Q + A with Mickey Wilson — Trickline Extraordinaire

Jumping On Line With Tricky Mickey Wilson

3 Time World Slackline Champion

In the slackline world there are many forms of slacklining. Such as rodeolining, longlining, waterlining, midlining, highlining, and tricklining. Each possesses their own set of challenges and variations. However, tricklining is unique in that it uses a 2″ line under extremely high tension. The high tension is generated with a ratchet and creates a bouncy trampoline-like effect with the slackline. It also creates a playground for slackliners of all ages to get their trick on.

Mickey Wilson getting tricky in Campeche, Mexico

The tricks and combos that people are doing today are simply astounding. I’m stoked to share with you a quick interview with one of the top athletes in the tricklining scene, Mickey Wilson. Big shout out to Mickey for taking the time to answer these question, and giving us an opportunity to take a few steps in his shoes.

Mickey is a fun and happy guy who loves to play and explore his limits. He took 1st place at multiple high level competitions including Natural Games 2014, Red Bull Baylines 2015, and Red Bull Airlines 2015, where he was up against world class competitors. You may have also seen Mickey featured in countless tricklining and highline video projects, or in the daring rescue he was recognized for earlier this year, but we wanted to learn a bit more about his love for the sport of slacklining and where his inspiration comes from.

A great shot of Mickey Wilson at the @riverlanddubai show. Photo taken by @filseaton_photography

 

An Interview With Mickey Wilson

“Who have been your biggest influences in the slackline community and why?”

MICKEY: “Josh Beaudoin, Andy Lewis.

I hated slackining for the first two years I tried it.  Then I saw Josh Beaudoin do a backflip on a line in Golden, CO. That was the moment I got hooked on slacklining. Without that chance encounter I probably would have just kept skiing and kayaking. Andy Lewis and his mastery of the multiple disciplines of the sport inspired me to try to do it all as well. Trickline, highline, and adventure!”

 

“Why have you gravitated towards tricklining as your main slackline expression?”

MICKEY: “It’s what I’m best at. I grew up with a trampoline and have always been good at flips and spins. I love to highline too though.”

Mickey playing on a beautiful highline. Photo by Daniel Milchev

“What are the most useful tips or insights you’ve learned, that you would share with a beginner trickliner?”

MICKEY: “Get two ratchets and a soft release from Gibbon Slacklines. Get a good place to train with some pads and get some good friends to train with. Keep leveling up.”

“When you are creating trickline combos and transitions for competitions, what’s your process? What are the key ingredients for a great trickline flow?”

MICKEY: “Slow, safe, progression.  Learn the building blocks of a trick before attempting it.”

“How has saving a man’s life, changed your life?” *

MICKEY: “Hmmmm, I guess for one thing, I have a great new, life long friend / ski buddy. Also it gave me a feeling of affirmation regarding all the time I’ve spent goofing around on slacklines.”

* Not only an amazing athlete, Mickey is an amazing human being. You may have heard about his heroism saving a man’s life early last year on an Arapahoe Basin chairlift. If not, check out this article for more info.

“What’s your personal record for highline and longlines? Do you have a preference between the two?”

MICKEY: “My longest longline is 720 feet. My longest highline is 500 feet. Highline is by far my favorite since it’s actually a lot safer than longlining.”

Tricky Mickey doing flips in Campeche, Mexico.

“Is there anything in the slacklife community you would like to see change? If so, what?…and how would you like to see this change happen?”

MICKEY: “I’d like to see more of the professionals make a better living at it. I find it hard to make decent money at it when many great slackliners out there are offering to do jobs for little-t0-no pay. It takes a lot of time effort and personal money to get really good at slacklining and that should be reflected in the wages we make.”

 

“With the bar constantly being pushed higher by the slackline community, how do you keep current and fresh?”

MICKEY: “Its super hard. At this point it’s impossible to be at the top level in multiple disciplines. Highline or trickline but not both. I am trying to focus on my own thing and not pay too much attention to the bar set by others.”

 

“Do you think tricklining or slacklining of any kind will ever make it to the Olympics?”

MICKEY: “Yes absolutely. Balance beam is in the Olympics. Trampoline is in the Olympics. Slackline is a balance beam made of trampoline like material so there you go, enough said.”

Mickey highlining . Photo by Daniel Miichev

“What has been your wildest adventure, due to your slacklife lifestyle?”

MICKEY: “Too many to pick one. Slacklining over Etna volcano in Sicily one day and then winning Red Bull Airlines two days later was pretty rad. Doing a slackline show for the prince of Dubai at his skydiving spot with Gappai and Yukimi was rad. Using my slack skills to climb a ski lift and cut down a strangling man in the morning, skiing pow all afternoon and the following morning, then appearing in Good Morning America, The Today Show, Inside Edition the next morning, and then on the Ellen Show two weeks later was a wild ride. Slacklining between the rooftops of Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas was a dream.  Having my wedding with Purple on our Star net in the fruit bowl last August was the best day of my life! Last but definitely not least was 21 days in the Grand Canyon with my dad, Purple and 7 friends setting up the first ever slacklines over the Colorado River across the Grand Canyon.”

 

“How do you see the sport of tricklining, evolving in the next 5-10 years?”

MICKEY: “Either towards gymnastics where every routine is planned in advance and the level is so high that triples with double spins are routinely thrown, or more hopefully towards something like skateboarding where style and creativity is the most important factor.”

Mickey doing a double drop knee at Lava Falls in the Grand Canyon

“Do you have any Trickline goals you are currently working on, or that are coming up? Specific moves, combos, or locations to visit?”

MICKEY: “Yes but it’s secret hahahahaha. I would love to get a trickline highline competition over an airbag–or a net organized as well.”

 

“In what ways have tricklining, slacklining, and highlining changed your life? For better, or for worse?”

MICKEY: “Mostly for the better. I’ve met the most amazing people through slacklining. The community is just full of good people simply put. I met my wife Purple through slacklining and that’s the best thing that ever happened to me. The bad is that I have totally neglected my bachelors and masters degrees in physics and solar energy. I could be helping save the world from itself right now but instead I’m still in love with the wobbly flat rope called a slackline.”

 

“Is there anything you want the slackline community to know about you or anything you would like to share?”

MICKEY: “That I also love to ski, kayak, mountain bike, skateboard, climb, Hacky sack, poi, kendama and skydive.  That I have a masters degree in physics, so I’m always up for a science chat. That I hope all your slackline dreams come true.”

Great still shot of Mickey doing a backflip at @arapahoe_basin taken from a video recorded by @slacklinepurple 

Never slacklined before? Check out our free E-Guide: Slacklining for Complete Beginners. It’s packed full of useful information for complete beginners.

Already a slackliner and ready for more? Check out our Slackline Conditioning Membership.

 

Peace,

Buddy Thomas

 

 

 

P.S. Here’s a sweet video featuring Mickey Wilson and friends, by Devinsupertramp. To learn more about Mickey Wilson, check out his website and his Instagram @trickymickeywilson.

 

 

 

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