The worldwide community of skaters is often cited by fellow rollerbladers as one of the most important aspects of our culture. The ability to go somewhere unknown but find people to skate with, or to session with icons, and of course to go to the spots made famous in videos and contests are all parts of our community that make it so vibrant. Something that each of us holds onto so tightly. The same is true of our new friend Vincent Romain, a french skater now living in Montreal that managed to tell us his life’s blade story as a love letter to his favorite skates: Classic USD Thrones. Read along to see how your own experiences mirror Vincent’s, and to maybe find inspiration to try something unexpected when the world comes out of its cocoon. After all, you never know where your blades can take you.
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My name is Vincent Romain, but some people in the rollerblading community only know me by my nickname: “Tiger.”
Used to be, “Tigger” when I was 14 (you know, from Winnie the Pooh). Back in 1999, at my first blading summer camp, the USD camp in Strasbourg, France, one of the camp instructors thought “Tigger” fit because I was small, had tons of freckles, and could jump pretty high, just like Winnie’s best friend. I was already skating my second pair of USD classic Thrones. Josh Petty and Richard Johnson were invited by the camp organization to represent their brands and skate with the kids. I clearly remember Josh watching me when I did one of my first True Top Acids on a rail; he saw me land it, and smiled big. I was so proud!!! – Thanks for this smile Josh. 😉
In 2000, I tried switching skates to Roces’ Khuti because I enjoyed skating the 5th Element before my classic Thrones. But, it only took me two weeks to switch back to my classic Thrones because they were lighter and way better for street skating (we didn’t have any skate parks in our area). At the time I was living close to Paris, and was old enough to take the train to meet new bladers in the city without my parents. I started skating with new people like Mathieu Heinemann, Fabrice Guyon, and Momo Sylla at the mythical spot, “Bercy” (spot of the First IMYTA Paris). It didn’t take long before I was skating almost every weekend with these guys at another mythical spot, “La Défense” (spot of the second IMYTA Paris). They accepted me as a member of the UCK Crew even before my first clip in VG 17 battling the crew in my classic Thrones. 😉
Thank you Dave Payne for what you did for rollerblading!
At the same time I started being a bad boy, selling Cannabis and sneaking out at night, which resulted in me moving from my father’s place to my mother’s place in Dijon. (Yes, the city where the mustard comes from… but there’s actually no more mustard produced there… sorry if I’m ruining your dreams.) After that move, I won my first street skating contest in Bordeaux with my sick Jon Julio style classic Thrones (you know, the all black ones with the dark blue fifty/50 frames). That contest was one of the best to win back then. The first place prize was a two-week trip to Orange County, California to skate some beautiful spots! True to my bad-teenager self, I actually stole some Mindgame anti-rockers at the Rock’n Roll blade shop. I would like to apologize for that; it was a teenager mistake. 🙁
Around 2004, I had the opportunity to have my first skate sponsor: Valo. But to be honest, I didn’t like them that much, except to make Torque Slides super easy. So, I decided to upgrade my Valo skates by removing the skin, and replacing the cuffs with Thrones cuffs. After less than a month skating them that way, Jon Julio saw a picture of my modified skates and cancelled my sponsorship, which I totally understand; my skates clearly did not look like Valos. (I hope that Jon will forgive me for that. :-)) So, I went back to my lovely classic Thrones without a sponsor. But then, USD gave me the opportunity to get classic Thrones as a “flow” team member for a few years.
In 2012, my friend, Arsene Jurman, was interning for work in SF, so I decided to join him for a couple weeks. I spent almost all my time skating and filming with Arsene, and this super cool and friendly guy Danny Malm. (Hi Danny!!!) Arsene made this edit of me, with my handsome classic Thrones on show, for sure!!! Thanks again Arsene to have made that possible. 🙂
When I was there, I also had the chance to meet Brian Shima. I was so impressed by him that, even though I was 26, I felt like I was 16 talking to him. Just said some bullshit to get his attention, and now I can tell my friends that I talked to Brian Shima in real life. (Don’t know if he remembers it, but I do.)
At 27, I traveled the world. The first six months with one of my best friends, Thibaut Caumont, and then six months alone. I visited 17 countries; made tons of videos with crazy challenges; and made a stop in SF for a second time.
That time, after meeting me only once a few years before, Brian Krans let me stay with him for free. (Thanks again, Brian.) I remember one session with a few of Brian’s friends (I think B. Freeman was there). Brian lent me his brand new red Valos because I wasn’t traveling with my skates. They were no classic Thrones but they were ok for one session. :-p I skated this long, scratchy, flat ledge for one or two hours before giving him back his skates totally smashed. (I hope you’re not mad at me for that Brian; but I’m pretty sure you aren’t. 😉 If ever I can send you some classic Thrones, or invite you to visit me with the authorization of blowing up mine, let me know.)
I then continued my trip by buying a $50 bike on Craigslist, and riding it from SF to LA over seven days, knocking on doors to find a place to sleep. – :-p (You can see the video of this trip here: And, sorry for my Frenglish!!!)
I’m now living in Montreal. Been here since 2014, where I still skate my classic Thrones, which cost me $400; one of the last brand-new pairs from Russia. I really love this city and this country where people and bladers are really friendly and helpful. (Like Denis Rabis who interned with Daily Bread for three months a long time ago, and who, because of that, won the nickname “Blade Legend.”) Sometimes I meet up with my new friend, Jan Welch, who lives in Vermont, and is still a legend in my kid’s eyes.
I invite anyone in the blading community who wants to skate, or just have fun, in Montreal to contact me. I will do my best to set you up right, so you can have a great time in this really beautiful city. Also, a special thanks to ONE Blade Mag for this opportunity to write my first magazine editorial, to my classic Thrones for being so stylish, and to all the bladers in Montreal, and North America in general, like Matthew Garrity (even if he likes shitty beers :-p), who keep blading alive in this part of the world.
Request to USD: Could you please produce classic Thrones again, please? 😛
I wish all the best to all of you, with Love. – Vincent Romain
Cody Edits by Jon Dwyer
Header image: Fishbrain to fakie/ Montreal/ 2019 / Photo by Charly Correia
Photos by Guillaume Latrompette, Gregory Rouvelin, Charly Correia, Matt Garrity, and Thomas Camus