Changing a Trend

I feel like I need to say something about an alarming trend I have seen in skating. I read a photo caption in Be-Mag saying “we just watch skateboarding edits online and go to the spots.” I have also been taken to several skateboarding spots in the last several months to get photos. This is something that is overwhelmingly detrimental to skating. We need to stop, once and for all, trying to be skateboarders. I am not sure if rollerblading will ever “get cool” again, but the sooner that we can stop feeling like “skateboarding jr.” the better. Our sport is invisible, people who care hate us, and people who don’t care can’t see us.

Skateboarding is cool, I guess. I am pretty indifferent towards it because I don’t skateboard. I feel towards skateboarding as I feel towards basketball; I appreciate that it is hard, I appreciate that people love it, but it ends there. Personally, I don’t even want what skateboarding has. Skateboarding has whored itself out to companies who make shoes for basketball, baseball, walking, and now their latest cash cow, skateboarding. Same with energy drinks. I want to see the pros get paid in this industry as bad as anyone, I want to get paid myself. But what I don’t want more of is corporate money exploiting our sport to exploit consumerism. Even if I did want that, and I know many people do, it’s not possible, because skateboarding already spread its legs for them. Skateboarding is here to stay; our destiny is more fragile than that. We need to stop pretending we are skateboarders and start finding our own spots (no I am not talking about double drop kinks). We need to stop complaining about skateboarding having more money than us and that’s why their videos, magazines, and photos are “better.” We need to make it go on zero or “empty” because that is what we have right now, and we need to once and for all sever the ties between us and skateboarding, if not for the sake of our industry at least for our own coming of age. I am not talking about war with skateboarding, it is a war we would surely lose because it is one we would be doomed to fight on their terms. I am talking about forgetting about them. The skateboarding ship sailed, and we are not on it. Let’s stop trying to copy them and build our own ship. — John Haynes

Leave A Comment

cz - Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

that was fucking stupid. honestly, who gives a fuck. the cool part about rollerblading is that no one gives two shits what people think about it. ive never heard/seen any reference to a rollerblader trying to be like skateboarding. sounds like you’re just bitching to hear yourself talk.

!!! - Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

It worlking for lame ass BMX.

Andrew Scherf - Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I know exactly where you are coming from. I have my own profound respect for skateboarding, but you are right. We tend (not saying all of us do) to look at what they are doing and seeing how we can “one-up” it. Which can only work in so many situations. But this is not one of those situations.

Lets get our heads right, and get this show back on the road. Our sport has been on the back burner for too long.


bob - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I agree with CZ. What a bullshit peice of text.

“skateboard spots”!!?? ive heard of people complaining about rollerbladers wearing skateboard company clothing, but skating the same spots as them is now a problem??? spots are hard enough to find as it is. are you on crack? people like you complaining about how rollerbladers “aren’t thinking for themselves” are the problem.

In europe i have never come across skaters hating skateboarders or vice versa. It just seems to be a problem in america.

James Q - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I really don’t know what to say. Umm, most rollerbladers have no crew to skate with, so skateboarding is the closet thing to blading. I’m not sayin we copy skateboarding, but we definitely follow it…… to skate spots.

dk - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

“we just watch skateboarding edits online and go to the spots.”

You forgot the lazy part of that caption.

When I first read it I almost shit. Probably the lamest thing I have ever read in reference to rollerblading and a precursor to another rollerblading epidemic; laziness and the un-motivation of many to push any sort of boundaries within rollerblading.

Collin Martin - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I agree John. And it doesn’t sound like your just bitching to hear yourself talk. The person bitching was cz and he wanted to hear himself bitch.

Dh - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Half my crew is skateboarders and the rest of us are Rollin on 8. It’s tight cause I’ve done both. We all skate a spot and get stoked on what we stomp. My name is Daniel hyatt. 21yrs old and an Arizona resident. Been rollerblading/skateboarding for 8 years collectively. When we all shred the same ledge er rail er stair set er bank er gap it’s all love. Even my friends that skateboard bow say it’s an industry and not a community now. Skateboardings gaurd will drop and maybe equality will come to be among everyone and not just my friends. Love em both but hmmmmm I skate remz now. For. Good.

bballog - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

at least skateboarders build spots or transitions for street. It makes up for our laziness to do the same. Should we also avoid skateparks because they are built for skateboarders? I mean this is stupid. We naturally share the same terrain as them because we both roll on wheels.

bballog - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

What’s wrong with skating spots that we are too lazy to build ourselves. Should we avoid skateparks then too?

