Jaan Roose attempts to cross the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily via slackline on July 10, 2024.
© Matteo Mocellin/Red Bull

World's first: Roose's dramatic 3.6km slackline walk on the Messina Strait

The phenomenal Estonian slackliner traversed over 3,600m on a thin slackline from the Italian mainland to Sicily, with the final meters becoming especially intense.
By Agnes Aneboda
3 min readPublished on
Daring adventurer Jaan Roose set out to conquer what nobody had done before: walking the Messina Strait, a body of water that runs between the island of Sicily and mainland Italy, on a 1.9cm thin slackline. For the feat, the 32-year-old Estonian had to cover over 3,600m. On his way, he surpassed the previous longest slackline walk of 2,710m - but fell short of achieving a new world record, as he fell just a few meters out from the finish line.
Re-watch the jaw-dropping action on Red Bull TV:

Jaan Roose walks the Messina Strait - Livestream

Slackliner Jaan Roose attempts to be the first person ever to walk the Messina Strait by foot

For three hours Jaan Roose put on an awe-inspiring show of skill, focus, and balance, pulling off an unprecedented feat. He started in Santa Trada, Calabria, and ended in Torre Faro, Sicily, making this crossing an epic adventure. The massive distance, tricky weather, and environmental hurdles added to the challenge. The slackline was strung between old power line pylons with varying heights, demanding spot-on precision.

A true slacklining legend

Roose's achievement is not just a sporting milestone but a symbol of resilience and determination. Even though the Estonian fell off the slackline after having walked for almost three hours and being so close to the world record, he found the mental strength to continue to walk. After having a short break on the slackline, he carried with him in his backpack, Roose got himself up again and kept walking until he reached the pylon - to become the first human to cross the Messina Strait on a slackline.
“I feel 'jaantastic,' I am super happy, a bit tired and worn out...", he said at the finish. "I made history", Roose added, "I walked 3.6 km 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.”
It was a long walk, full of surprises from start to finish.
Jaan Roose

Who is Jaan Roose?

Estonian Jaan Roose is a three-time world slacklining champion - and the first and only athlete to perform a double backflip on a slackline. Roose is also the holder of numerous world records and world-firsts in the sport.
His ability has also led to him performing as a stuntman in Hollywood films, including Assassin's Creed, and appearing in Madonna's MDNA World Tour.
As well as entering competitions, Roose loves nothing more than travelling the world and showcasing his incredible talent. Explore his latest slacklining adventures here.

How does he stay focused on the slackline?

Roose stays focused when slacklining through his remarkable ability to hyper-focus. When he concentrates on the line, he becomes so absorbed that he can tune out the surrounding noise, like cars, factory sounds and wind, maintaining his balance and concentration. However, he acknowledges that this intense focus can be a drawback, especially when highlining, as it's crucial to stay aware of his environment.
Roose explains that solely focusing on the line can be risky, as he might miss important cues like a nearby drone or birds. To manage this, he continuously shifts his focus, adapting to both the line and his surroundings. In challenging situations, he uses breathwork to calm himself and enhance his concentration.

Part of this story

Messina Crossing

Jaan Roose attempts a world record: the first-ever highline walk across the roaring Messina Strait.


Jaan Roose

Known for possessing nerves of steel, Estonian slackliner Jaan Roose is a 3-time world champion and the holder of numerous world records.