Gibbon Surferline Review
Cons: Not the most durable
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Surferline is a great kit that will please all but the most advanced slackers. The webbing is good for basic tricks and the long length is fun to walk or surf.
Ease of Set-up
The Gibbon Surferline, being as long and stretchy as it is, requires a stronger ratchet to tension. Instead of the normal 2" ratchet, the Surfline ratchet comes with an extended handle, allowing for more leverage. The 90+ foot strip of 2" webbing feeds nicely into the ratchet, as with all Gibbon lines, and with this special ratchet, getting a long, tight slackline should be no problem.
At double the length of its sister product the Gibbon Jibline, it is amazing how easy it is to set up and tension the Surfline with one person at heights only a few feet off the ground. The much-improved ratchet system with an incorporated safety lock makes this line extremely easy to set up and does a much better job of preventing the line from catching and getting torn in the gears of the ratchet than earlier versions of this line.
The Surfline was not the most versatile of the lines we tested, but at 90+ feet and with the option to set up short, long, tight, or loose, the Surfline does provide some flexibility in how and where you use the line. The webbing has more stretch than the Gibbon ClassicLine, and while not as stretchy as more traditional lines that come with 1" military spec or climbing grade webbing, this in-between level of stretch allows it to be used for walking, static balance poses, surfing and flowing, as well as aerial tricks. From 30 to 60+ feet, the Surfline can be cranked extremely tight. Setup longer and left a little on the loose side, the Surfline offers a challenging line to walk and experiment with to build core, center your focus, and push your concentration and skill to the limit.
Although good for several things, the Surfline is mainly a bouncy trick-line. One thing that it is especially not is a travel line. With a larger ratchet and such a long piece of 2" webbing, this line is bulky and not easy to travel with. For those on the go, we highly recommend considering a more primitive setup.
The Surfline has about average quality. One of the biggest problems with this and other 2" lines that use a ratchet tensioning system is the tendency for the line to drift to one side of the drum when tensioning, so when it's released, the webbing can rub on the edge of the metal walls, often resulting in the line fraying. We saw a tiny bit of wear after our testing, but we were also very careful to keep slackline centered in the drum as we tensioned, which worked pretty well.
That said, overall, the Surfline is of high quality. We understand that sometimes there is a tradeoff between durability and longevity of a product with performance, and the Surfline provides an excellent example of this. A thicker, more durable line would not perform as desired.
Like with any ratchet based slackline kit, disassembly can be a little intimidating. They release with a loud "snap!", sometimes more violently than others, but depending on how tight the line is set, and maybe a little luck, this line can be taken down with minimal pop.
The Surfline is a complete slacklining kit and comes with everything needed to set up and enjoy it. Unfortunately, aside from the basics, the Surfline does not offer much more in the way of features. Other products from Gibbon and other manufacturers offer adjustable tree anchors, ratchet padding, rubberized coatings for more grip, longer anchor slings for larger trees, and more. The Surfline, however, is unique in its longer length and extended lever ratchet system.
This kit came with tree pro, but we found the length of 40 inches not long enough for most of the trees available, so we borrowed from other kits that had longer pads.
Gibbon is clearly proud of this slackline, but we think the price is pretty high when compared to some others in our test that had the same feel as the Surferline. While the length of this may increase the value in your eyes, we feel the price could have been a bit lower.
Walking the Surferline is great fun. The webbing has a ton of reactivity and feels alive under your feet, especially when set up long. Set it up tight, and it's a blast, but start slow because this thing can launch you if you aren't careful. This line is also reasonably durable despite having thin webbing, as long as you take great care to keep the webbing aligned when tensioning and disassembly.
— Adam Paashaus