John Haynes - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

the problem with skating spots that we dont make ourselves is that its just one more thing we arent making for ourselves. And I am not complaining just to hear myself complain, I have had plenty of things published in plenty of places, I don’t care about hearing myself talk. No where in the article did I hate on skateboarders, i grew up skating with skateboarders, I still have good friends who are skateboarders, but the problem is us trying to be skateboarders!

I suggest you actually read the article.

Thanks DK and Collin, and everyone for posting. Lets keep the conversation rolling!

Blake Taylor - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

In reference to this article I tend to agree with bballog’s association about “not blading skatepark’s too.” I mean let’s face it, the early blade boom may have contributed a little to the surge of skateparks popping up all over the world but we mainly have this luxury because of skateboarding. Isn’t blading the makeshift street spots just another form of this on a smaller scale?

There have been a few topics on Be-mag lately pertaining along the lines of this topic as well. One that comes to mind is the on going identity crisis we have. What the hell is what we do called? and the need for differentiation between the 2 sports. Personally, I believe this needed “differentiation” is a fine line. Yes, we want people to know what it is we do w/out using the skateboard analogy, but are we really that different? I mean, I don’t watch, follow, care about what skateboarding is doing (for the most part)but the uncanny similarities in what we do are there.

Another good topic that popped up on Be-mag recently was the recent Mike Vallely interview about elitist skateboarders defending there skate utopia, and how hypocritical this notion is of skateboarders in general. I will admit I carried the boarder v. blader chip on my shoulder since the day the god damn, “what do bladers tell their father” joke (or however it goes). That’s not to say I hate skateboarders, just the thoughtless ignorance that the sport has created. When I get the respect that I deserve for the many years I have commited to my craft, that respect is returned.

Anyway, I may be taking the topic in another direction. I don’t know how to solve our sports/crafts issues but do have an idea that it starts w/ local awareness, and standing our ground. Even if that is skating their spots.

We may have began by mimicking boarding but there is no doubt in my mind that blading helped influenced all actions sports to level they are at today. Think about it, w/in the first few years of our existance blading surpassed what boarders were doing ten fold. Skiiers were dead to rights when snowboarding hit the scene only to come back into the spotlight by mimicking what Blading was doing. I know several stories of bladers teaching pro bikers new grinds, etc… Yeah, they’ll never admit that switch-ups, transfers, bigger, longer, faster all rooted from our progression but I know the truth b/c I’ve been here since day one.

I know I may be stretching here (a little bit) but I gotta get back to selling insurance (aka day dreaming about the next session or ideas to better skating events).

je - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Glad there is a discussion about this.

Blake said: “but are we really that different?”

I say yes, and if we don’t realize that and don’t make sure the world does, than I don’t know what it is exactly that we all seem to want/need/covet. Don’t we all hate it when a security guard or concerned citizen tells us we can’t “skateboard” in their space?

Are our physical endeavors similar? Yes.

Are the people doing the endeavors similar? No. And our culture/heritage is entirely different too.

Anyway… please keep discussing!

halfblackguy - Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

just going to throw it out there but skateboarding is cool. i can watch a chad muska or jamie thomas edit and get inspired to blade or watch a good bmx street edit and see some weird new way to use a skate spot. STOP BITCHING ROLLERBLADING IS SWING MUSIC…… IT WAS BIG IN THE 90S AND USED TO SELL EVERYTHING FROM JEANS TO CORN NUTS, BUT NOW THE PUBLIC IS ON TO THE NEXT TREND AND THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO STILL LIKE IT WERE THE PEOPLE WHO CHOULD GIVE A FUCK ABOUT SOME KHAKIS FROM THE GAP IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Azur - Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Referencing and researching skateboarding is a forced reference for us all, and despite most of us will never want to accept it, it’s simply the way it is. If you really want to know why the first generation of rollerbladers behaved and thought the way they did, then you have to research it.

DB nº 2 had a section about what sport people practiced before rollerblading, and some were surfers, others skateboarded and some quad skated. I have always found it ironic that quad skates existed way before skateboards, and because quad skating did not sell as an action sport niche through mass media it simply didn’t get remembered as something to get influences from. Northern Europe had a very serious vert riding quad scene and nobody at all has ever made an attempt to incorporate their niche into “our thing”.

I´d be glad if the rollerblading community even knew (don’t you mention care) for this legacy;

But it´s all lost, nobody even mentions it. I mean we certainly should agree on the fact that we have more in common with quad skating, or so I like to think because sometimes I don’t even know what rollerblading is evolving into. (And that includes trickery and the community itself.)

So what is the root cause for our community to incorporate skateboarding and not quad skating?

