ONE Staff / February 18th, 2011 / Firsts
FIRSTS #2: The Illusion Spin

Alex Broskow setting up his Illusion Fullcab Tru Miszou at BCSD IX.

In 1996 I was on the ASA Tour. Then a part of the Rollerblade team, I flew into Seattle with John Schmit and rode in a van to Vancouver with about ten other people for a contest. Three kids hitched a ride with us. Two of the kids asked Schmit and I if they could sleep on the floor in our hotel room. Schmit was happy to accommodate, so I reluctantly agreed. I complained about how I needed to sleep in a bed and didn’t want to be woken up. What a baby.

Two years later, I was asking BJ Campbell and Shane Saviers if I could stay in their hotel rooms.

The third “kid” to ride up with us was an Azikiwee Anderson prodigy. His name was Nick. A quiet squirrelly looking 15-year-old who chose his words sparingly, but spoke them with the enthusiasm of a, well, little kid…

Nick Riggle grew up skating the cement park of Santa Rosa in Northern California. He primarily skated with skateboarders who, in turn, influenced his style and trick selection: fast lines in bowls and spins to manuals on fun-boxes, two specifics he recalls. He also excelled at launching out of the bowls and was, at the time, beginning to make a name for himself.

Pros on tour in 1996 knew him as the “launch-box king.” Late 540s and beautiful Liu Kang spins stand out in my mind. We (most pros) soon figured out that nickname was entirely too simplistic, as Riggle demonstrated a lexicon of tricks nearly unsurpassed.

The Vancouver contest that year showcased two tricks yet to be seen by most in rollerblading. One was the Sidewalk, which had a short and sad life once we found out that pretty much anyone could do it. And, truthfully, it looked pretty lame too. It was showcased by Jon Julio who, deservedly so, receives significant notoriety for anything he does.

The other trick, the Illusion Spin, was not as popular but lasts to this day as one of the harder tricks to do. The trick involves looking over your shoulder one way, and spinning your trick the other. Riggle puts best, “We stagger our feet when we roll backwards, it’s awkward to spin away from your leading foot. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.” Built on, adapted, and evolved, Illusions impress any observant rollerblader.

I asked Riggle about the history of the trick and he said he isn’t certain. He remembers doing illusion spins with Erik Burke (who’s endless contributions to rollerblading will be discussed at a later date) in 1997. I, however, with those who went to the 1996 Vancouver ASA event, witnessed him doing said trick in 1996. Prize awarded.

Thank you, Nick Riggle, for your timeless contribution to rollerblading.

The creator himself.


Here at 1:24 Nick does a bio illusion 360, a trick he clearly remembers being happy about landing.

VG 6 “Mini-View” of Nick in 1997. No illusion spins here but he does do his “hippie clinch” grab a few times. As well, it shows footage of the Santa Rosa Skatepark he grew up skating at.

An Illusion Spin doesn’t just mean you look over your other shoulder when spinning from backwards. You need to spin into the foot that is staggered back. Here is Alex Broskow doing an Illusion Spin full-cab to alley-oop soul. If you play it frame by frame you’ll notice how he spins away from his lead foot. — Jon Robinson

Discussion / FIRSTS #2: The Illusion Spin

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  • JZ - February 20th, 2011

    that’s a funny place to pause Broskow, as it looks like he’s giving himself a handjob. nice spandex btw

  • Drew Humphrey - February 22nd, 2011

    i actually took that pic of riggle at i think was the valo 3 premiere here in ny. funny thing, i saw him on the train today, he didnt recognize me so i didnt say anything lol.

  • josh perry - March 9th, 2011

    I lived in Santa Rosa from 96-98. One day my boy mitch and I were sessioning at the park when Nick and Erik Burke showed up. We were both in aww. I never saw anyone throw down the same lines in that park the way they did. They just had this really fast flowing stlye with huge airs and spins that I would compare kinda like aragon’s. Also went to school with his brother rob.

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