LAAX Highline World Championships

On July 17-21th 2024 the World Championships in highlining will take place again! The event is held in Laax, Switzerland at the legendary GALAAXY on the summit of Crap Sogn Gion.

There will be a total of approximately 42 athletes (16f/26m). The athletes compete gender-separated in the disciplines of Freestyle and Speed Highline.

There will be a live stream and professional media coverage of the event. Onsite there is no entrance fee for spectators, only the cable car ride to the top must be purchased.

Donate – Travel Fund for South Americans

Bring the South Amercian Athletes to the LAAX Highline World Championships.

Help by donating, this makes a huge difference for them! The funds are split evenly amongst the athletes and judges from South America.

Destination & Host

Program

Central European Summer Time (CEST), UTC +2

  • 17.07. – Wednesday
    • 10 – 21:00 – Warmup
  • 18.07. – Thursday – details soon
    • 07 – 21:00 – Qualification
  • 19.07. – Friday – details soon
    • 10 – 13:00 – Finals Speed All
    • 14 – 18:30 – Quarterfinals Freestyle All
  • 20.07. – Saturday – details soon
    • 10 – 12:00 – Semi Finals Freestyle All
    • 12 – 14:30 – Finals Freestyle All
    • 14:30 – Podium
  • 21.07. – Sunday – details soon
    • backup day, in case of bad weather

Infos for Visitors

For visitors, friends and family who would like to stay at the top of Crap Sogn Gion during the event, you can book your stay in the Destination here.

Location of Event

Infos for Athletes

Qualified Athletes
Freestyle Female

Title Defender: Louise Lenoble, FR

  • Taylor St. Germain, CA
  • Carmen Schillingmann, DE
  • Salomé Cholet, FR
  • Florentina Fink, DE
  • Cecilia Stock, DE
  • Delaney Lyman, US
  • Deborah Casimirio Fernandez, SP
  • Annalisa Casiraghi, IT
  • Kara Ratcliff, US (Wild Card Winner)
Freestyle Male

Title Defender: Davis Hermes, USA

  • David Palomo Echevarrieta, SP
  • Alexian Masson, FR
  • Emil Breuer, DE
  • Ian Eisenberg, US
  • Sebastian Egger, DE
  • Joshua Leupolz, DE
  • Joaquin Neira, CL
  • Nahuel Calderon, CL
  • Sascha Grill, DE
  • Carlo Cozzio, IT
  • Gonzalo Caturelli, AR
  • Lucas Clemente, BR
  • Clément Droy, FR (Wild Card Winner)
Speed Female

Title Defender: Tania Monier, FR

  • Cecilia Stock, DE –
  • Erika Sedlacek de Almeida, BR
  • Annalisa Casiraghi, IT –
  • Mia Noblet, CA
  • Paloma Hess, BR (Wild Card Winner)
Speed Male

Title Defender: Benoit Humm, FR

  • Sascha Grill, DE –
  • Matheus Vidal, BR
  • Daniel Laruelle, BE
  • Joshua Leupolz, DE –
  • Diego Soriano, MX
  • Jef Cox, BE (Wild Card Winner)
  • Michael Torrealba, VE (Wild Card Winner)
  • HaiLin Shi, CN (Wild Card Winner)
Freestyle & Speed – Best qualified Swiss
  • Tim Odermatt, NW, CH
  • Samuel Volery, ZH, CH
  • Zoe Sprüngli, GE, CH
  • Richard Schupisser, ZH, CH
  • Ramun Tomaschett, GR, CH
  • Mélanie Béguelin, NE, CH
  • Dyan Enghard, BE, CH
Qualified Athletes who declined participation
  • Dylan Bennett, NZ
  • Kasia Tschopp, GR, CH
  • Raphael Bacot, VD, CH
Wild Card Rankings

Seeding, Qualification, Wildcards

Freestyle Highline

Seeding

Highline Freestyle is still a really young sport discipline with only a handful of competitions taking place every year. The ISA Sport Commission, together with the Laax 2024 Judges and Organization tried to find fair qualification criteria for the second LAAX Highline World Championships. 

