Three-Time World Champion Conquers Heat, Winds, and Heights to Cross 3,646 Meters of Water on a 1.9 cm Slackline.

July 10, 2024: Estonian slackline athlete and Hollywood stuntman Jaan Roose has made history as the first person to cross Italy’s Strait of Messina on foot. This strait, which separates Sicily from mainland Italy, was spanned by the longest slackline ever constructed, measuring 3,646 metres.

Jaan Roose performs during the Messina crossing in Villa San Giovanni, Italy on July 10, 2024 // Andrea Zaffaroni / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202407100822 // Usage for editorial use only //

Roose completed the journey in nearly three hours, surpassing the current World Record distance of 2,710 metres. However, a fall in the final 80 metres prevented him from officially setting a new World Record. Here is all you need to know:

– The Messina Strait, a narrow channel on the Mediterranean Sea, divides Italy’s Calabria region from the island of Sicily. For centuries, the notion of traversing this strait seemed as mythical as the legends described in Homer’s work The Odyssey, where sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis created dangerous whirlpools in these waters. However, Roose aimed to turn this dream into reality by slacklining between two iconic steel structures, the Pylons of Messina.

– Jaan Roose explained: “The strait possesses historical and cultural significance going back for thousands of years, as well as incredible natural beauty. Combine that with variable weather conditions and strong marine currents, and it offered a unique and meaningful opportunity to push the limits of slacklining.”

Jaan Roose performs during The Messina Crossing in Villa San Giovanni, Italy, July 10, 2024. // Matteo Mocellin / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202407100835 // Usage for editorial use only //

– On Wednesday, July 10, 2024, in the mainland city of Villa San Giovanni, Roose ascended to the anchor point on Santa Trada, a 265-metre tower that surpasses the height of Italy’s tallest skyscraper. At 08:45 am, he stepped onto the slackline to begin his crossing. This feat covered a distance longer than 30 football fields on a strip of webbed fabric only 1.9 cm wide.

– Finally, after walking the lowest stretch of the slackline, a daunting 100 meters above the water, Roose began the final stage: ascending 130 meters in elevation to the endpoint on Sicily’s Torre Faro tower, which he reached at 11:42 am.

– Just 80 meters before the finish, Roose fell off the slackline. Despite walking a distance surpassing the previous world record of 2,710 meters, the rules of the sportive discipline require a complete crossing without a fall to validate a new record. Consequently, his fall in the final stretch invalidated what would have been a remarkable new world record.

Jaan Roose performs during The Messina Crossing in Villa San Giovanni, Italy, July 10, 2024. // Matteo Mocellin / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202407100836 // Usage for editorial use only //

-A native of Estonia, thirty-two-year-old Jaan Roose is a three-time slackline world champion and the only athlete ever to complete a double backflip on a slackline. He has achieved numerous other firsts and world records, including completing the world’s longest single-building slackline in Qatar. His remarkable skills have been showcased in Hollywood films and stage performances, including Assassin’s Creed (2016) and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020). However, he had never attempted anything as audacious and demanding as the Messina Crossing.

– A slackline is a piece of equipment used in the sport of slacklining, where a person balances on a flat, narrow strip of webbing, typically made of Sk99 fibres, stretched tightly between two anchor points. This activity demands immense balance, focus, and coordination. Highlining, which involves slacklining at a significant altitude above the ground or water, is considered the pinnacle of the sport. During the three-hour crossing, Roose required not only extraordinary balance and concentration but also exceptional strength and stamina to withstand winds of up to 38 km/h and temperatures reaching 28°C.

– In highlining, fear, pain, and fatigue are constant companions. Roose spent over six months preparing for the Messina Crossing. His rigorous regimen included mental and physical training at the Red Bull Athlete Performance Center in Austria, meticulous equipment testing, and extensive practice on a training highline in Estonia.

Jaan Roose performs during the Messina Crossing in Villa San Giovanni, Italy on July 10, 2024 // Gabriele Seghizzi / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202407100817 // Usage for editorial use only //

– An eight-person team, including Roose, set up the slackline with meticulous care. The process involved a helicopter carrying a pilot rope to guide the slackline into place, marking the longest in history. The line was then tensioned using a custom-built winch system.

– After the incredible feat Roose revealed: “I feel ‘Jaantastic,’ I am super happy, a bit tired and worn out. But guys, I made history! I walked 3.6 kilometres across the Strait of Messina! It was a long walk, full of surprises from start to finish, I had some difficulties, but the weather was good! I expected more wind.”

– Jaan Roose crossing the Messina Strait was broadcast live on both Red Bull TV and the Red Bull YouTube Channel, featuring exclusive footage and behind-the-scenes insights into Roose’s incredible highlining journey. These broadcasts showcased the preparation, challenges, and triumphs of this historic feat, offering viewers an in-depth look at the making of his achievement.


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