The Pro Blader Project (Part 1)
Have you met your favorite blader? Skated together at an event? Chatted with them online?
We want to hear your stories.
Beyond the incredible talent to do tricks that our most respected bladers possess, they contribute more to our community than their sheer physical abilities. They inspire. They motivate. Their very presence can add electricity to a session or encounter that just might change someone’s life.
So tell us when that’s happened to you! Good or bad we suppose, but we’re really looking for stories about the bladers we all know, being themselves in ways most may not expect.
Can you help us learn more about the value of pro skaters in our community? We know you can. Now get to ‘membering and typing!
Photo by Kubotafoto
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My name is Zarizal Zakaria from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and most of my friends call me Boyblade. This because when my family started to call me Boy as my nick and when I got into blading at the age of 12 then my friends start to call me Boyblade because so many people have that ‘Boy’ common nick in here. Let me start by telling story on how I got into blading and how it has affected my life.It all started because of the movie called ‘Airborne’ with legendary Arlo and Chris Edwards in it. Yeah that is how I fell in love with blading and I feel blessed till today.
Through my years as a rollerbladers I grew up wanted to meet become like the pros and learn from them about skating and life they have experience as a professional skater. I was so in love at that time I would go anywhere with my skates without leaving them. To put in a list of pros I have met is a great idea from you to bring up this topic! Ok. Now I will list down the pros I have met through out my bladelife exprience and a bit of stories of them. I hope you guys have enough Gs to roll a joint or two while reading my stories. Or eating cakes. 🙂
1. Azikiwee Anderson – 2000 Philips X Rush Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : Chat with him and had an advice on how to be consistent on handrails. The first person I saw in real life did Negative Mizou on hadrails.
2. Eric Burke – 2000 Philips X Rush Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : Chat with him and had an advice to do what I love and what I feel right. Never doubt on myself.
3. Mike Opalek – 2001 Philips X Rage Kuala lumpur
Moments with him : Chat and street skating with him. He told me one day he going to start a beer brewing bussines. At that time he is working in a beer brewing factory as I remebered (Correct me if I’m wrong Mike). Yeah he proved that! I’m so inspired by him till today.
4. Pat Lennon – 2001 Philips X Rage Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : Chat and street skating with him. First person to do fakie backflip over 20 steps! He showed me with rollerblades you can do anything!
5. Jeerasak Taasorn – 2001 Skate Demo Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : We’ve made friends eversince and shared experience in bladelife. Skated with him many times. Most visited to Kuala Lumpur as far as I know. Very high discipline skater. Much respected person among my blade friends.
6. Warapoj Boonnim – 2001 Skate Demo Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : We’ve made friends eversince and shared experience in bladelife. Skated with him many times. We party and smoked together back then during Asian Xgames Kuala Lumpur 2001-2004
7. Arlo Eisenberg – 2002 Asian X Games Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : I remember his advice in a lot of things in getting the bussines and industry to develop. And maybe it is not excatly as what he said, I remember he was saying something like “Keep skating as you like and you need it because that is the best way to make your mind to think creatively as you live your life.” From that point that is what rollerblading did to me as I understand it better. Get up everytime I fall and be creative in life as skating. (Best advice ever! Thank you Arlo!)
6. Cj Wellsmore – 2002 Asian X Games Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : I met him and at that time he was still young with his mom accompany him to anywhere he go while he was in Kuala Lumpur. We don’t really have much to talk just get skate and cheer each other when landed tricks. I am happy to see him now grew up as pro skater.
8. Chiaki Ito – 2004 Asian X Games Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him: Not much talking I think problably language barrier. Skated with him at the comp. (Sorry Chiaki it was me who cant speak well english at that time)
9. Soichiro Kanashima -2004 Asian X Games Kuala Lumpur & 2014 Valo Lost in Translation Tour Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : First time I met him when he was younger and I just amazed with his style! Saying to myself this guy one day will be pro! Second time I met him during his Valo asia tour with Jon Julio the legendary idol. There he is (Soichi) today as a pro and Im happy for him.
10. Jon Julio – 2014 Valo Lost in Traslation Tour Kuala Lumpur
Moments with him : My first pro blade idol and most favourite style skater. Got to chat and chill with him for drinks. Get to see him skating live after 20 years in my bladelife. He proved me that age is just a number. Techniques and skills are everything in skating. Same principles with life and works as I learned through this. I was really lucky to meet the guy who made his life in rollerblading a real life proof of success needs passion. That has made my daily motivations ever since to not stop blading.
