How’s your BLADE LIFE? It’s going great for Ryan Strauss. The man better known as Buck Wild crossed paths with Jon Fromm about five years ago, and since then the fast friends have shared 20 trips across four continents and hit an untold number of strip clubs along the way. But more than just good times on blades, these trips have opened Ryan up to a world of new friendships and exotic locales, and all the adventures they bring. None of that would have happened without blading and the passion to get himself around the world to events… so that’s why bud Jon Fromm did this interview to share more of the passion that goes into living life Buck Wild.
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You’ve traveled to quite a number of places over the past few years. What gets you to travel? (Without sponsorship, etc)
I have always loved traveling, seeing the world and experiencing new things. I have been to 37 foreign countries now and I think 32 states and territories. Rollerblading/inline skating has always been my passion. I fell in love with it as a young child, then progressed into the aggressive world and never looked back. The best part is meeting new friends and seeing old ones. The beauty of being in the rollerblading world is that it is so small and anywhere you go you can usually find a place to stay and for the most part you will be embraced out of that common bond skating brings. It’s also great to see the famous spots from edits and see with your own own eyes how wild some of the hammers really are. Everything looks so perfect on film, but being there in person you see all the imperfections and appreciate how hard tricks really are.
That’s awesome man. It’s been real cool seeing you go on trips, especially when we went to South Africa. Seems like most people who are not sponsored don’t travel like this internationally. Thoughts?
Yeah, it was a little intimidating going to Summerclah ’14 and being the the only U.S. amateur in the contest, but I didn’t have time to think about it. I showed up and had to compete less than an hour after landing in Berlin. But it’s normal now. I was the only unsponsored American to compete at Roskilde ’14, Winterclash ’15, Laced ’15, and Ghetto Games ’15. It’s awesome, the love and respect you gain by going to all these events, and I don’t only mean internationally. I love to travel the entire U.S. as well. You will see guys come out for Pow-Wow (or Bitter Cold back in the day) because it’s a “big” event. But it’s rare to see guys travel to some of the smaller comps outside a few hours drive.
The A-Town had a good turnout this year which was nice to see, but going to events like The “We Are One” comp in Utah and “Music City” in Nashville or the “James Short Memorial Session” in Ohio , you don’t really see anyone outside the local area coming in. If we want the industry to grow, we need to come out and compete and build the prize pools. Even if ten more guys showed up at events that would add up sometimes to an extra $350.
Just taking a non-comp blade trip is great too. Going to Barcelona or California and skating/meeting new friends is awesome. You can say “I’m going to get a clip a day” but in reality it’s not as easy as that. Most of us know weather, injuries, the work schedule of the locals, and life happen every trip. But just soaking in the beauty of a vacation that is possible because of your love of skating is pretty awesome. I am always looking for my next trip. I constantly look for cheap flights and try and make plans with people I have met through my travels.
What are your Favorite places you’ve been to?
1: Tallinn, Estonia
2: Barcelona, Spain
3: St. Maarten
4: Roskilde, Denmark
5: Nuremberg, Germany
You’ve been to all these awesome events, and met a lot of people, what are your thoughts on contests today?
I always say it’s not about the skating, it’s about enjoying the time and seeing friends you only see maybe once or twice a year. But it is still about the skating at the same time. Every contest is different and you go for what each has to offer — the camping and fun at Pow-Wow, the show that is Winterclash, the music and vibes of Roskilde, the embrace of the city in Ventspils for Ghetto Games. The pure respect for life at JSMS. It’s always great at any event I go to someone will say “Dude, that trick you did was so sick!”
I fully understand how much work goes into planning a contest and the sacrifice that is made, but when you travel across the country or world to come and you have zero idea what to expect from each set of judges, it gets frustrating. It would be nice to know what is being looked for on a more consistent basis. If it’s best trick, then judge it off one trick. If it’s runs, then base it off runs.
So many times you see the finals and it’s five local kids and five sponsored riders at random. If you are a judge and it’s based on runs, then you need to realize who is warming up for finals and who has just given everything they have. I am not saying give free passes out by name, but if you see someone that is landing all their tricks with ease and feeling the course out, you know they have more to bring in the finals as opposed to the person who threw themselves at a single trick 10 times and barely got it. Most of the time that guy is gassed and has nothing to bring for finals. If it’s a best trick, fine, go all out and the best tricks move on. but again think about what you are watching and evaluate if that guy can bring something to the finals.
