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Samar Farooqui pioneered Slacklining and Highlining in India

Samar Farooqui pioneered Slacklining and Highlining in India

Samar Farooqui pioneered Slacklining and highlining in India. Perhaps India’s most famous slackliner, righteous so as he holds the current freesolo record of India and is India’s best freestyle highline athlete as well a GoPro India ambassador. He has been sharing and spreading his passion for slacklining for over a decade. From his talent being showcased on TV shows to teach celebrities to teaching underprivileged kids or uncoordinated adults. Samar has done it all. This is your opportunity to come learn the art of balance with him.

Here is Samar Farooqi in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.

1) How did your journey begin?

Having a previous inclination to adventure travel and sport, I was introduced to slacklining through my outdoor mentor and ex-boss on an adventure trip to a beach outside Mumbai. I began and practised this as a hobby for three years. When I had to choose a professional career path for myself after completion of my education in Adventure Tourism Management from New Zealand, I figured I should convert my passion into my profession, after all, I had already chosen to do that when I enrolled for education in Adventure Tourism. 

2) Who has been your inspiration?

In the field of Slacklining, Dean Potter (R.I.P) and Andy Lewis have been people I looked up to. To this day some of my dream project that I am working towards are things they have already done. In other walks of life there are others I look up to. I am inspired by the words of Mandela, Gibran. 

There is inspiration all around us: from the common labour man who toils heedlessly to the mother who tends to her family and her home. 

3) Tell us about your journey of becoming India’s best freestyle Highline athlete.

This has been a windy road, initially, I was India’s best trickling, and freestyle highlining as a sport didn’t exist. Initially, there wasn’t any competition for me in Slacklining in India as there were hardly a few people practising the sport across the country. So anything I did at that point in India, I was the best in India which feels great and is a great bragging point,  but from a global standpoint, my skillset was perhaps above average at best. The sport is so new and evolving across the globe that there are new pathways within this sport. The journey has been a natural evolution of my skills as per my personal inclinations to practice the sport. All of this has been with an intention to keep India at par with the rest of the world as the sport evolves and at the same time keep myself evolving to the best of my abilities as I pass through time and experiences. 

4) How did you become the Indian ambassador of GoPro?

In 2017, I was going to Lebanon, to teach slacklining to Syrian Refugee kids along with an organization called Crossing Lines. I was carrying some 30 kgs of slackline equipment for the same which didn’t allow me much room for carrying a camera to capture memories. So I reached out to a friend of mine who is a GoPro ambassador, asked him if I could borrow a camera from him or if he can connect me. He was kind enough to connect me with GoPro and they were kind enough to give me a camera. This is how the relation started, I’ve been with them for a few years now.  

5) How has been the experience of sharing and spreading your passion for slacklining?

Good, bad and everything in between. Balanced. 

6) Which has been your most memorable project?

There are a few, from the Between Years Highline Festival to the Crossing Lines and teaching kids in Lebanon, every project has its own special place for its own special reasons. The Project in M.P. Bedaghat where we shot for Mercedes Benz was quite nice. It was great to work with an adventure director of an international reputation. 

7) How and when did you showcased your talent on TV shows?

Numerous times, from India’s Got talent (twice) to another TV show called I Can Do That and a time or two with MTV as well. 

8) What are your upcoming projects?

Currently working towards four projects – 
1) an India record for the first BASE line of India. 
2) A world record of a highline between two hot air balloons
3) A CSR project to spread slacklining in India and to youth at risk and underprivileged kids and communities4) Spreading and popularizing slacklining in India

9) What advice would you give to the aspiring slacklining and highlining athlete?

Keep going. And remember that If you want to have an omelette, you gotta break some eggs. Don’t be afraid to put in hard work and remind yourself that you’re a lot more durable, strong and better than you give yourself credit for. Your self imposed limitations of today do not define you. 

10) How was life in quarantine? 

Absurd. Difficult at times. Lockdown didn’t allow me to train and head out for adventures as I would have normally. But at some point when the country opened up, I did manage to scrape in a bunch of adventures. It is still not easy as most of my previous sources of income as a professional slackliner and performer have been put on hold due to Covid-19. So it is a struggle sill But it’s the struggle that makes it worthwhile and interesting. 

In this quarantine, we’ve managed to finally produce slacklines in India after 7 years of work. making the sport more accessible to aspiring slackliners in India. Finally, we don’t have to pay ridiculous import duty and taxes to practice the sport in India. Making it more affordable for the next generation to continue with the sport and perhaps shine brightest in the world one day. People looking for a slackline can acquire one in India on 

PICTURE CREDITS : Samar Farooqui | Slacklife Inc


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About The Author

Anirudh Chandel

| Lawyer | Writer | Traveller | Footballer |

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