ONE Staff / April 18th, 2010 / Lookback
LOOKBACK #3: Joe Navran’s F.O.R. (1998)

“Skating has to mature and grow, which it hasn’t. It has regressed.” — Beau Cottington

It has been 12 years since Joe Navran’s film “The Future of Rollerblading” was released. In between every section there were interludes about our future. Some of them were quotes from skaters about their views, and some were quotes from rappers taken out of context that were pulled from the 1997 DJ Krush album “Milight.”

In some ways, we have come a long way since this video was released. Skating itself has progressed tremendously. On the other hand, the number of skaters has dropped. Almost all of the interludes in the film could have been recorded last week, put into a video, and still make sense. We have had the same problems facing our culture and industry since 1998. Not much has really changed. I have transcribed all these interludes below…



“My outlook on the future is two-fold, you know what I’m sayin… It’s a lot of bad things goin’ on, a lot of nonsense, strife in the world but, you know, I believe that you know you gotta tear all things down before you can set new things up, so you know it all depends on your perspective…” — Mos Def

“There has been a lot of talk about rollerblading in the public the last 6 months, that it’s gonna die. I mean to let everyone know, it’s all wrong. It’s not gonna die, and it never will.” — Josh Clarke? (Someone Australian)

“Visually speaking, basically I think the future… I think substance will overpower height. I think the past had way too much height, not enough people with substance. I think we are gonna have a turn for the better, and you know I think shit will be mad real. Thank you.” — “From Stash” on DJ Krush “Milight”

“The future, righteousness will reign, negatives dead, none of that. There’s gonna be a lot of hard times, but negative will suffer horrendous death (horrendous death.) Know what I’m sayin? Dragged across endless plains on its face. Righteousness will rule.” — “From Finsta Bundy” on DJ Krush “Milight”

“To me there ain’t no love out there. Know what I’m sayin? Everybody just like robots right now, like zombies. Ain’t no love out there. I think the future gonna be a scary thing, but you know, gotta get ready for it. Know what I’m sayin? If you ain’t tryin to get ready for it…” — “From Tragedy” on DJ Krush “Milight”

“You know, I think that everything just changes, and it continues to change, but I think the bottom root of it all is that the people involved in it love skating. They like to roll, they like to put their skates on and go for a ride, and really enjoy skating, and enjoy doing what they can in order to make the sport that they are involved with better.” — Chris Edwards

“It’s like what he just said, is bringing the skaters around to owning their own companies, whether it be more wheel companies, clothing companies, skate stores, eventually it would be nice to see when we can actually own the skate companies, kind of like USD, but a little bit more than USD has started.” — Ryan Zlockie

“We are just concentrating a lot on ourselves, but at the same time looking after the big picture, to really encourage a lot of kids out there to just get involved with skating.” — Chris Edwards

“Everybody’s trying to be creative, but at the same time it can be a little confusing or whatever, but I think they have power in they hands to create, you know, and that’s the beauty about, like, being in the dumps and whatnot. Like, you can just look up and see the light, and make your own light” — “From Lee Q” on DJ Krush “Milight”

One late night a few months ago I was watching this video and put a post on my Twitter page, talking about how relevant all the interludes are to today. Tee Tirado from Spoiled Brat Sk8 Shop saw the post and started a great discussion on Facebook about what skater everyone believed would “take skating to the next level.” Beau Cottington even stopped through and dropped some jewels. I have always been of the belief that the best thing for rollerblading would not be blowing up quickly. If it blows up, it will go pop. (Peace to De La Soul)

Rollerblading needs to grow slowly on our own, and it is going to take the entire community to get up and do it. The discussion started off with a few people naming individual skaters, and then Jesus Medina put up a post that was the closest to my belief, followed by many others that echoed it.

“I think it will take every existing known and unknown skater to continue participating in the sport. That’s what will entice local non-skaters who are oblivious to our industry. Industry needs new consumers constantly in order to expand, or to take it to the next level. In terms of next level in skating skill, in my opinion everybody is contributing to it each time they strap in their boots!” — Jesus Medina

“The future of rolling is in us all, it’s just up to the individual to bring it out of themselves.” — Brian Perry

““The future of Rollerblading, I think, lies in Community. I’ve been noticing a lot more people collaborating and working together towards a common goal.” — Maximo Garcia

For a few years I felt like skating was lost with no clear direction, and no one taking the lead. My generation was growing up, graduating college, and dealing with the real world and real problems instead of skating. Magazines were dying, companies were dying or on life support, our heroes were quitting skating to deal with the same realities of life that we were, and David Paine stopped making Video Groove to head off for greener pastures. Real life gave the fairytale world we lived in a big slap across the grill piece. A lot of us felt like rollerblading was dying. Instead of doing our part, a lot of us just sat back and laughed while a big part of our life died. We hated a part of ourselves, and mocked the younger generation for their tight pants, boomerang frames, and rail tap dancing. We despised them for never owning a pair of K2 Fatties, and not knowing who Brian Jaggers is. A lot of us just didn’t feel any connection with the little hoppers out there. There was no sense of history, no respect for the past, so in turn we didn’t respect them.

Is it just me, or is everyone starting to feel proud to be a rollerblader again? I think we are getting our identity back. So what happened? Why is everyone skating again? Why do we feel like we have an identity again? It seems like things got so bad for skating that we all realized no one else was going to help us. If we were going to save rollerblading, we would have to do it our damn selves. Gone is a lot of the bitterness. It has been replaced by a willingness to teach the kids, and communities are coming together on message boards and blogs to organize grassroots events and big sessions. The number of people putting on blades is growing every day. Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? I know I do, I know it’s true.

