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How do you slow down when ziplining?

Zipline canopy tours and treetop adventures at Canaan Zipline in the Carolinas

We get this question quite a bit from folks who may be a bit nervous or just not familiar with the process of ziplining. At Canaan Zipline Canopy Tour, safety is our biggest priority and braking is something every zip liner must learn.

All of our guests are active participants, meaning that they all assume the role of slowing down and braking in the ziplining experience. This helps engage our riders and gives them more of a feel and handle on the actual process as opposed to sitting passively in a harness while a guide or system does the braking for them.

So, you do the braking, but what exactly does that mean and how is it done? We’re glad you asked.

Before a zipline treetop adventure, each rider will go through ground school where our guides provide all of the information that one needs to ride safely.


Here’s a summary of the zipline slowing and braking process:

When riding, zippers have their left hand on top of the trolley, which is the zipping mechanism, and their right hand around the ropes in front of them. This is the most effective form that we have found when riding to keep everyone zipping straight and fast.

In order to brake, the participant takes their right hand off of the ropes and places a flat hand behind their trolley as shown in the photo.

The flat hand helps slow zip liners down but doesn’t stop them. If one was to grab the cable, that would stop them in the middle of the zip and potentially result in injury. We teach a flat hand for this reason and the friction between the glove and the cable helps slow the participant down so they can ease into the platform. Our guides have emergency brakes at each platform to slow guests down if they don’t brake efficiently or forget to do so.

We have all of our guests “test” out of ground school, making sure they can operate comfortably before we put them on the zipline.

It may have helped to read about the process, but it starts to become second nature once you get on the zipline and start riding!

Check out these 5 things you can do to prepare for your zipline adventure and be sure to book a zip with us today!