Eagle County Super Kid Davis Hermes
Just one look was all it took for Davis Hermes to determine his future: slacklining. For those not familiar with the sport, think tightrope walking on loose webbing. Add a few back flips, knee drops, chest and butt bounces, and you'll begin to imagine the incredible balancing act of this young athlete. The 16-year-old witnessed the sport at the GoPro Games in Vail four years ago.
He convinced his mom, Amy, to buy a slackline and then proceeded to spend hours a day, every day, teaching himself how to walk across the line. From there, he progressed to doing tricks.
Starting out, Davis says, is "really hard because the slackline is an unpredictable surface. Your body is used to a predictable surface where your muscles know how to react. Your muscles have no idea of what is going on and your legs are going to shake back and forth."
After falling in love with the sport of slacklining, he progressed to highlining- basically slacklining at elevation above the ground or water. Sometimes that's way above ground - 400 feet or so, which was the height of Davis's first highline in Moab, UT.
Amy admits to being terrified watching her then-12-year-old son walk a highline for the first time. "I was thinking, "Is this neglectful parenting?'" she says, laughing. "But it is safe: You are harnessed in so if you fall you don't go plummeting to the ground, and it brings me joy to see him do this. Highlining is really where he shines and it is a testimony to his talent. "I chose to nurture it rather than fight it," she sagely adds.
Amy, a former mountain bike racer, also inspires her son. "I can see she was always very determined and I can tell she was passionate about mountain biking so she inspires me in general," he says.
At 15, Davis was one of the youngest competitors in the GoPro Games last summer in Vail. As there are no age brackets, he was competing against slackliners in their 20s, but that is not a hindrance. "I'll compete against whoever they put me up against," he says.
Davis currently competes four to five times a year and in the future he'd like to compete internationally. In the interim, he is determined to start a slacklining club in the valley to introduce others to the sport. And while that is in the works, Davis has found other ways to give back. He went on a church mission to Argentina and helped build playgrounds in Indian neighborhoods.
Taken in context with his determined nature, his high hopes for the future seem very down to earth.
"Starting out is really hard because the slackline is an unpredictable surface. Your body is used to a predictable surface where your muscles know how to react."
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