Since there are, for the moment, more male than female athletes competing on a top level, there will also be more male athletes invited to compete. 

Automatic Qualification

As qualification criteria the results of the ISA ranking list’ 3 year ranking, which takes into account all the results of the relevant competitions around the world. In contrast to 2022, there were no specific qualifying events considered. Furthermore the best Swiss Athletes are automatically qualified – due to the competition taking place in Switzerland and the audience onsite being mostly Swiss.

Wild Cards

What does the Wild Card include?

  • 2 Train tickets / Transports within Switzerland 
  • Food and Accommodation during the competition
    We do NOT provide flight tickets with the wildcard. However we will support individual athletes if they cannot afford to pay the whole ticket.   

Who and How has the decision been made

Six Judges for LAAX 2024 have already been selected, they decided who got the wildcards. For freestyle they aplied the judging system used during the competition.

If you have questions regarding the wild card selection contact wildcard@swiss-slackline.ch

Speed Highline and Combination

Seeding

To show the full spectrum of highline competitions out there, and due to a growing trend, we will, besides freestyle highline, also hold a speed highline competition on the same lines (50m section on a 100m webbing). The speed competition will for the first time also be gender seperated. All athletes are invited to compete in Freestyle and Speedline competitions and there will be further prize money for the male and female combination winners.

Automatic Qualification

Since more athletes focus on freestyle compared to speedline, the majority of the invited athletes will be freestylers and only few are primarily speedliners. Also in this case, we aim to invite the strongest athletes from the ISA ranking list. Furthermore the best Swiss Athletes are automatically qualified – due to the competition taking place in Switzerland and the audience onsite being mostly Swiss.

Wild Cards

What does the Wild Card include?

  • 2 Train tickets / Transports within Switzerland 
  • Food and Accommodation during the competition
    We do NOT provide flight tickets with the wildcard. However we will support individual athletes if they cannot afford to pay the whole ticket.   

Who and How has the decision been made

Six Judges for LAAX 2024 have already been selected, they decided who got the wildcards. For freestyle they aplied the judging system used during the competition.

If you have questions regarding the wild card selection contact wildcard@swiss-slackline.ch

Prize Money

The  prize money will be equally split between first three ranks of the female and male athletes. Further, it was important to us to distribute the available prize money between more athletes than just the first three in each category to help and motivate more athletes in this young sport.

Prize Money is shown in Swiss Francs (CHF). There will be a Swiss Tax (10-15%) substracted from this.

Prize money freestyle highlining:

Rank12345678
Male


1000600300200100100100100
Female

1000600300200100100100100

Prize money speed highlining:

Rank12345678
Male


1000600300200100100100100
Female

1000600300200100100100100

Prize money combination (freestyle & speed):

Rank1
Male


300
Female
300

Total Prize Money CHF 10’600

Judges

We selected five experienced freestyle judges to guarantee a fair competition.

  • Augustin Moinat, CA
  • Oscar Defoor, BE
  • Isidro Rocua, CL
  • Axel Weber, DE
  • Rory Stephenson, NZ

The headjudge for speed is

  • Watson Wu, TW

Assistant judges

  • Rebekka Karrer, DE
Contest regulations

Please find the details here

Communication & Media

The event will be professionally recorded and distributed. In addition to the production of a TV segment for news stations, various clippings for social media, shorts for train stations, airports, etc. will be created. A 2-day live stream with multiple commentators will be produced on site.

Social Media

For more social media content visit:


Partnerships

Thanks for the support!

If you would like to be a partner at a future event, please contact us.

Sponsors

Fair, practical and cosy. Hammocks and more since 1996 from Bali
Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Organisers

The organization of the World Championship is managed by a cooperation of the following federations and clubs:

Main Organiser
Further Organisers

Host & Location


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


Event size and Organizers
What defines a World Championship?