Maybe Envy? Do we really want to sell it out so much that we are desperate to go back to the state we were in the nineties? I remember them being amazing times, but I also remember all those crowds on rollerblades who felt absolutely nothing for it. Finding somebody that actually loved it was quite hard!

Or should we blame the media and globalisation on this one too?

There are so many arrows pointing at the one fact that people do not tend to think for themselves, but that is not something only to do with rollerblading these days; it’s happening in all fields such as art, music and other spots and activities. Everything is recycled, versioned and reproduced. I think next to “globalisation affecting rollerblading” we could also think of “the homogenisation of all parts of the rollerblading community” as a problem for it’s own marketability.

One last though, have you ever wondered about the HUGE AMOUNTS OF ROLLERBLADES that were produced back in the nineties, and that are not in use any more??

Where are they now? All in the bin?

Last year we had a show organised by the local council where I live, and they brought the answer to that one question. Where did all those skates go?

I am so happy they got them.

GL-Joe - Thursday, November 26th, 2009

John sounding like your late on rent. or a little stressed out. or drunk and typing shit. cause i dont think any of that is true. or atleast in chicago.

cregan - Thursday, November 26th, 2009

CZ f*ck you. And for john haynes I know what you mean. Most spots in MT the bladers will hit but no skate boarder here will hit them up. We have spots here in MT to start a foundation and also fresh new skaters from here. roll406

awol - Thursday, November 26th, 2009

The people who are complaining because of this article need to re-read it. From it, I got something entirely different, which I think was clearly stated: be yourself, create your own origins.

Rollerblading has a ton of potential–and still has kept the roots that other sports like to portray themselves. We are “invisible.” It’s great. Those who recognize us as whatever “we” want to be seen as, cheers.

Keep being yourself, bring something new to the sport. To all the rolling brands; keep strong. It’s a close, tight knit community that is keeping this awesome sport going. Thanks to everyone who has true commitment to it.

FourEyes - Friday, November 27th, 2009

Blake mention Blader killing boarders and BMXers back in the day. Were i grew up Blading big before Skateboarding.

But all the guys who pioneered the sport like Arlo and Chris Edwards, Cesa Mora (first guy to pull an 900 in any extreme sport) are all but gone.

No one watches the Yasotoko (not sure if thats how you spell it) kill vert and these guys are doing some ridiculous tricks.

When was the last time you saw someone do a misty flip? We’ve followed skateboarding trends for a while. It seems people have forgotten the diversity that rolling has.

FourEyes - Friday, November 27th, 2009

sorry azur was talking bout us showing, guys how to grind

John Haynes - Friday, November 27th, 2009

I was not talking about hating skateboarding, I feel I was clear in my indifference towards it. I also recognize that in many ways, skateboarding has a lot to do with our roots. Roots are important. This week was Thanksgiving, and I went back to my town of 2500 people in the plains of Minnesota. Driving past the “spots” I grew up shredding and later photographing (see I remember banding together with the 2 skateboarders in town and getting a 3 foot mini ramp built. I skated the hell out of that mini ramp. Hours a day everyday for years. Those memories made me who I am. Those skateboarders are still skateboarding. But just because that is my past does not make it my future. This is what I am getting at in this article.

Joe is right, I am late on rent (so to speak). Just like our industry as a whole. We need to make something our own or someone will be referencing us as something as obscure as quad vert skating. There are videographers already doing this, Joe is one of them, so is PJ and the Truth boys to name a few. Some skaters and photographers are beginning to do it. But we need to embrace our own style and our own vision, even if we are not sure what that is at the moment.

Skateboarding is part of our past, no question. It is not part of our future.

Azur - Friday, November 27th, 2009

Hi again,

I find it interesting that the word segregation comes to my mind when I read this last two paragraphs by Mr Haynes. Its actually segregation over individualization, to be precise, but allow me to explain myself…

I have always liked to talk about this issue using an analogy; the circus.

Elephant tamers, knife throwers, clowns and so on are a minority, And among clowns you have mimes, who are (as far as I know) the mute version of them. But society is not particularly mad about the whole circus thing anyway.

Okay, so what kind of a circus are action sports?

Well, if you ask a the corner shop man he´ll probably not get to difference between bmx and mountain biking too well, trial and the tour de france are simply variations to him. What I´m getting at is that I don’t think communities (in most sports) are defined enough for even the insiders as to know how to explain what it is they exactly do that is so immensely different from what others do.