11. Jon Fromm – 2014 Kuala Lumpur & 2016 with SoFlo Crew
Moments with him : Never knew from a simple invitation becomes a dream reality! I saw his IG saying he is going to Thailand and Australia for an Asia skate trip. So I commented on his page and invited him to visit Kuala Lumpur. And he made that happend with the help of Andy from Razors. Yeah Jon came to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore (due to Thailand had martial law and he has to transit to Singapore before coming to Kuala Lumpur) for 8 days and chill at my place for about 4-5 days. The rest of the day he decided that he had to stay at the hotel when he fell sick (on the 2nd day) and to avoid my family from being infected and due to that I have to make sure he is well enough to make it back home. Thank god he made it back home. We shared stories and experience as well as had a sessions at locals skatepark but not the streets. Pity him for the first visit to Kuala Lumpur doesn’t go well but I managed to get most of local bladers to gather to meet and greet him personally and shared his life experience and stories as a pro. Since that day we became friends and oftenly chat and updates on the bladeworld scene. During his second visit with the SoFlo (even for a day from Thailand. Thank you for making that happen with your own efforts!) I managed to get them hit the streets in Putrajaya City and it is the best street spots currently in Malaysia. Nothing more satisfy than seeing a friend rip off the rails in my city and such a sick tricks! (Yeah you Jon Fromm! Glad you made it!) Not to forget his SoFlo crew Justin Finley, George Holmquist and Ryan Buck Strauss and yeah we manage to pulled Justin’s early birthday surprise! Glad you guys had fun in Kuala Lumpur.
12. Richie Eisler – 2014, 2015 & 2016
Moments with him : We met at the skatepark during his visit and get to skate and chill together watching hours of skate videos compilation of big gaps. It was like a slap on the face after watching tons of gaps made by all the sickest skater in the videos. While watching the videos, we had a few joints and drinks and also talked about the blade scene and his experience travellig the world. Inspired by his stories on how he got into blading since the age of 4 years old and how he got into pro and the rest of the stories. With his age now being able to do what he like with bladelife, I salute your achievement G!
13. Nick Lomax – 2016
Moment with him : I had fun skating sessions with him and Richie during his visit 2016. He and Richie just two awesome bladeheads!
Well, let just make it short before you guys get bored. To name the rest of the pros I have met is just a coincidence and I was lucky to be in my country. Some of them we met at the skateparks and some during skate comps. All of the pros above I mentioned maybe some of them I have met before they turn pro but I look up on their talent and dedications on bladelife as well as the skills and experience. I was an average person with an average family background but blading has lead me and made me to a life couldn’t thank more. I am so grateful for what blading has made to me today. Thank you for spending some time reading my stories. Peace out.
First and the funniest one was back in like 95 or 96. Chris Edwards (if you need to ask who that is, you need to be slapped) had a small skatepark. It was more of a skate room with crazy tight transitions up the walls with rails in them and a pyramid in the middle. There was a bowel I think outside. Anyway, my friend and I wanted to go check it out. We drove the 20 minutes and it was closed. The next logical thing was to look him up on the phone book and ask him when it opened. Lol. Well not only did the best of rollerblading give us the info, he drove over, opened the park and skated with us. We were definitely not transition skaters, but he didn’t care we sucked. Then the rest of the Esco old school crew showed up
The other stories were cut off!
Chris Edwards would judge some competitions around where I grew up in PA (not far from Woodward). He even gave me a free pizza hut coupon for the “best trick”. Just a simple 270 Unity.
A different time he brought Frankie Morales. We got to talk to him for a while and he destroyed the park until he cracked his only pair of Able frames.
Met Arlo Eisenberg at Eisenbergs Skatepark (RIP). Shook my hand and talked for a while. This was my very first time meeting a pro, ever.
Through some friends in college I ended up skating with Jeff Dalnas several times, both street and park. I even held the camera in an old clip of his. 😛
That’s it for pros. I have gotten to skate with a good number of sponsored non-pros over the years. Amateur, flow teams. And while it’s exciting to meet a pro, these sessions were a lot more fun. You actually got to skate with them, not just sit on the sidelines and watch. All of these experiences were pretty awesome and just fueled my passion for skating more.