Ryan Jacklone’s skating was always fluid; nothing about it seemed forced. Watching his skating, you can see that his style evolved from spending long days on blades cruising through traffic, dodging taxi cabs, and weaving in and out of pedestrians on the busy sidewalks of NYC, improvising along the way. We remember the huge airs, corkscrew spins, misty flips (which he is credited with inventing or being the first to bring from a snowboard to blades), and his swagger. When people say “rollerblading needs more personality” they might as well say “rollerblading needs Ryan Jacklone.”
Then I heard from Jose that Ryan’s a little bitter toward skating; he’s actually angry at skating I guess right now, because a lot of people don’t really remember him. And that’s our fault, you know? – Billy O’Neill in ONE #16
“Style is the most important factor in anything you do. Style is what carries you through life. You need style in the way you dress, the way you chill, the way you skate — basically, the way you got your thing going. You gotta finesse it.” — Ryan Jacklone
1995 X-Games run
I believe Ryan is remembered more for his real street skating, but he did win contests, and was ASA Street Champion in 1995. The focus at the time on competing and winning from his sponsors led to him becoming burnt out on the industry.
“There’s nothing left for me in skating. I see a lame industry surrounded by lame people. I really feel like I don’t fit in. I don’t have anything in common with anybody. I feel alienated by the industry, but I still love skating; I love to skate.”
“The biggest problem with rollerblading is the pressure. All of a sudden, if you don’t win, they freak out. Like, I used to win, leave me alone. I lived. You can’t expect me to be around forever. Relax and let me do my thing. Instead they (K2) fired me.”
The interview below was in a 1999 issue of Box Magazine. (I think it was #23, but I don’t have it in front of me so I’m not sure. Chiaki Ito is on the cover.) By this point Ryan Jacklone had already disappeared from the rollerblading world. He speaks with Paul Malina about what he had been up to, and his problems with the rollerblading industry. I don’t think a lot of people were ready to hear a lot of the things he had to say in 1999, but there was a lot of truth in his words.
“Certain companies are stupid. They don’t understand what they can do to you. Everybody fucks everybody over and nobody does anything about it. I just went away.”
“There are about 60 dedicated people in rollerblading, and that’s how big it’s going to stay. People who skate need to run the companies.”
(The competition issues section starts at 14:39, or tune in early at 14:10 to see Tim Ward fight Paul Malina.)
“This is street competition? There is no coping in New York.”
The video “Perspectives” was the last time the Riggler appeared in anything, at least to my knowledge. In the “competition issues” section he watches and gives commentary on the Gravity Games, from the course, with another NYC O.G., Med Abrous. Med was one of the original members of the Fr team in 1993 and an early city-style innovator. In this age of dudes sporting fedora hats, Med was probably the first.
Rollerblading never forgot Ryan Jacklone. You can find traces of Ryan Jacklone in skaters like Billy O’Neill, Mike Johnson, Brian Aragon — even Joey Chase has that outwardly confident attitude that Jeff Frederick and Rob Thompson had, along with an entire generation of kids who grew up skating on the east coast in the ’90s.