The Skyliners: balancing life – a thousand feet in the air
The Skyliners are a team of six French people who have found a way to balance and combine almost every single life-endangering sport in the world into one single extremely life endangering sport, more or less for their own amusement. Indeed, once you’ve seen what these guys do, you’ll agree that sports like skateboarding and surfing no longer truly deserve the prefix ‘extreme’.
Although Skyliners member and spokesman Tancrède Melet is keen to impress upon us that they’ll do anything for a thrill (“we also do skiing, ice climbing, paragliding, speed riding, sailing, kite surfing…“) the Skyliners primarily combine mountaineering, highlining (tight rope walking) and base-jumping more or less in that order: climb a very high mountain, walk between two peaks, hurl yourself into oblivion from the slackline you’ve just walked across. Think about that.
Tancrède explains the fun behind what he and his friends do: “You feel an incredible thrill when you walk a line on a very high mountain peak. Because, you know, most of the time, we walk on pavements.”
The notion of balance is important to the lifestyle the group lead, and not just while they’re thousands of feet up on a highline, standing on one leg. Recently a few of the guys felt the work/life balance in their lives weren’t quite right, and quit their Engineering jobs as they felt they were spending “too much time in front of a computer screen”, and took up their hobby full time. Initially they lived off savings, but the balance soon redressed itself and now they are funded by various sponsors.
Balance also plays a role when it comes to preparing for their expeditions and stunts, they rehearse and train a great deal, sounding out locations and planning meticulously “Lets just say we don’t forget our toothbrushes” chuckles Trancrède.
They made a film about their exploits called I Believe I Can Fly (which is available to download here) and since then the phone has been ringing off the hook. “After the movie was released, a lot of people and projects came up. There are a lot of projects, and it makes it kind of easy to fill empty time. So far in 2012, we planned two trips abroad, and a lot of projects at home: everything will be about pushing our own limits and discovering new horizons.”
But now Trancrède feels it’s time to redress the balance again: “recently we’ve ended up spending as much time on the computer as before, when we used to be engineers. So in fact, that's it, end of the indoor time: I need to go outside now, I think I'll go and jump from the top of a cliff.”
You can find the Skyliners on Facebook