At Spankfest, I was a busy, busy boy. I taught classes on thursday, friday, and a double on saturday (in tandem with Lqqkout, followed by a performance integrating suspension, fire play, stage combat, and more. The double class with Lqqkout was especially interesting – it was our first time presenting together (not counting demo bottoming for each other) and it was a class on suspension technique that we’d worked hard on putting together. It was, like all classes, a mish mash of our own opinions, both agreeing and disagreeing. For example, I believe in having as simple a hard point as possible – preferable rope over a beam, maybe a ring, whereas Lqqkout is fine using carabiners. Both of us are in agreement about things like panic snaps, and both of us love the swiss seat – but we tie it in different ways. Still, we filled the 4 hours with information and at the end we had people making each other fly – so it was a great success.
On Sunday, after the events’ closing ceremonies, my friends RoughInamorato and his wife Lil’ Boxer from Chicago asked if I would suspend her. A very petite, muscular blonde, Lil’ Boxer had only been suspended once before, and I was honored that they wanted me to do it. Even more fun was the fact that they were amenable to the idea of Sabrina Fox, my companion throughout the event, to being suspended along with her – two hot bi babes swinging in the air is one of the neatest things in the world, and when you add the fact that it was outdoors, it became even more fun.
The outdoor suspension points were gallows-style, made of thick logs going up about 15′ in the air. One was bare, the other had some leftover webbing and a simple locking winch strung with static climbing rope and a thick rated carabiner in it. I was tired, and so in spite of my desire for simplicity I decided I didn’t feel like stringing my own hard point, electing to use the carabiner and webbing for my hard points.
I put up Lil Boxer fairly quickly, in a face-up horizontal suspension using comfortable wide bands along with ankle supports (she was wearing lace-up Fluvogs, by the way, which added to the Hawtness). Her arms were free, because I wanted her to be able to grab and support herself as needed. Then I put a waist harness on Sabrina Fox, a quick swiss seat, and had her stand up on a bench, planning on hooking her carabiner on the harness to the thick one on the hard point.
Problem was, she was about three feet lower than that carabiner. I started to brainstorm on ways to safely and effectively get her up the last few feet:
- Use a simple rope pulley to string between the two? Possibly, but it seemed a lot of work for just three feet.
- Bring over another bench? Possible, but not necessarily stable.
- Use a ladder? None was immediately available, but could probably be found somewhere…
- Have Sabrina pull herself up long enough to hook the carabiners together? Perhaps, but not really that graceful, and while she’s a strong woman, the carabiners might not be all that easy to bring together.
- Lift Sabrina on my shoulders (or RoughInamorato’s) long enough to hook the ‘biners? Again, not graceful.
As I stared at the problem, I kept on having the nagging feeling that there had to be a better way. About that time, RoughInamorato, noting my dilemma, cleared his throat.
“Um…I’m not a rope guy,” he said, and then pointed at the metal wheels above the carabiner on the hard point, “…but isn’t that a winch?” As in, a device made for easily raising and lowering rope.
Oh. Yeah. Right.
So I carefully unwrap the tie-off line, snap out the winch lock, lower the rope the three feet, and after connecting Sabrina she went aloft:
When the two of them were up, much fun was had (especially when given weapons of ass destruction. RoughInamorato and I agreed it was a triumph of the Lazy Dom Philosophy as we watched them paddle each other with screams and giggles).
But the thing is: I know, deep inside, that if he hadn’t’ve mentioned it, I would not have thought of it. I’ve been concentrating so much on simplicity that I would have completely missed the fact that there was a winch there.
So that’s my lesson learned, and I pass it on to you: when you can’t figure out how to do something, look again: it’s entirely possible that hey…that’s a winch.