FIRSTS #3: The Fahrvergnügen
Randy Spizer had a special way of doing “Farfrompukens.”
One rarely meets a person like John Schmit. He listens patiently while you ramble on and on about your views and opinions, rarely interjecting with his. He can talk shit to anyone with just the right tact so as to never to offend (I’ve seen him make fun of strangers outside a nightclub regarding who they voted for. They both walked away smiling). He’s a better resource than the Internet if you’re looking for a good concert in Minneapolis. I’ve never known anyone who’s met him that didn’t hold him in the highest regards. I’m lucky enough to know John Schmit.
I formally met John Schmit in 1993, outside of a Federal Reserve building in downtown Minneapolis where bladers used to meet and roll. He wore cream-colored palm-protectors, similar to weight-lifting gloves, which were rare those days as most bladers opted for black wrist guards with plastic. I remember him being one of the first people I shook hands with while introducing myself — for some reason I didn’t think to do that before. Aside from his random nap times, Schmit was always down to skate (and occasionally still does).
In 1995, the Royale (once called a shifty royale) was a new trick. Schmit tried sliding it the opposite way and coined it a Reverse Royale, a seemingly appropriate name. He told me via text message that he first did the trick on the Buckingham Fountain ledges in downtown Chicago. A fitting city, as Schmit is known by his close friends as the “white Scotty Pippen.” That winter, he showcased his new trick.
Every year in December, Minnesota bladers drove 8 hours (7 if you speed and 13 if you get caught in a snowstorm) to SCRAP Skatepark in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates. In 1995, Seattle legend Chad Grout was there.
Chad Grout brings a charismatic energy everywhere he goes. He and I jokingly purchased blue roller skates in a thrift store in south Chicago, only to see him frontside a rail with said roller skates a few hours later. His crowd pleasing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister, played during his runs on the pro tour, became a staple at each stop. After civically reporting a burglary in Palm Springs, CA he argued with the reporting police officer over my right to buy cigarettes. If something worth writing about was happening, Chad Grout was somewhere close.
Back in Chicago, Schmit showed his Reverse Royale to Grout who quickly learned it and was lacing Reverse Royales all over SCRAP (Skating Cycling Rollerblading Action Park, in case you’ve driven yourself crazy over that acronym). One interesting quirk about Grout is that he loved talking about his Volkswagen. In the early 1990s Volkswagen ran an ad campaign using the German word fahrvergnügen when referring to its cars. Fahrvergnügen translated to English means “driving pleasure.” Chad’s influence by and love for his car eventually named the trick. John Schmit’s chosen name of the Reverse Royale was short-lived and Fahrvergnügen, later shortened to “farv,” took the reign. John Schmit invented it. Chad Grout named it. Thank you both. — Jon Robinson
Here is some “Hoax 2” footage containing SCRAP Skatepark footage as well B Hardin grinding the Buckingham Fountain ledges at 2:24:
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In Europe people would probably say that Rene Hulgreen invented the farv…. At least this is how we remember things and images from that time…we’ll leave it up to you to find out what version is true….
was that pic of roadhouse a dailybread cover? I know Ive got it somewhere!
ps. I invented the kazoo aka ruffgrind.
*db poster even
Thanks for posting the Saltless Water section. Still my #1 video of all time.
one of my co-workers was talking about how stupid the name fahrvergnügen was. I agree, so I told him I call it a full torque and have since I saw Pat Ryans photo in the back of an old daily bread.
Great article! I love seeing more history in regards to how tricks were invented.Kudos One!
Full torque is a terrible name. You don’t call torques half torques do you? I hate when ppl try to change the name of such an established trick. It’s fahrvergnugen, period.
Nothing like a “good ole days” article to make me want to tell stories.
My memories of those mentioned all came from Woodward Camp:
I remember hanging out on the central hill at camp when there used to be long rails there. John said he wanted to soul the one on the right but there were a bunch of kids sitting on it. He mentioned that it was his switch soul and I asked if he really wanted all the kids to move. . . “what if you don’t make it all the way?” and we will have moved the kids for nothing. He looked at me and said “Oh, I’ll make it” we moved the kids, and he switch souled it first try. CONFIDENCE. I was so impressed.
My favorite Chad Grout memory would have to be him skating in Lot 8 with a broken collar bone which the trainers had forbid him to do. . . and one of the trainers walked around the corner so he promptly dropped to his knees and started grinning ear to ear in a futile attempt to hide the fact that he was wearing skates. The trainers jaw dropped and she started yelling at him and she just smiled “What, what are you talking about, I’m not skating!”
Jon, you were the first person I knew who carried a little note pad as a “to-do” list which I promptly copied. . . and then turned into a quote book of whenever a friend said something funny. I’m now at OVER A THOUSAND quotes. Thank you!
love the knowledge!!
I remember DBmag changing the name to Full Torque and that was in 2002 or so…they said that because the trick was invented in the US, it deserved and English/American name. Since then each and every photo portraying the trick on DB had “full torque” as a caption
“Interesting article! Jon, when you say, “Back in Chicago, Schmit showed his Reverse Royale…”, do you know what year this was? Side note: S.C.R.A.P stands for Skateboard, Cycle, Rollerblade Action Park.
Thanks for the help Collin! Yeah, good catch on SCRAP. 1995 was the Chicago year, I should’ve made that clearer in the article. Mike F = best Woodward counselor of all time! If there’s a trick you have inside knowledge on, I’d be happy to hear! Hit me up…
Saltless Water!!! And the pit! Tom Thumb rail, Reliastar. Good times. I spent probably a quarter of my teenage years between the Pit at U of M and Third Lair alone lol.
I inveted the negative grind . It was wildwood n.i.s.s and g step and his brother aj Jackson all stay in the same room . We went on the course after hours after me and g step and aj and moisey left two fat chicks at an all you can eat china buffet ( g steps idea ) I tried going disaster over the Bauer box and lock on to the inside of my oxygen Scotty Bentley s from there just keep learning them