This isn’t Wedge’s first or last Sweatstance. / BOX August 2000 / Pic by Konoske
Veteran roller Jon Robinson offered to help us document some milestones in blading progression, so we took him up on it. Presented in no particular order, here’s the first of many FIRSTS.— ONE
For some reason, bailing on a Top Soul or a Royale isn’t that bad. Your legs are already tucked under you, and the fall is shorter because you’re essentially squatting.
Bailing on a Sweatstance sucks. To effectively land and slide a Sweatstance, you put most of your weight over your front foot while simply dragging your back foot. You center yourself on the ledge or rail (square, please) the same way you’d center yourself on a frontside — only that damn front foot is tweaked sideways with the inside of your ankle staring at you, and your knee is about as low as your skate. This position of vulnerability leaves you with essentially two types of falls if failure occurs…
The first type (at 4:00 if you follow the hyperlink) is when you under-commit the lead foot. Your skate lands on top of the ledge/rail and you get twisted around. You can’t see where you’re about to fall, which is basically backwards. Unable to catch yourself, your hip and back take the brunt of the force because your hands generally come down a moment too late. You scream in pain and are pissed off at what a chicken-shit you are for not committing to the trick.
The second type of fall is when you over-commit the lead foot and miss to the inside. This split-second in rollerblading is one of the worst. (It’s nearly as bad as doing a back flip and realizing you’ve stopped rotating when in the inverted position.) There you are, in mid air, descending with all weight on your front foot and it lands on, well, nothing. At least you’re able to see the obstacle as you nut the shit out of it, bash your elbow trying to catch yourself, and probably hit your stomach or chest just as an added “fuck you” from the ledge/rail.
So, how did this trick come about?
In 1994, figuring out different ways to grind on a skate fascinated Andy Kruse. Using the outside of the frame as the main surface to slide on was an idea no one else had. Initially thought to be impossible, Kruse got his stance low enough to prove the naysayers wrong.
I wrote Kruse about the origins of the Sweatstance and incorrectly called it a Farside Mizou. Kruse promptly corrected me. “You called Sweatstance the Farside Mizou. Actually, technically, it’s a Topside Mizou. Farside Mizou would be what Dave Kollasch used to do on rails. So a lot of Sweatstances are not legit on rails, though some are. A ledge actually forces it to be topside,” he wrote from Finland where he currently resides.
Yeah, Patrick Jaggi is locked on.
He clearly recalls the origins of his trick. “The first Sweatstance I did was at the end of 1994 in downtown Atlanta on a long curb that sloped down and curved around. I remember it was white, so we could easily see how far we were going. I went super fast but only grinded like five feet.”
So how did the name come about? I posed the question to Kruse. “The name Sweatstance was actually a random name Tom Hyser came up with when I was first doing this strange grind and we were thinking of what to call it. But it comes from the fact that it can be one of the scarier grinds, therefore you are sweating when you try it because the bail from it can be pretty bad,” he said. Ah yes, the over- and under-committing, we know all about that.
Thank you, Tom Hyser, for giving a name to that trick which has caused us so much pain. And thank you, Andy Kruse, the proud father of a new baby boy, who also is indeed, the father of the Sweatstance.
Here is Andy Kruse performing one of the first seen Sweatstances, at 2:08. Not to be confused, of course, with the Farside Mizou at 1:56.
Don’t try this at home! Erik Bailey in “We Are Valo 3.” At 1:59 and 2:19 are Sweatstances down big ledges, and in a line. Not to be confused with his 360 Farside Mizou at 2:24. — Jon Robinson