So we have our cloud of similar groups around us, like speed skating quad vert skating… and so do they; longboards, mongo footers.. etc. So there is a general lack of individualization, and going back to the word segregation…Seems to me that the search of Mr Haynes for the pure rollerbladers essence i not to be delivered yet, and that attempting to force that learning curve would result in voluntary segregation from the rest.

Not saying its a bad thing, I mean everyone can dwell on these aspects and get to a different place, you get the orthodox rollerblader who is anxious for hammers and you get funny lovely people mushroom blading in Canada. And yet we are all rollerbladers, and I still understand the essence of the article, because I myself feel what Mr Haynes expresses. His words are full of concern.

I have always thought tho, if my skill is to grind a rail, and next to me a I have a guy that spits fire and we need to team up to be able to survive in this weird world of abilities, I have no problem whatsoever.

After all, a circus divided is no circus at all, it turns into busking, and a lonely rollerblader skating a ledge is merely a weirdo to others. Excuse me to disagree, but I simply think we are all one, and that after the years it will not really matter that much what you ride, because you may agree about your particular perceptions with your neighbour and disagree with your skating friends.

Good day!

FourEyes - Friday, November 27th, 2009

After thinking about this article a bit more I get two main points. By going to spots that skateboarders hit because you saw it on one of their videos or you heard a skateboarder talking about it your not doing anything to progress the sport or the way bladers think. There are similarities but there are also differences and these differences are more than just the fact they have wheels on thier board and ours are strapped to our feet. We should look at our environment differently and find spots we think would be good as a bladers.

The other point I get from this article is people still trying to get to where we were in the late 90s. Events like the X-Games bundled us up there with skateboarders and BMX riders and to many who didn’t know anything about these sports they were one and the same. But those days are gone and skateboarding has emerged as the trendy extreme sport. We need to start defining our own identity. To use Azurs circus analogy, we need to let people know there’s a difference between a seal that balancesa ball on its nose, and a clown. They are two seperate acts although they may have the same origins

Joey - Friday, November 27th, 2009

The reason the whole thing is fucked is kids are STILL being sold the image of a skateboarder on rollerblades. With that comes silly elitism, hate and ignorance towards rollerblading WITHIN the activity rollerblading… Don’t forget the identity crisis that any teenager has (AKA rollerblading is a teenager that wants to be just like his big brother).

Wait what? Rollerbladers hate rollerblading? We like to think we have more in common with the skateboarders skating the spot (that they built) than the rec skater that rolls by on the street. The whole thing is silly but that’s the road most of us have taken.

People need to sit down, watch Airborne and take some spiritual lessons from Mitchell Goosen.

bonus sticker - Saturday, November 28th, 2009

haha!!! great movie, airborne!

hey listen up! ROLLING IS THE SAME REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU’RE ROLLING! i dont care if its ‘pushin wood’ or blading. if its got wheels its all the same!!!! ONE LOVE!!! stop complaining about skateboarding john-john, skateboarding is not the problem with blading….NOTHING is the problem with blading. blading is fine and no one who blades is trying to be a skateboarder? i dont even know where any of this is coming from??? SKATE SPOTS ARE UNIVERSAL and no one should alienate anyone from a spot depending on what they choose to roll on.

this article shows you to be an extremely ignorant person imo. you worry too much about things that have nothing to do with ANYTHING. everyone that skates no matter what it is, ripstik, skateboard, inline….they all have one thing in common and that’s wheels! OPEN YOUR EYES and stop whining about stupid stuff that doesnt even matter in the real world buddy. write an important article next time that shows the worth of your skills as a writer and journalist instead of trying to instill hatred towards skateboarders. no one is to blame but yourself for being a bitter hateful person, stop trying to poison others with your pointless views.

onelovenohate - Sunday, November 29th, 2009

November 25th, 2009 at 10:41 am


What’s wrong with skating spots that we are too lazy to build ourselves. Should we avoid skateparks then too?

remember that many skateparks do explicitly allow inline skates and thus were in part designed with skates in mind. some obstacles are undoubtedly more suited for skateboarding though, square steep rails and ridiculously small tight trannies often get avoided by bladers. but i do agree, skate em if you got em.

however, i think the main point is not to worship or idolize skateboarding now that it’s everywhere. don’t expect a sudden attitude change towards skateboarding (less crap talking, more butt kissing) to make rollerblading more cool by association. if i remember correctly, arlo was criticized by big brother (and in part exploited) for looking up to and trying to copy skateboarding. we should focus on what makes blading unique, not don flannels and shoelace belts like we have no identity of our own, or is that just the problem? i don’t want our culture to look up to those same people who told me to my face that rollerblading was OK for girls, but not guys (a conversation i had with tus pappas and danny way while skating encinitas back in 1997). our sport is way sicker, well, if we don’t skate 1 foot tall trannies or 2 foot long rails. we can do better than that! plus we end up looking stupid, copying people who have made it part of their culture to hate and ridicule rollerbladers. oh wait, that’s a trend we’ve copied too, just look at rollernews! nuff said

