I have known Jason for a couple of years now. A simple man with complexity throughout his being. He lives out his passions. Living the “dirtbag” lifestyle, his life is about sharing his stoke with everyone around him. The cool thing is that his stoke not just feeds the stoke of others, but quite literally improves the lives of others. How? Read on and watch my interview with Jason.
What is SlackTech?
SlackTech is a company devoted to slacklining. We were founded in May of 2013 literally in a campground, the Smith Rock State Park Bivouac to be exact. It was a result of being frustrated with the systems and hardware available for slacklining. Because our initial group consisted of a ragtag group of slackers, climbers, and general dirtbags, we had a lot of time to sit and complain about how we thought things should be. Eventually, we got to the point of saying, “let’s freaking do something about it!” Luckily, our rag-tag group of slackers, climbers, and dirtbags also had education and professional experience in manufacturing engineering, product design, machining, advanced physics, computer programming and some of that legal stuff. We figured we knew enough collectively to make things work.
We have grown into a worldwide leader in providing technical slackline gear, rigging expertise and insights to the SlackLife. Come back any time to drop us a line and to fuel up on stoke!
I can selfishly say that SlackTech was created so that I could share my enthusiasm and unique skill-set with as many people as possible. Additionally, I aspire to provide resources to the growing slackline community to safely practice every facet of slacklining. I have developed a passion for sharing and educating people that are seriously interested in pursuing slacklining. How I became this way is best a story told over a beer but, the following is a little insight into my journey, prepare for a mini bio.
Early in life, I wasn’t that great of a student. I would focus on what I was into and school was, whatever. At the age of 7, I was building competition quality slot cars with my dad, John Fautz (anybody remember slot cars?). By 14, I had saved enough money to purchase my first real car, a 1969 VW Beetle and almost completely overhauled it by the time I was 16. It got a big motor (which I had to rebuild a few times because I kept blowing it or its replacement up), new interior, upgraded suspension and dreams of a nitrous oxide fuel injection system (I wanted enough horsepower break the rear end lose shifting into 4th; I mean doesn’t everybody want that in a 1,700 lb vehicle?). Unfortunately, my parents didn’t go for the nitrous system.
“I wanted enough horsepower to break the rear end loose shifting into fourth!”
My hands on approach to life got me a job as a carpenter during my first years of college. At 19, I was exposed to rock climbing, slacklining, and product design and development. I attended the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and obtained a bachelor of science in Industrial Technology. These were very formative years because not only did I get a technical education as applied to manufacturing and product development, but I was also introduced to a technical outdoor lifestyle that fit my attitude and outlook wonderfully.
Armed with a full-fledged college degree I went out to get the job of my dreams… That didn’t happen, but I did get a pretty awesome opportunity. I started working for Gallo Glass Company doing new product development and project management with the largest family-owned winery in the world, Gallo Winery. And as fortune would have it, the job was in Modesto, Ca. Only 2.5 hours from Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. If I wasn’t working, I was playing on rock with ropes or training and studying for it. A few years into it, I got romanced by the outdoor dirtbag lifestyle, quit my job, sold almost everything I owned and moved into my VW Vanagon for a little more than a year and a half. During which time I traveled along the west coast and to Europe seeking adventures on rock. I also got my first real exposure to the bolder side of slacklining. Prior to that, slacklining was just a fun cross-training activity for rock climbing. But that initial experience with Brian Mosbaugh and a 150 ft slackline with 6 ft high anchors, planted the seed for what would soon become an obsession.
“If I wasn’t working, I was playing on Rock with ropes or training and studying for it.”
As time went on, my slackline gear stash along with physical abilities grew as the dollars in my bank account became few. I ran out of money and had to find another job. I landed in Seattle and started working for an aerospace company outside the city. We made composite interior and structural components for various commercial and non-commercial aerospace companies. My role there was to design and modify assembly processes and procedures as well as teach Lean manufacturing principles to employees. During lunch, I would go out for a quick slackline session and fantasize about the outdoor life I used to have.
“That initial experience with Brian Mosbaugh and a 150 ft slackline with 6 ft high anchors, planted the seed for what would soon become an obsession.”
It happened about a year into the job… I made the choice and was back on the road, heading to Mexico. Drastic life changes sometimes have unintended consequences, but they can also create unexpected opportunity. After a few weeks of travel, I landed at Smith Rock and started the company shortly after. It started with the idea of creating and manufacturing the most innovative webbing anchor ever made. Once accomplished, the SlackTech online store was created which now offers multiple unique SlackTech products, rigging resources and anything and everything needed for rigging slacklines.
Long story made short, I’ve aged to 31 years and we’re here today, collaborating with Rigging Lab Academy. We aim to educate, collaborate and innovate. As we continue down that path, I hope you learn a thing or two while at the same time take a moment to share with another.
– Jason Fautz