LOOKBACK #7: Some Free Advice (1996)
“‘Some Free Advice’ is a journey into the philosophies of inline skating. From simple grinds on street to 720 McTwists on vert to Misty Flips over fun boxes… this film displays and describes the tricks in full detail. Watch skaters like Ryan Jacklone and Dave Ortega perform their favorite tricks and then hear them describe how they do it.” — From the back cover
The idea of an instructional video for blading always seemed strange to me, but the ’90s gave us at least three of them. Two Volumes of “Some Free Advice” and “Ride Like Aaron,” which was made by the guys who brought us Heavy Wheel company. “Ride Like Aaron” was supposed to teach you to skate like Aaron Feinberg. It was horrid. Imagine descriptions of how to do a back royale while the same clip of Aaron doing a back royale played on loop for several minutes in slow-mo…
“Some Free Advice” is much more watchable. A lot of the soundtrack is provided by “Ani,” who is Ani Schempf, an early New York City skater and original member of the Fr Team. I found it interesting that during the credits in his mix Ani cuts up a section of the theme from S.W.A.T. which was later sampled for the Capone-N-Noreaga song Thug Paradise, which was used for Dre Powell’s section in Logical Progression years later. The video was filmed and edited by Gunars Elmuts and Shura McComb, who also teamed up to create Fr Forever.
The video starts with a conversation about style, from what I can decipher, as the Tejada brothers, Nene and Ozzie, talk with Rawlinson and Paul Malina while black and white shots of New York street skating play in slow motion. Nene Tejada makes an observation about how his brother Ozzie’s skating developed that everyone should keep in mind.
“Ozzie, here, when he started doing tricks, he took a long time to do a rail. His only trick was soul, soul, souls, on curbs and benches and all that. It’s better when you learn it on curbs and things, when you spend a longer amount of time you start getting used to it. (So, like, when you take your time, you become more comfortable.) Some kids, they buy a pair of skates, by the next day they start, they don’t start off on little things, they start off on rails. (They end up getting hurt.)”
Not only does learning on ledges and curbs keep you from getting flexed, it also helps your style develop and become cleaner. To update this a bit for today, it could be said that the best way to develop a clean style would be to learn how to soul handrails before you start trying to huck 360 souls. I think this has become a widely held philosophy of today’s influential skaters.
The backslide section of this video does a great example showing how much skates themselves have changed. Royal/backslide plates were much slower, especially in K2 Fatties. Skaters were able to lock into backslides with more control, and chill on it; more emphasis was put on smoothness and control. There aren’t many tricks in rollerblading that look more stylish than a grabbed backslide that’s slid for a long time. Anyone who disagrees has never seen Jon Ortiz skate. You don’t see people doing as many straight up backslides anymore, or any of the cross grabbed backslide variations in this section. With faster backslide plates on today’s skates, for many skaters the backslide has become more of a switchup or pivot trick that they don’t slide or lock into for very long.
For those of you who read last week’s piece, tune in at 25:41 to get schooled on the misty flip by Ryan Jacklone.
“It was just an evolution of my whole 540. It went from one point to the other. You know what I mean? A lot of people throw misty flips with a spin. I do it more with momentum. I throw myself into it. You know what I mean? Halfway up the transition I throw my back 180, right? And then I bring my knees up and I’m looking at the sky, when I seen the sun I poke my leg liu kang or whatever, and then when the sun hurts my eyes is when I come out of it. I come from New York and I have to learn everything to flat, so I guess it’s a lot easier coming down with a transition because you keep your speed. When you do it to flat you absorb most of your speed and it makes you go really slow and you fall back…”
The majority of “Some Free Advice” was filmed in New York City, and edited under the supervision of Shura McComb, one of the first street skaters in New York City. This made the video present a decidedly New York style of skating throughout. ’90s blading in New York was about the details, the little things. I wanted to post this section from Steve Thomas’s 1996 video “Seperations” last week, but I was unable to track down a copy in time. In it Dave Ortega and Ryan Jacklone spend a smoked-out afternoon skating a New York City park, lacing lines full of smooth grinds and all kinds of shroom skating, with attention paid to making everything look clean, flowing, and solid.
The idea of an instructional video for skating seemed strange to me in 1996 when “Some Free Advice” came out, but it was probably a useful tool for some who didn’t have anyone else to skate with. The internet wasn’t yet in every home, and information wasn’t as readily available as it is today. The video gave the viewer the names of all of the basic tricks, explanations, and plenty of examples in slow-motion to learn from. We have always learned from watching videos, this one just took it a step further.
Enjoy the video, but please remember this is not an instructional video.
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Great stuff, very interesting to read about the music, this was/is my favorite soundtrack in a skate video. I used to watch this EVERYDAY before I went skating, thanks for the write up and posting the video. Keep em coming!
Great work! I used to watch this video EVERYDAY before I would go skating. It was/is my favorite soundtrack ever in a skate video so it was interesting to read about it. Thank you for posting the video too, keep em coming!
God this was awesome back in the day, I remember people were like Jacklone can skate street you see!! haha
I always loved when my boston heads went to NYC to skate sometimes…
Keep trying to post but this was one of my all time favs, best music!!!
Turtles in sfa 2 was the best spot in boston. Wish it were still there.
What spot is it?
So Stoked right now seeing this article. Found it via a Google search. SFA shows the best style, and the best sound track.
“The Royal, it feels like no other grind” it is the same today.
Thank you for the video post on Vimeo. My skater friends here in Denmark are about to get Some Free Advice.