AOR - Sunday, November 29th, 2009

I think some of the problem lies in we dont see alot of what skateboarding has to offer, we see posers and alot of kids who cant do anything, but there are great insane skateboarders that will change your perspective like haffy would to a skateboarder, and skateboard spots are amazing im not talking about a silly ledge but im saying the grass roots of it, like banks and transitions and creative stuff like that, i will never argue about any spots and to be honest personaly rather get a bank photo anyday over a handi cap photo, its really all matter of opinion because life is very broad and short so just let it all in man because it really doesnt matter beyond that,

p.s john haynes always great photos and storys

Gabe Holm - Sunday, November 29th, 2009

We need to support the skater owned companies that we have to ensure that they continue to grow

boinky - Monday, November 30th, 2009


wesdriver - Monday, November 30th, 2009

I agree that spots are spots and just because it used to be an old skateboard one doesn’t mean one should avoid it because that would probably kill 90% of all spots! But it does, in some cases point to a lack of effort and motivation to find something new, make something new, etc.

What I have noticed after years of being involved in the magazine part of blading was that the main offenses happened back in the day… some of those in charge (and I won’t say who) really DID bite everything that was going on within skateboarding straight down to the layout of ads, the spots, and even the angles chosen for the photos. Our leaders followed them more than we ever did. We just didn’t know it at the time (or at least I didn’t). I used to skate with boarders every weekend when I lived in Birmingham, AL. Those guys loved watching Charles Dunkle do crazy shit and they were always cool with us. What I found out later on that most of the beef went on in San Diego and Orange County because some (not all) of our leaders stole way too much from the skateboarding industry and in turn they hated them for it. That’s why their is/was hate in Southern California and not so much elsewhere.

It had more to do with media copying media then it did actual skaters inhabiting spots if you ask me. Or maybe it was both. I know a lot of people got pissed when their local spot got invaded because DB would put the exact location in the mag. So, within two months, the place was ruined because there were dozens of kids mobbing it out every day of the week. Who knows, as it’s just my personal observation. I guess in the end you can’t blame people for wanting to skate perfect rails like El Toro or Widow-Maker no matter who found it first. What you can blame is company and magazine owners for copying ideas from skateboarding companies. I think it was just a plague that we never got out from. They weren’t borrowing ideas from outside the “extreme” sports industry, which was a problem.

Now, it would be easy to sit back and say that these things ruined it all and there is nothing that can be done, because it’s not true! What I found when I moved to San Diego was that most of these classic spots were capped, destroyed, or just plain gone (like the Leap of Faith), so what it forced was a new perspective on played out spots. New angles for photos had to be found. New ideas had to take place. So you couldn’t skate the rails or hit the ledges due to the knobs, but there were still cool things to be done. I saw Stockwell and many others prove this time and time again. Or lets not forget Brian Shima’s roof roll from Issue #7. That place is right off a major road next to Fashion Valley Mall, so there is a reason that no skateboarder or BMX’er has ever done it. It’s FUCKING CRAZY that’s why. So there is always that. Bladers have pushed the envelope and tackled spots that nobody else can touch, even in San Diego, which is the most overshot and over-filmed city in the world.

So there you have it, my two cents. Just be creative and if looking at skateboarding helps you do that, good for you. Personally, I never look at their magazines anymore and I haven’t seen a video since Yeah Right. There are a lot of sources of inspiration out there… maybe its time to look elsewhere!

H.S.Knucklehead - Monday, November 30th, 2009

“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?”

— Albert Camus

je - Monday, November 30th, 2009

Wes, you laced it. Well said and so true.

Azur - Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Thank you for your words Mr Driver, very interesting and important information that fits very well and makes a lot of sense. Most of us outside of that bubble cannot see that happen, and it is very relevant to associate the media with locations and responses, but I do not think that the phenomenon of copying skateboarding media has finished with the “old in line industry”. I think it carries on, and I personally do not see anything wrong with it.

People will always find inspiration in the nearest place and

hatred will always exist, whether you feed it or not, intentionally or not.

Azur - Friday, December 25th, 2009

There is a continuation to this thread in here,

Maybe it will be worth having a look, or maybe it will be a nother one of those great moments for Mr Krans to construct a web roll.