did was simply due to my drive and passion for what I was doing. From my perspective, I think the most important role I had was showing other women that they could do it, and staying true to my values along the way.
What has been your most daring slackline adventure so far?
Probably soloing. Though hardly my greatest physical feat, soloing has been my most daring mental feat, and every solo continues to be.
What frustrates you the most in the sport?
Adaptation! The sport has changed a lot since I started, and I must adapt my technique to match new standards. I don’t consider that a negative thing, though it is frustrating to suddenly not have the same level I was used to.
What are your goals/bucket list items for the future?
There are a few countries I really want to highline in before I die, and I would love if I could participate in getting more women and minorities slacklining during my career.
Learn more about Faith and her upcoming projects: http://thatslacklinegirl.com/
Portrait image by Scott Rogers