“News flash, this conversation has been ongoing since 1994” — Beau Cottington

Ben Rogers

Discussion / LOOKBACK #3: Joe Navran’s F.O.R. (1998)

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  • justin veiga - April 19th, 2010

    Didn’t plan to watch the whole thing but damn — got sucked in and taken back to when I would watch this weekly. Thanks for posting. I can’t believe how serious skate video music was back then…

    I mostly missed out on the rise of the ‘new school,’ so I’ve never really felt it to be a threat. Just the norm when I got back into it. But you know what? It’s kind of amazing.

    A lot of great companies have died, but so has the corporate bullshit. The struggle between sponsorship and selling out. The way corporate-backed contests gave park skating such a bad name and added fuel to the park vs. street debate. There was a lot of tension, but when the money stopped coming in–the playing field was leveled. And nothing spurs creativity and community like being poor.

    The contests and the videos and the brands being built feel more authentic. Like they’re in it for the long haul. And I think that’s simply due to the ‘first generation’ maturing. From getting jobs and learning about design and marketing, to having long relationships and friendships and learning humanity. That matures the whole industry, not just them individually. Life experience has brought a level of professionalism into the scene that it lacked before, when Solomon and Rollerblade, etc. were leading the pack. That level of money and influence will always pop in and shake things up, but it will always be up to us to save ourselves from it.

  • Greg King - April 19th, 2010

    a magical time in rollerblading. my favorite video of all time.

  • andrewsmolak - April 19th, 2010

    If your not proud to be a rollerblader then bite it you scum.

  • Pete Matthews - April 19th, 2010

    Do you not know who Josh Clarke is?! WTF?!

  • Ben Rogers - April 19th, 2010

    If you are referring to the ? after Josh’s name, we weren’t sure who said it. I thought it was Scott Crawford, and Justin thinks it is Josh Clarke. On the video that conversation is a phone call and the person speaking is never shown. The person speaking sounds way too old to be Josh Clarke. Does anyone know?

  • Ben Rogers - April 19th, 2010

    Smokes, I don’t know if you are talking to me, but I am very proud to be a rollerblader.

  • intuitiveroller - April 20th, 2010

    Could you be talking about the immortal BHS in that voice audio clip?

    My best guess would be that is indeed the voice of Brooke-Howard Smith saying, “There has been a lot of talk about rollerblading in the public the last 6 months, that it’s gonna die. I mean to let everyone know, it’s all wrong. It’s not gonna die, and it never will.”

    I could be wrong…

  • Ryan Shaffer - April 20th, 2010

    Couldn’t agree more with Justin. Well said.

    I think style has progressed quite a bit, too, since back then. As much as I liked baggy jeans draped over a pair of Oxygens while doing flared-out frontside grinds back in the day, I think style from both the clothing/skate and trick standpoint has matured quite a bit.

  • andrewsmolak - April 20th, 2010

    Oh no not all I was just speaking in general terms. Sorry for the confusion if any.

  • John Haynes - April 21st, 2010

    i seem to be noticing a lot of the old guard back on skates again, and its an observation it seems i share with a lot of people. It is cool to read from the perspective of someone who quit and came back; thank you!

  • Ben Rogers - April 24th, 2010

    Thank you Josh. What do you attribute everyone starting to skate again to? I did quit skating for a few years, but I feel like I never really left. I have met so many of my life long friends through rollerblading that I still heard about everything going on and had a hand in a lot of things going on locally. I checked out the magazines to see what my friends were doing and I always had a pair of skates, but usually only took them out once or twice a year. I think I was just burnt out on life, which led me to be burnt out on skating as well. I dedicated so much of my energy into skating for years and all it left me with was a a lot of good friends, a fucked up knee, and one working kidney. I am kind of glad I stopped for a few years. It let my body heal up and I see skating with fresh eyes again. These days when I go out and skate I get the same feeling I got when I was in middle school and just starting out.

  • si - April 25th, 2010

    Every time i see skaters from the mid-late 90’s whether be in old VHS videos or magazine articles, it still conjures up so many feelings from my youth. In short, it still inspires me.

    I agree with Justin during his first post, that in terms of corporate interests they were living on borrowed time. The true meaning of skating (to me personally) is trying new things, but loving the old things and doing it because its a great way to enjoy life. Doesnt matter what jeans you wear or what skates you roll on. Just get out there and be happy.

    Thanks for posting F.O.R. on here. A classic in my eyes.

  • Jeff Hughes - April 28th, 2010

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this great post and vid, I was one of the OG Boston dudes to start skating and recently have found myself missing to skate. All of this is helping me start rolling again in some form or fashion – it’s in our blood.

  • Jay Cottrell - May 1st, 2010

    did you just put a question mark after josh clarke, watch vg6 shit for brains

  • Jay Cottrell - May 1st, 2010

    sorry i called you shit for brains, didnt see the earlier conversation about this

  • donny - May 3rd, 2010

    thats got to be the notorious BHS on the phone. thats what i have always thought at least.

  • Jason Marshall - November 2nd, 2010

    We geezers still roll! We just can’t keep up with the younger “Haffey” generation! LOL

  • Ryan Zlockie - August 24th, 2011

    Jason Marshall – what the fuck is going on – good to see you still roll. Just started back up myself – bowl at 3rd lair in MN.

    The lookback segments are much appreciated, thank you ONE. Brings back the best memories.

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