Q + A with Heather Larsen — Professional Slackliner

A Slacker With A Contagious Smile

Take A Step Into Heather Larsen’s Slacklife Story

Heather playing on the ukulele   Photo by @a4gpa

From the first time we connected years ago, Heather has always been professional and kind. Willing to participate in community projects and always a continuous source of inspiration. She’s strong and skilled on low slacklines as well as the highlines. Just take a quick peek at her @slacklarsen Instagram and you’ll see Heather busting out one arm balances, shoulderstands and gorgeous splits on a variety of epic lines.

Beyond her incredible balance and talent she exerts in her slacklife, one of the things I adore most about Heather is her sunshine smile. Whether she’s climbing, slacking or playing, Heather seems to have a joy for life that shines bright and showers down on those around her. We are super grateful she has taken the time to answer a few questions and share her experiences with us.

Heather crushing a one arm balance    Photo by @justinragers

An Interview With Heather Larsen

“Who has been your biggest influence in the slackline community? Why?”

HEATHERI have so many influences…most recently, I would say some of my biggest influences and sources of encouragement are Friedi Kuhne and Zac Timmons (for the tricks and big lines and super kind words) and Hayley Purdom and Justin Wagers (for always pushing themselves and trying new things and being flexible with their growth in the sport…and also super kind words)”

Double drop knee on an epic canyon line    Photo by @anna_ristuccia

“What is it about slacklining/highlining that keeps you coming back each day?”

HEATHER:  There is a freedom I feel on the line when I push myself that I don’t get with other activities. Pushing myself on the slackline hits something in me differently than most other things. While I enjoy other activities, highlining is definitely something that has changed my life and my worldview more than almost anything else.”

 

“What did your life look like before you found the slacklife? Was it any different than how you live now?”

HEATHER: I’ve always been one to explore nature. Before slacklining, I was climbing (somewhat religiously) & backpacking (mostly in the Grand Canyon). I have never been able to sit still for very long and I always want to see new places and push myself physically. It’s kind of similar to how I pursue slacklining now: I like to find gaps to walk that are in unique and beautiful locations.”

Before there was slacking, there was climbing

“It’s 5 am…are you more of a coffee girl or a tea girl?”

HEATHER: Coffee in the morning. Tea in the afternoon.”


“When you’re on a highline, what are thinking? What’s you’re internal dialogue sound like?”

HEATHER:  Lately, every line is a little bit different. I like to be able to take in the environment and find all of the things to enjoy about the situation, whether it is an easy line for me or not. I find the best things to think about are the things I like about the line or the movement or the wind…and if I don’t like it…I just tell myself to like it. It sounds a little silly, but I find the more joy I can find in the moment, the easier it is to continue to walk.”

City Backdrop   Photo by @bnucc

“What’s the most memorable moment from all of your slacklife adventures? Why is this the most memorable moment?”

HEATHER:  There are so many to choose from! One that really sticks out to me is when I was going through a rough patch in my personal life, my good friend, Ron Doremus, came to see me and rig a highline with me. At this same line, another friend who is an incredibly talented musician, Ben Roa, showed up and played guitar and sang while I walked the line. I felt so supported and loved in that moment.”

 

“What’s the earliest you’ve gotten up to go on a slackline adventure? Was it worth it?”

HEATHER:  It’s almost always worth it to get up early. I am an early riser, so it isn’t uncommon for a mission to start before sunrise. Most recently, I woke up at 4am this summer to get a sunrise highline session in before the sun came out. The forecast that day was 116 F, so it was really important to beat the heat that day!

Great perspective of Heather holding a shoulder stand    Photo by @photolohre

“How do you feel about the 1k + highlines, have you had a chance to walk on one, or do you care too?”

HEATHER:  The 1k+ highlines and highliners are outrageously inspiring. The longest line I have ever gotten on is only a fraction of 1k, at 1,000 feet long. While I am blown away by all of the effort those lines take to rig and walk, I choose to pursue the sport a little bit differently. I like to focus on longer lines (for me), on developing new tricks and growing with the freestyle highline movement.”


“Do you favor cats or dogs? Why?”

HEATHER:  Dogs. Cats are evil.”

Tippy toes

“What are the top 3 slackline/highline festivals or gatherings you like to go to?”

HEATHER: I haven’t attended many gatherings. I have gone to GGBY 7 of the past 8 years. I think festivals can be a great time to connect with the global community. I hope to go to Squamish, NAZHG, Gravatation, and Drill & Chill in the future.”

 

“After all your years of experience, do you still get scared on a highline? If so, what do you do to overcome that fear to keep getting after it?”

HEATHER:  I definitely still get scared. I was recently told that I have “OG Syndrome”…which made me laugh but probably has some truth. Being more associated as a “pioneer” of the sport, I sometimes find the massive progressions unattainable, even though the ability exists. I know the more I expose myself to the things I fear, the more comfortable I become and the more I can progress. I have found that whatever line I get on, I can do something to feel comfortable. Once I feel more comfortable, I can better try something that is difficult or scary.”

Beautiful setting for a walk

“Can you describe what the slacklife community means to you?”  

HEATHER:  My slackline community is my family. I don’t know another way to put it. My community is small, but super tightly woven into my life.”

 

“If you could have any design or pattern printed on your own personal line, what would it be?”

HEATHER: I would have a design with sunbeams of some sort. Being in the sun makes me so happy…a friend once called me solar powered because I get blue if I’m not in the sun every day.”

Slackfam celebration Photo by @tbanks44

With the sport of slacklining and highlining continuously growing, we are super stoked Heather Larsen is right there in the mix of it. She brings confidence, joy, and flare to the sport that help keep it unique. Her presence and contributions as an athlete in the slacklife are seen and appreciated. Much respect and big thanks once again to Heather for taking the time to participate in this interview.

To find out more about Heather and see more inspiring pictures and videos visit her Instagram @slacklarsen. If you want to learn more about some other inspiring athletes, check out our interviews with Friedi Kühne and Tricky Mickey Wilson.

Solid focus and flexibility Photo by @briidbget

Peace,

Buddy Thomas

 

 

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