Now that summer is in high gear, lifeguards along La Jolla’s beaches and shoreline parks want to warn locals and visitors alike that the practice of “slacklining” is prohibited.
Having gained in popularity in San Diego over the last four or five years, slacklining involves the use of a rope (typically flat nylon webbing) that is stretched between two anchor points for a person to balance on and/or perform acrobatic movements.
According to San Diego Municipal Code, slacklining is prohibited in “All beaches on the Pacific Ocean and adjacent parks and perimeter sidewalks between the Southern boundary of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and the Southern boundary of Torrey Pines Park.”
At the June 10 La Jolla Shores Association meeting, members reported seeing slacklining at Kellogg Park to Marine Safety Lt. Rich Stropky.
“A lot of people don’t know it’s illegal, so we try to educate them,” Stropky later told La Jolla Light. “It is illegal because it damages the trees, and we want to protect the trees in the park.” He added that in some cases, slackliners will pad the trees with blankets, but should they be spotted, lifeguards or park rangers will still ask them to take the line down.
“It’s up to officer discretion, but if we think people know the rules, and choose not to follow them, they could get a ticket. Rangers sometimes see the same people day after day,” Stropky said.
San Diego Park & Rec district manager Dan Daneri added that though it depends on the tree, “for some of them, the rope can cut into the bark and do damage; it can kill the tree when the bark layer is broken.” Additional threat comes from having a taut rope in La Jolla’s crowded shoreline parks.
In areas where slacklining is permitted, municipal code dictates the regulations as:
■ All Slacklines are temporary and may not be left unattended. Lines should be easily visible to the public with bright colors or colored markers.
■ All lines should be removed before sunset. n Lines should not be longer than 40 feet. n Lines should not be higher than 4 feet from the ground. n Cemented posts (signs, fencing, light poles, etc.) or
other park structures (playground equipment, court equipment, etc.) should not be used as anchors.
■ Trees lesser than 1 foot in diameter at the tie-off point may not be used as anchor posts.
■ Tree protection should be used for anchor lines. Protection (carpet, burlap, blankets, thick cardboard, etc.) should be placed between the tree and the entire anchor line at the tie-off point.
■ No branches shall be cut or broken, or screws or nails used in the tree.