Take A Dive Into Friedi Kühne’s State Of Mind
Longest Free Solo Highline World Record Holder
In case you don’t know, Friedi Kühne is the current free solo highline world record holder, with an astonishing 110m send. You heard correctly! That’s a 110m walk across a highline in the South of France, without being leashed or tethered to the webbing. Mind you, this highline was approximately 200m above the ground, meaning one mistake could have resulted in a tragic fall to death. However, that day death was not in Friedi’s fate, instead it was more of a birth.
Not just the birth of a new record, but the birth of a new Freidi with a confirmed sense of self-trust. As he describes below, “Granting yourself this kind of a proof of trust is one of the best feelings I know.” I’ve included a link to the video at the bottom of the page, I recommend checking it out. Until then, enjoy this interview, 12 questions taking a peek into the world of Friedi Kühne.
An Interview With Friedi Kühne
“Who has been your biggest influence in the slackline community? Why?”
FRIEDI: “I can’t think of one single person who influenced me the most. I was inspired by and learned from a number of people. I learned a lot of my rigging skills from Bernd Hassmann, Alexander Schulz, Lukas Irmler and Jerry Miszewski. Julian Mittermaier has always been a great source of inspiration for tricks, pushing the surfing and just constantly play on the line and try new things. Andy Lewis and Spencer Seabrooke have to some extent inspired me to do my own thing and do what I want, not worrying too much about what other people might think. Nowadays I am very inspired by Mia Noblet and Pablo Signoret, simply in terms of believing in myself and pushing my limits while still enjoying every second on a highline.
It’s a neverending proces though. I still constantly learn from and am inspired by new people I meet on slackline festivals all over the world. Brazil, Russia, Iran, China…everywhere I see stoke and that stoke feeds my own stoke!”
“What does the slacklife mean to you? What does it represent?”
FRIEDI: “A lot of what I said above. Constant inspiration and pushing each other. Community gatherings and hospitality. For me personally, during the last couple of years of travelling, slacklife has almost become a synonym of international friendship and understanding. I firmly believe that Slacklining helps us to overcome prejudice and nourish mutual understanding and appreciation between cultures. Last but not least, I LOVE adventures and adrenaline rushes. Can’t have slacklife without that!”
“What are the most useful tips or insights you’ve learned that you would share with a beginner slackliner?”
FRIEDI: “Focus on the joy of every step. Don’t think too far ahead, FUCK SENDING. Don’t ever compare yourself to other people, only compare yourself to yourself in the past. Aim to fulfill your own potential, rather than being better than others. ”
“What attracts you to free soloing?”
FRIEDI: “Free Solo is a little bit like playing that game of trust, where you stand in front of your buddy and let yourself fall backwards, completely relying on them to catch you. Only you play that game entirely with yourself. Thus, I have never gotten to know myself as well before as on a Free Solo. It’s like a journey into your own mind from which you return so much stronger and wiser. Free Solo is pure and natural. You don’t rely on materials or knots to save your life if you fall. You only rely on your own skills. Granting yourself this kind of a proof of trust is one of the best feelings I know.”
“How old were you, when you first started slacklining? Highlining?”
FRIEDI: “I stood on my first slackline with 19 and on my first highline with 20.”
“Do you do any particular cross training for the slackline? If so, what do you do?”
FRIEDI: “I enjoy most forms of free and playful body movement, especially outdoors. When I don’t slackline I like to go swimming, skiing, climbing, mountaineering, cliff diving, or do parkour and freerunning. I try to do a few hours of calisthenics workout (pull-ups, push ups, squat variations, etc.) and yoga every week too. Yoga I think might be the most beneficial sport for slackliners to do. I have made serious progress on the line when I did more yoga.”
“Have you ever got a family member to slackline or highline with you? If so, who?”
FRIEDI: “I have gotten my two younger sisters and my mother to go out on a very short beginner highline with a toprope. My younger brother slid out on a real highline with a hangover together with me. Seeing these people that are dear to me overcome their initial fears and step out of their comfort zone made me super happy.”
“Where is your mind when your free soloing…what are you thinking about?”
FRIEDI: “On a Free Solo, I try to think about nothing but the next step and the movement of my body, my stance, my breath and so on. It doesn’t always work and sometimes my mind drifts off to stupid shit like dinner or stuff I have to do. But ultimately I aim towards that flow state where you don’t think but just do.”
“Do you think tricklining or slacklining of any kind will ever make it to the Olympics?”
FRIEDI: “Tricklining absolutely. Trick or freestyle highlining potentially in the far far future, but then with nets underneath instead of leashes.”
“How do you train through mental and physical fatigue?”
FRIEDI: “Again, aim towards a flow state. Also, in the past I have practised a lot for walking big highlines by walking short highlines and longlines back and forth for as long as I could.”
“How do you see the sport of highlining evolving in the next 5-10 years?”
FRIEDI: “I think it will continue to go in the same direction as it’s going right now, but eventually more linear. We’re probably pretty close to the peak, or the phase of the fastest growth in terms of popularity and skill level. Eventually there will be hundreds of people physically able to walk a 5km highline, but the challenge will be the rigging. I think the number of festivals and professional highline events will still increase a lot more too. There may be some dangers in that, but also tons of potential. Because after all, I am convinced highlining is good for people. We just gotta keep it sustainable ;)”
“Is there anything you want the slackline community to know about you or anything you would like to share?”
FRIEDI: “Just a huge thank you the community for being the way they are and for constantly inspiring me and keeping me stoked!”
There you go folks, I hope you enjoyed that quick and dirty interview. A big thank you to Friedi Kühne for taking the time to answer these questions and for being an amazing part of the slackline and highline history/future.
Be sure to follow his journeys on Instagram @friedikuehne. If you liked this blog, stay tuned because there are more interviews on the way. Thanks for reading and remember to check Friedi’s Free Solo walk below.
Free Solo Highline Video
PLEASE NOTE: Free soloing is a personal choice, and is very dangerous. We do not recommend or encourage anyone to free solo. It’s for trained professionals only. Serious injury or death could occur.
Never slacklined before? Check out our free E-Guide: Slacklining for Complete Beginners. It’s packed full of useful information for complete beginners.
To learn more about Friedi Kühne, check out his website at www.friedi-kuehne.de.