What is that lesson? That maybe, just maybe, all the money spent on molds, and innovative materials, and carbon fiber, and complex mounting solutions, and skates without cuffs, or skates that fit over shoes, or, or — oh my god the USD Legacy! — could and would have been better spent on tours, and contest circuits, and hiring marketers and sports agents for athletes, and generally investing in the SOFT CAPITAL of our community.
All these many skate models and years later it’s clear that tried-and-true molds of years past aren’t just “good enough” — they are very good. They do what is expected and allow manufacturers, retailers, and skaters to have a relatively low financial bar of entry into our sport.
For 15 years Jon Julio proved that with Valo. Sure, he had a skin hiding the truth, but that truth was there and eventually broke out into the spotlight with the V13… and now as THEM capitalizes on those same truths, Roces is again in a position to dispose of pretense and return to their powerful roots.
Meanwhile, we’re here wondering how many thousands of bladers would still be out there actively shredding if all those untold hundreds of thousands of dollars of hardware innovation had instead gone into reminding everyone why we want to skate in the first place. — JE
Almost makes you think that we should go for old molds and experiment with current day compounds.
Which kinda puts new perspective to people scoring old skates.
Would love to see what would happen if Oxygen Argon, USD Psirus and Salomon ST skates would be revisited.
In response to the article….
The author’s final thought is that skaters needed to be reminded why they enjoyed skating in the first place, and that this was the responsibility of the boot companies. I think the people who love blading stuck with it, and judging by the rollerblading subreddit, tons of former skaters are getting back into it. Now could that have something to do with the merging of the disciplines and the arrival of big-wheel-friendly frames like Big, Mega, Level 2 and Wizard? I’m guessing the answer is yes. We know that new blood is our big problem, but bringing old bladers back into the fold is a good start, and not too many 30 year old guys who have kids and haven’t skated in a decade are going to go for an antirocker setup on a shared size shell.
As for new blood, price point skates have always existed. The author is complaining that companies didn’t advertise their price point skates, despite the fact that people were willing to pay for more expensive skates. High end skates were probably marketed more aggressively because the company stood to profit more from them. I don’t see how profits for blade companies are bad.
Maybe the price point boot revolution is pertinent now, and is the way to move forward for the time being, but trying to blame our numbers being low on the passionate geeks who designed all the crazy boots of the last 20 years seems misdirected. I know we all want blading to do huge numbers so Farmer can buy a leopard skin lambo, but it reeks of self pity to dredge the past for something or someone to blame for our current situation . We’re just in a different market than before and we approach things differently now. The whole “blading would be alive if only..” argument seems unproductive, especially when there are more products and ways to skate right now than there have ever been.
In Response to Alex-
That was a lot of words considering you had almost no point. When you talked about skates marketing and why its not bad to push the more expensive skates over the cheaper ones, I would say to listen to Ricardo Lino’s podcast with Stefan Brandow. Razors had a great skate that was at an entry level price, and loyal riders who WANTED to do edits to promote it but were shot down because the Shift was the focus.Profits aren’t bad, but shooting yourself in the foot regarding potential future profit is. If these boot companies that have JR boots were smart, they would offer them at below cost and promote the hell out of them. There may be an upfront loss, but we all know that all it takes to get someone hooked is to have skates on your feet for a little while.
If they’re really serious about saving our industry, they should take a page from the sugar lobby and organized religion…. GET KIDS WHEN THEY ARE YOUNG AND IMPRESSIONABLE
My 9 year old son loves to skate, witch makes me happy because I get to spend time with him doing what we both love. The problem is that he sees me buying nice skates ( I own more pairs of skates then I should). And he only has two models to choose from. Don’t get me wrong, he loves his skates but the whole industry is not investing in the future the way they should. If there were more kids skates available he would have more skates (because I would buy them for him). He would love it even more and get more hyped to keep on skating. These kids pay the bills for company’s ten years from now. My six year old wanted to start inline skating as well. But there are no aggro skates available in his size so now he skateboard’s. Because he doesn’t want rec skates. He’s good at it and I’m sure he’s going to keep on doing it. I love to see him skateboard as well. But I still think it’s a loss for our community because he could have bin inline skating.
