Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Best line for tricks, fast to set up, wide webbing is easy to learn on.
Cons: Ratchet tricky to release, not durable and wears down webbing.
Best Uses: Tricklining, decent for surfing at longer lengths.
The Gibbon Surfline Slackline was the best trickline we tested and the one used in many trick contests (see video below). But if you are not using this for tricks, we would go with the Mammut Slackline that is a little more expensive but more versatile. The Gibbon Jibline is the shorter version of the Surfline (49 feet vs 98 feet), has a rubber coating for better traction, and costs $40 less. So if you don't need a long line, get the Jibline. Another option is the Gibbon Classic ($74), which is our top rated beginner slackline. Overall, it's hard to find a line that is better for tricks and more fun to walk than the Surfline.
Overall, if you are progressing with tricklining and you want a line with a decent amount of versatility in length and feel, the Gibbon Surfline is a great choice. Just be careful when tensioning and de-tensioning with a ratchet.
Check out our complete Slackline Review to see how this compared to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Gibbon has taken simplicity to a new level with their line of slacklines. We reviewed their two-inch-wide Surfline. It is a complete kit, so you won’t need to buy anything else to rig this line. As always, we do recommend tree protection when anchoring to trees: this is the only thing missing from the bag. The Gibbon lines were the only two-inch-wide slackline we reviewed, so they stands alone in this way. The low stretch webbing allows it to be rigged up to 98 feet long with a single ratchet. The feel of the line varies dramatically from strong and fast to soft and slow, depending on the length and tension of the line.
The Surfline is one of the most popular tricklines on the market today. At higher tensions, it has one of the fastest, strongest rebound speeds around. This means when you want to jump, the line really throws you. The new wave of tricks (butt bounces, chest bounces, etc.) can be thrown down comfortably on this line since the landing surface is double the width of a traditional one-inch-wide slackline. The Surfline wins the top spot for tricklining.
Setting up the Gibbon Surfline is an absolute breeze. There are only two parts to deal with – the ratchet and the line. Instructions are very easy to follow, even if you’ve never worked with this type of equipment before. A complete novice can rig this line successfully in less than seven minutes.
We really like that the width of the ratchet spool matches the width of the line. This allows the webbing to spool up fairly evenly as compared to other slackline kits sold with one-inch webbing and a two-inch ratchet.
The most significantly disappointing thing about the Gibbon Surfline is the tensioning device. The kit is sold with a long-arm, deeptooth ratchet, identical to those used for tie-down straps on freight trucks and boxcars. Although ratchets are perfect for holding down cargo, their use for tensioning slacklines is far from perfect.
The Surfline kit is shown to have a maximum tension of three tons on the Gibbon website, but we damaged the ratchet at around 2400 lbs. We tested multiple Surflines in our review process, and each had different issues. On one ratchet the handle bent. On another, the spool bent under the load of the line, causing the teeth to come out of alignment with the locking mechanism of the ratchet.
With the Surfline ratchet, we damaged the webbing the first time we detensioned (see image above). Detensioning the Surfline is abrupt and out of control. The edges of the ratchet are sharp. With repeated use at the same length, the ratchet abraded the line so much in the same spot that it was rendered unusable. We would love to see Gibbon add the same plastic spacers Mammut used on their ratchet. This would probably solve the problem entirely.
One other small complaint about the Surfline ratchet is the direction of pull on the ratchet. Most ratchets are configured so that you can put a foot against the tree to brace yourself while you pull, but the configuration of this ratchet makes it so you have to pull away from the line, rather than away from the anchor. This makes it difficult, sometimes impossible, to get good body position to pull hard on the ratchet.
Video of contest using the Jibline (little sibling of Surfline)
Promo Video for the Surfline
The Gibbon Jibline is half the length of the Surfline and made of the same material.
— Damian Cooksey
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 21, 2011
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