Step by step towards the goal
BY NADINE PELZER
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 3 2017)
High above, between heaven and earth and in complete tranquillity, the young Frenchman Pablo Signoret balances highly concentrated on a highline in a breath-taking mountain panorama. The highline is the more extreme and demanding version of the slackline, which requires a perfect control of body and mind. We spoke with Pablo about his great passion.
Pablo, when did you discover the slackline, or rather highline?
I discovered the slackline five years ago, but actually only started slacklining one year later, in summer 2013. And then, around six months later, I was on my first highline.
How did it feel being on a highline for the first time?
Being on a highline for the first time felt so scary. I couldn't even stand up. I had so much adrenaline that first time and could feel that I wouldn't give up and it made me even more stoked about walking in the air.
What do you like about this sport in particular?
I like how it is so complete. At the same time, it has pushed me to develop my physical skills as well as my mental and thinking abilities. I learned how to control myself in every way. But I also love how the community is important, you're alone on the line but without your friends you are nothing, and that's as much of a team practice as a personal achievement. I like the fact it's more than a sport for me as it has brought me so much in my life in general.
The perfect control over body and mind plays an important role. How do you achieve this?
Personally, I achieve this control by thinking a lot about my way of practicing. I mean, I think about how I do the moves, but also in which state of mind I'm in when I'm on the line. I try to control both and then I can deal with my mind and my body together. If I manage to know exactly how I move and what I think, I can find the right balance.
How do you manage to stay concentrated and calm in risky situations?
It's more about dealing with commitment which creates pressure when I'm on super long lines. When I'm in the middle, high up in the air and alone, my favourite way to deal with all of that is by thinking only about the present moment, keeping my mind far from any bad feelings and keeping only the good part of it. That's how I keep focused.
How much do these traits you acquired help you in day to day life?
This helps me so much in day to day life. I manage to deal with any stressful situation way better thanks to all of that. I'm not as stressed, because of this practice I'm analysing every uncomfortable situation. On top of that, thanks to slacklining I've travelled a lot around the world, met so many people and learned new languages.
You set up a new world record this year together with two team mates on the longest highline to date at 1662 metres and a height of 300 metres. How did you prepare for this?
We did this world record with our team ‘’SDD”. We didn't specially prepared for this one, but in a way we prepared a lot, as we constantly did some crazy projects all together over the past years. We were stronger as a team to achieve this project. It took us more than a year to get all the permissions.
How did it feel? What went through your head?
It felt like the very best moment of my whole life. Finishing a big line - that's not the point, but of course the fact that it is the longest in the world is a plus. Dealing with all that pressure, reminding me all the way of what I went through the past years to get to this point of mind control, and finally after more than an hour of thinking to step on the rock where my friends were waiting for me, that perfect moment. And spending the rest of the day looking at my friends walking the line, definitely feels rather great!
What are your plans for next year? Which new adventures await?
Next year I'm starting to study philosophy. But I'll keep travelling and doing crazy projects and beautiful lines. The next step is a big project in Rio, and then two weeks in British Columbia to enjoy the beautiful lines of Squamish.
Pablo Signoret is one of the best known international slack and highliners. Last June, he set up the world record on the longest highline so far together with his team "SDD". Pablo grew up in the Hautes Alpes mountain region in southern France, where he initially focused on freestyle skiing before discovering his passion for slack and highlining.
Picture credit © Chaufour Pierre Productions