The best format I have seen is Ghetto Games, where each rider gets three solo untimed runs. Guys could improve each run, go back and try tricks again. Judges and spectators were able to see all the tricks and you didn’t feel pressure to get a last second trick in, or worry if the judges missed a trick because the MC didn’t call your trick. If all contests were run this way it would help with judging consistency.
But that’s just contests. What about other areas the industry could improve? Like, there’s still a lack of money in blading. You definitely have seen me in my share of struggles. What are your current views of skating/industry?
I feel the industry is in a stalemate. It’s never going to get better if people don’t start supporting the companies that we have. If you haven’t bought a pair of new skates from a shop in the last year, it’s about time. If you can’t afford to buy skates then grab a couple shirts, new wheels or frames. So many guys want to support “dead” or “vintage” companies right now and it’s hurting the shops and companies that are still trying to help build the industry. Don’t get me wrong,, the companies aren’t doing as much as they need to either. Playing it safe isn’t going to get things going either. Pros not making enough money to at least live is sad. If you want guys to go out and represent your company and put out quality content, then they shouldn’t have to work a full-time job in order to live.
Another stale aspect is sponsorships. Companies are sponsoring fewer and fewer riders each year, and most of the guys they do sponsor aren’t putting content out to promote themselves or the company. Companies need to look for guys who are out skating and promoting the products. And if you are lucky enough to receive a sponsor, you need to step up and put an edit out at least every six months, plus put clips and photos up on social media on a regular basis.
It comes down to the both sides putting in the effort and treating each other with respect. Companies need to support the bladers and bladers need to support the companies.
What keeps you motivated?
I just love skating — I can’t see myself not doing it. It’s always a challenge and the joy of landing a trick is something most people will never know. I’m so fortunate I found something I have so much passion towards, even when I have a horrible day, week, or month… skating is there. It has it tough times as well, but that’s what brings out the best in you. I tell my friends 99.9% of the world will never experience something they have that much passion towards, and that even when I am finally done (hopefully never) I will have had that passion in my life.
Beyond that, the friendships and experiences you gain from this industry are comparable my time in the military. It’s such a small, tight-knit group that you embrace each other as family. That is why I am always willing to let bladers into my house if they are in my area. Just respect my place and I will respect yours when I visit!
I had Diego Guilloud stay with me on his world tour. We’d barely met at NYC3, but I knew he was cool through that bond of traveling skaters. I had Everett Lubja and his girlfriend, Dionne, stay with me for a week, and then they returned the favor a couple months ago.
We traveled all the way to South Africa and were given a place to stay while only communicating with Hugo through FB. And then the first time in Spain, Marbin and Miguel form Barcelona let you (Jon Fromm) and I stay with them without ever meeting us before, because they got word we were good dudes. How could I not do the same for my fellow bladers?
I also recently started skating solo and filming alone a lot. I think about 25% of my last edit was alone. It’s tough to get going, but if you want it bad enough you just go out and do it. You can’t always skate with a giant crew and that’s okay, go skate for yourself and no one else.
Whats the worst thing ever to happen on the the road?
I don’t think there is a “worst thing.” I try and find the humor in everything. There is no perfect trip — you have to just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
Any last minute shout outs?
ONE for this opportunity. Hopefully it inspires some more people to travel. Marco with Razors Europe for being the man. Thanks for everything. John Garcia, Chris Moraco, and Chris Padilla for skating with me in Florida and pushing me to be better. All the Boys from the 2-4-10 tour: Burston, Quinny, Yuri, Carson, Glow, You and Marco (again) for the best four-day tour ever. Everett, Dionne and Margaret in Estonia, you guys are the best, can’t wait for our next adventure. Craig Parsons for being my oldest skate friend. Not only in age, but in actual years skating!
Anyone who has given me place to stay during my travels: Hugo in South Africa. Marbin and Miguel in Barcelona. Iain Mcleod. Jessie P. Ryan Timms. Gabe from the Hang Losers. Konsta in Finland. Julian Mire in Nashville. To anyone else I forgot, know that I appreciated it.
Yuri gets a second shout out for helping me with my arm in Barcelona, that was nasty cut. Fritz for having baby arms and being such a funny dude. My parents for always being there when I needed them. Letting me skate all the time and raising me to be a good person. John Goez, my brother Kyle, and anyone else who helps take photos and film. And last but not least, Jon Fromm, for being my best friend, always encouraging me, and taking the time to do this interview. Next lap dance is on me!
Interview by Jon Fromm
Photos by Robbie Squire, Kyle Strauss, Chris Padilla and Jon Fromm
Nice very nice and well put Ryan hope to see u soon my friend!