I agree with all the ( little ) money in this industry spent on futuristic skate molds could have been spent on marketing and PR. A sound investment that could have returned itself tenfold. Pay skaters an actual salary, broaden the scope to a more mainstream demographic, and ultimately build an economy around the sport.
The skateboard hasn’t changed that much the past 30 years, and they seem to be doing just fine.
I understand and respect your way of seeing things.
But I have to disagree.
The success of inline skating will never depend on technical issues.
You’re a begginner, you pay a little bit more to have better skates, that you can actually enjoy skating with.. That’s where the money goes to, to make better skates.
But skating is not popular because of the money spent of research or new molds, or crocodile leather skin on skates.
It has always has been, and will always be a matter of culture.
When inline skating will look good to people’s eyes, yeah, maybe it will grow more.
Invite your drinking buddies to skate with you.. That will invite others.
Go to work, to school, to the supermarket by skates.. Show our sport to the people close to you, make them know how cool it can be..
Everyboday will have opinions.. Just a few will actually do something 🙂
Carbon is better and so is UHMW. Heel pads never made any one mad either.
What caught my eye though was this: ” and hiring marketers and sports agents for athletes”
Which is B.S.
As they are always just around the corner. Actually I’m around the corner and I do just that. However finding an athlete that is adult enough, professional enough and commited enough to really shine and therefore be interresting enough to make enough money seems near to impossible. There are few that are willing to go the extra mile.
For the kids out there… you see I’m being paid 15% of what the athlete makes. So for my to make any decent money an athlete needs to make over 100.000 euro. Which will bring 15.000 into my company. Then costs will be taken off. Let’s say cost is 5000. Which is ridiculously low.
Then if I pay myself a salary I would make about half of that. So I would make 5000 euro a year.
Now I would like to make at least netto 40.000 to have agreat live. So or I need to sign at least 80 top rollerbladers that all do loads of media, have several well paying sponsor contracts. to make a normal living. Then if I sign 80 riders..
In reality to have 80 riders means not being able to spend enough time for and on them. So I limit towards 5 per FTE (full time employee). So in reality to make enough money. 40.000 euro (which is one FTE). I need to bring into my company 4 x 5000 euro (expenses) + 80.000 bruto. Which means a consistent 16.000 per rider. (16.000/15)X100 = 106.666 euro + costs. So a rider needs to make at least 112.000 euro.
Now look at it from the riders perspective. Does a rider want to pay 15% from his salary? And if he actually makes that 112.000 euro. This means he would make bruto 91.000 euro. His insurance would cost him 10.000. So he would be left with 40.000 euro netto. Which is a decent salary. BUT does not account for that you can pro blade max 10 years and you need to make enough money for the rest of your live. So in reality with a salary like that you put at least a large chunck into your pension. Bringing the netto salary down to 20.000 a year.
Now having said that. What does a rider need to do to make over 100.000 a year? Which we already concluded is chump chance and not a lot of money to be honest. A rider needs to be a public figure. He needs to do tv apearances. Be in magazines. Do some blading. etc.. but most importantly be known by non rollerbladers. These 5 people for my to make a decent salary need to be well known to the general public by doing way more then blading. Think tv presentor, talkshows, photoshoots in lifestyle magazines, radio apearances etc etc.
In conclusion…blading would be 10, 20% orso from your day job. It’s just a basis to go do a lot more with your life.
And then I need 5 of these.
Which rollerbladers do you know that are actually well know by the masses? Yes, you have to think about that huh… Yes it’s Taigh Kris or Fabiola da Silva. (and in The Netherlands now Pascal Tan)
“Meanwhile, we’re here wondering how many thousands of bladers would still be out there actively shredding if all those untold hundreds of thousands of dollars of hardware innovation had instead gone into reminding everyone why we want to skate in the first place.”
It’s not up to whining like a little bitch as in the OneBlademag article. The money and expore does not come from the little mold money from producers of blades. It’s about stepping up. Making things happen as a blader yourself. If every country had a Fabiola Da Silva or a Taig Kris then masses would aspire to them, buy blades and stuff will happen. It’s just that you bladers need to make it happen yourself.