A World Championship is the highest level competition in our sport, the best athletes are qualified and invited. The event has to be managed by a local member or partner organization of the ISA who is also responsible for managing and funding the event. 

Here are some of the ISA criterias for World Championships:

  • The best international athletes should be present
  • A minimum of 17 Athletes must participate (11 male/ 6 female) per discipline
  • A minimum of 60% international participation from at least 3 continents
  • Professional judging
  • Besides prequalification through the Ranking List there needs to be an open seeding (Wildcard) for athletes to join
  • A minimum 3 day event length with training, qualifications and finals
  • A minimum of 5000 Euro prize money per discipline
  • The finals must be video recorded and there must be a live feed
  • The event needs to be communicated at least 6 months in advance

Source and details

Who are the organizers behind the Laax Highline World Championships 2024?

The LAAX Highline World Championships 2024 are organized on a volunteer basis by an associations called Swiss Slackline Sport, represented by Thomas Buckingham (CEO) and assisted by Nina Mappes (COO). The event is further supported by the Swiss Slackline Federation, Swiss Highline, Grischa Slack and the ISA Sport Commission.


Rules and Judging
How are rules and regulations written for this competition?

With these world championships we are at the forefront of the professionalisation of two new disciplines (speed and freestyle highline), constantly rethinking and revising on how to make our sport better, fairer and safer. Such rules and regulations have to comply with local prerequisites, such as the spot and the event budget distribution. Against this background the rules keep developing and changing.

There is only a small group of volunteers, working constantly, holding dozens of meetings,  revising and improving the rules and regulations. The contest regulation document is now three years old and has been revised approximately 10 times, the second version has just been published in its 4th revision (v2.3). Little is set in stone, feedback is given on a daily basis by judges, athletes and of course the wider public. We take all constructive inquiries seriously and adapt the regulations where the overall quality and fairness is improved:

Changelog

  • Version 2, Oct 2023: Shared publicly online and with the qualified Athletes
  • Version 2.1, Nov 2023: Freestyle: Change in combo scoring, clarification for best trick. Various small improvements.
  • Version 2.2, Jan 2024: Change of Warmup time before freestyle rounds and improved time management. Various small improvements and wording.
  • Version 2.3, Jan 2024: Change of Prize Money to be the same for Speed and Freestyle. Change of Prize Money distribution.
How were the judges selected?

The judges have been nominated by the Swiss Slackline Federation and were approved by the ISA Sport Commission. No internationally recognised judging system, judging education or qualification exists thus far. They have been under development for many years but are not ready yet. There are several competing judging systems for different slackline disciplines, which are being developed by small groups and organizations, the ISA Sport commissions keeps evaluating these on a constant basis.

The current ISA criteria requires professional judging for world championships which necessitates selecting judges with prior judging experience. Secondary to that criteria we aim to select the most diverse judging team possible.

With that criteria in mind we are yet to appoint a female judge primarily because high-level female representation in our sport is still growing and the pool of judging candidates is essentially identical to the pool of invited athletes. At this stage appointing a female judge would mean removing a top-level female athlete from the competition.

In order to foster an environment where more female judges can grow, we have invited two inexperienced female judges who chose not to compete as athletes as apprentices for the Freestyle Highline Competition who also acts as Assistant Judges with Speed Highline.

Why do women and men not compete against each other in the same category?

There is an undeniable gap between the level of female and male competitors. If we would not separate by gender, women would not have the opportunity to showcase their talents. All high level female athletes we know of heavily advocate for a separate gender category and have fought for this during past mixed competitions (such as for example during the mixed speed highlining competition in Laax 2022). Not separating into gender categories clearly demotivates females to participate and makes it unfair. Fairness here stands above equality in our opinion.

In what case did wild card submissions get disqualified? 

Judges disqualify applicants whose submissions do not comply with the wild card regulations.

Regulations Freestyle Highline: 

  • 1 unedited video of 1 min length with best combos 
  • 1 edited video of 1 min length with whatever else you would like to show

Regulations Speed Highline:

  • 1 video showing the fastest time walking on a 50m segment of a highline. 
  • Two contacts of people who can confirm the stated performance in the event that there is sufficient doubt in the submitted time or distance. Another two contacts are requested in case of doubt.

To date only one disqualification has been made, in the category of speed highline. Several judges raised doubts on the stated distance and attempts to confirm the distance via provided contacts led to varying lengths which differed considerably. This made it impossible for the Judges to assess, compare and therefore accept the submission.

Why was the disqualified speedliner not on the wildcard ranking list

In the published ranking graphic of all wildcard submissions the disqualification was not mentioned, we apologize, it simply was forgotten by our graphics department and overseen in our review process, being at the bottom of the list. We are sorry for this communication hiccup. The Athlete remains disqualified and we stand by this judgment.


Athlete selection
How were the athletes selected? 

The female and male winners of the Highline Championships of 2022 in Freestyle, Speed Highline and Combo (Freestyle&Speed) are automatically qualified to defend their World Championship titles.

The ISA Ranking list then is the basis for the vast majority of selections. It takes into account all results of relevant slackline competitions around the world within the last three years at the cutoff date of the 31. of Oct 2023. 

The ranking list guarantees a transparent selection and ensures athletes have proven their ability to perform in competitions. The ranking is based on summing up an athlete’s two best competition performances at relevant, larger competitions from the past 3 years.

In addition to ranking list qualifications we make a smaller number of selections via Wild Cards, for newcomers/rookies or athletes which have yet to join competitions and therefore have not made it into the ISA ranking list. This process began on the 1. Nov 2023 and ended on the 20th of December 2023. The results were published mid January 2024.

In addition, the best Swiss Athletes were automatically qualified, because the competition takes place in Switzerland, the funding is solely from Switzerland and the public viewers and audience are mostly Swiss. Some Swiss athletes also have a double role, acting as active volunteers at the event helping with onsite organization, rigging, logistics and communication.

How do we define the total number of athletes invited? 

There are several factors which dictate the number of athletes we are able to invite include:

  • The event is limited to four days (+1 weather backup day, since wind and storms are possible at this time of the year)
  • The daylight window is limited, the conditions have to be the same for all, there is not sufficient artificial lighting available
  • The competition area is accessed via cable car with limited operating hours.
  • We must provide training and acclimatization sessions of about 40 min each (we are at 2263m asl), and qualification takes around 15 min per athlete
  • The cost of inviting and accommodating athletes (approx averaging at 1500 euros per athlete)

In 2022, 31 Athletes were present and we managed to complete the event within schedule (with perfect weather). Laax 2024 invitations have been increased to 42, this will be a huge challenge, requiring 18-20 hour work days over 4-5 days for the judges, organisation team and riggers. In the case of bad weather, the training and acclimatization time will be limited, unfortunately diminishing the quality of the athlete performances. In other words, every minute on the lines from the morning sunrise to evening is planned out during this event and there is simply not enough time to accommodate more athletes.

In established sports, national sports federations, regional and national governments and other institutions help pay for athletes’ travel/competition funding for large events. This is not the case for slacklining given that the structures around the world are not in place (yet) – this is a huge burden to cover for the organizers, since we want the best from around the world onsite.

Typically events of this magnitude in other sports also require a participation fee. We do not want money to be a hindering factor for joining and therefore do not impose any fees. On the contrary, in order to have the best slackliners present at the event, the organizers help with co-funding the travel of athletes who request assistance. For South Americans, who are at the largest financial disadvantage for such an event in Europe, a special crowdfunding is being initiated by the organizers, all the collected money from the crowdfunding will be proportionally distributed to the athletes and one judge from south america.

We invite the maximum number of athletes given our organizational constraints and we do not consider inviting extra athletes on the basis that they pay for their entry as this would disadvantage athletes without the means to do so.

Why are more male than female athletes invited? 

The number of male and female athletes invited to Laax is a reflection of the relative participation in our sport. That said, we deliberately invite a higher proportion of female athletes in an effort to support the ever increasing number of top-level female slackliners in our sport. There were 6 females who wanted to compete but did not qualify, on the other hand there were 24 males who did not make the cut but wanted to. The following numbers provide an overview of the relative selection per discipline:

Freestyle Highline

Gender/TypeRegistered AthletesInvited%
Male ranking list202136%
Female ranking list74912%
Male wildcard5120%
Female wildcard3133%

Speed Highline

Gender/TypeRegistered AthletesInvited%
Male ranking list19474%
Female ranking list36514%
Male wildcard22314%
Female wildcard5120%


Additionally a total of 7 swiss Athletes were invited: 5 male & 2 female

The athletes selected for one discipline can also take part in the other disciplines and many choose to do so in order to try to win the combo prize. There will therefore be more competitors than the numbers listed in the tables above in each discipline.

Summary

There are several ways to look at this, more generally and globally based on distribution of human males and females on the planet. It can also be looked at by an ideological equal metric for a specific sport. Furthermore from the perspective of the current situation and based on facts of gender distribution we currently find ourselves in. The views can also be mixed together.

In our community 75% males participate, shown by several pools. Check pages 88-89 and 24-26 here.

Furthermore in absolute and relative terms more males tend to participate in and train for competitions.

In the past often female participation at competitions was low and/or needed active encouragement to take place. Nowadays still several events hold mixed competitions, since there is not enough female participation (for example only 1-2 women participating).

In Laax 2022, in order to have 6 females onsite it needed encouragement by the organizers. On the other hand, there were lots of males who were declined.

Taking into consideration the relative numbers at a competition, a female athlete has a significantly higher chance of qualifying than a male athlete. We want to support female development in our sport whilst also giving a fair chance to the top athletes to qualify. 

From a visibility standpoint, the event will be live streamed, starting from the quarter finals. The screen time for men and women are the same. Women are often underrepresented in the media world of sport. So we are taking an important step towards more equality here. 

Broadcasting the event is not a direct source of income but on the contrary the largest expenditure of the event. It is a way of promoting our sport and the location in which the event takes place.


Prize Money
Do Freestyle Highliners get more prize money than Speed Highliners?

Historically yes. But as the amount of Speed Highliners and importance of the discipline has grown significantly over the past 2 years, nicely reflected by the numerous wildcard entries. We have adjusted the prize money and Freestyle Highliners and Speed Highliners win the same amount of money. 

How will the prize be money divided between men and women? 

In Laax 2022, we made a compromise as there were significantly more male athletes than female. Together with the athletes, we decided to give the same amount of money to the podium places, as well as distributing some money further down the rankings. This money can be particularly helpful for athletes from countries outside of Europe with lower income. As there were much more male than female athletes (25m/6f), we put more money on the men’s ranking (from 4th place onward) but in relative terms, female competitors had a higher chance of winning prize money at the event in 2022 than their male competitors.

When revising the rules and regulations for Laax 2024 we did not yet adjust the prize money for the event. The increase in the number of active female athletes who want to compete led us to warrant a redistribution of the prize money. Given that the number of female/male athletes is much closer to even in Laax 2024 and the livestream screen time is the same, we will be awarding the same prize money for men and women. In order to make this possible we have also changed the balance in prize money between podium positions and finalists. Athletes who qualify to the quarter finals all get a base prize of CHF100, and podium and 4th place get more. The distribution is the same across all categories.

Freestyle Highline

Rank12345678
Male


1000600300200100100100100
Female

1000600300200100100100100

Speed Highline

Rank12345678
Male


1000600300200100100100100
Female
1000600300200100100100100

Combo (Freestyle and Speed)

Rank1
Male


300
Female
300

TOTAL: 10`600 CHF

Where does the funding for the prize money come from?

The prize money is funded by the Swiss Slackline Association through separate fundraising conducted in the freetime of some volunteers and not provided by our main sponsor LAAX.


Archive 2022

Pictures from 2022

Picture download. Images Copyright: Swiss Slackline