Hey Eric, let’s get to it — How old are you, and how long have you been blading/what year did you start?
I am 32 years old and started skating in 1992. So a solid 20 years on blades, doing the aggressive blading thing. I used to do a little roller hockey and that’s actually how I met Chris Edwards. Back in like ’92–’93, Beau Cottington and I used to play roller hockey in parking lots of old grocery stores that were out of business. One day we were having a game and this guy Chris Edwards came through and started doing powerslide grinds on the curbs. We were blown away… After seeing that I was hooked.
Dang, so in a way you can say you’re one of the “architects” of our sport, shaping it from the beginning… wild.
Ha ha, RESPECT the Architect! I was very lucky to be a part of a group of people that were doing something so new. I brought what I felt I could, and gave it my all.
You had one of the most progressive sections in Video Groove Magazine issue #4; was that your first nationally-distributed section?
You know, “VG4” wasn’t my first national section, “18 Days” was my first section put out by Video Groove, and it was distributed world wide, same as “VG4”. My first skate clip ever was in “The Hoax 2,” ha ha! I do a frontside down a triple kink with big ass pants and dyed hair… lol.
“18 Days” was a cool video. It covered bladers that came from all over SD at the time — Brian Bell, Larry Fagan, Ernie Vilareno, Ivan Ramierez, me, and a handful of other guys.
I edited my own section using two VCRs and sent it to Dave Paine. The guys at Video Groove just filmed it while it was playing on the monitor and put it in like it was a section! Genius idea!
I’ve always appreciated your blading, for the solid tricks and emphasis on style. Was that just a natural development of your blading, or Was there a thought process on your part about how you would try to be different than the rest?
I believe that by now my style is me. I’ve evolved into myself over time, through injuries and trying different skates. Although I think that whenever I skate I try to keep a type of quality to it; landing everything I try solidly, and only doing what I know. If you know you can do it then do it, but if you think too much you will get broke off — that’s the type of quality control I always try to bring with my skating. Even though “now” and “when I was 22” are two totally different stories… ha ha! Now I just try to land clean tricks that aren’t too complicated or crazy and just skate — love it for just that — and have a good session. At the peak of my street carrier I would destroy shit and it would just naturally look beautiful…
Who were your first sponsors — first Am Sponsor and first Pro sponsor?
My first sponsor was Kryptonics. A lady named Ginger hooked me up with Little Rocks and Boulders. I wonder how many bladers out their know or remember the Little Rocks and Boulders?! They were out of Colorado and I really wish I could remember Ginger’s last name. Anyway, thank you, Ginger, for hooking me up back in the day. Along with that, I started to hang out with Chris Edwards a lot more and he started to flow me Birth gear. That was Chis Edwards’ clothing company at the time. As an Am I didn’t have a boot sponsor, so I was still buying my TRS skates from Sports Chalet. Eventually Chris Edwards introduced me to Arlo, Mark Heiniken, Brooke Howard-Smith and BK — the Senate guys. I got hooked up with them and then Edwards hooked me up with RB. I owe a lot to Chris Edwards; without him I wouldn’t have had much of anything in skating.
What are your thoughts on style? Do we focus enough on style today? Is diversity in bladers’ styles important, and can we me be more diverse in blading today?
Style to me is everything. You have to have style or you’re just doing the trick. Anyone can just do a trick, you know. Half the time, if it looks booty it’s because it wasn’t thought out enough. Through time style will give you individuality.
I believe diversity in skating and in style is very important because it shows growth and, like I said before, it brings out different styles and individuality. As far as blading being more diverse, I think we are as diverse as it comes. I mean we’re Roller Bladers, ha ha! In our small bubble we have covered both ends of the spectrum: tech stuff on stunts, stunts, super tech, slow and stylish, etc. That’s just skating though. Skaters can be more diverse by expanding into other markets and worlds by being a blader that is a doctor in medicine, or a blader who is an accountant, or a veterinarian, etc. Then those people go on to have kids that are little bladers. I see a lot of that kind of diversity going on and I’m stoked. The Bladies are rad, too! That’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. It’s awesome to see Blading evolve into something that is so diverse. I love the Bladies!
Do you have any advice for the bladers out there that have been in the game for a while? Like, how important is being an individual, or is following a trend a good idea?
The advice that I’ve got for anyone who has dedicated a significant amount of time in the blade game that’s still holding it down is to keep on truckin’! Be yourself! Your magic comes out when you are yourself. I’ve learned that you don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing just because it’s “COOL.” Sometimes being misunderstood is cool.
You won the first IMYTA. Did you go into the comp planning to just kill it, or were you just going with the flow and ended up killing it?
Yes, I did win the first IMYTA. That was amazing. It was crazy because it was during the X-Games in San Francisco.
I skated like shit in the X-games and wasn’t even going to skate the IMYTA. Louie Zamora’s wife Christa told me I should compete so I figured why not. I did, and ended up winning the first-ever IMYTA. I thought it was a good rebound… ha ha! Jon Julio had the comp all throughout the EMB area of SF and it was so RAW. Jon knows how to throw a comp.
The IMYTA was an amazing event. It even gave dudes like me the opportunity to show our street knowledge on a equal plane (I qualified for the semi-finals at the first Detroit stop –17 years old). Do you think we are missing that aspect right now? Do you think comps are too park-oriented at the moment?
IMYTA was a groundbreaking competition series, man. The rawest competition I ever had the chance to skate in. And we do need something like that in our industry again. It was rad because it was a crazy-ass street comp that was held all over the world and brought together a lot of people. Competing in the second IMYTA I lost in the first round and figured, “Cool, oh well.” Ha ha! I skated off, checked out the rest of Bercey France and had a blast. We still have a little bit of that avenue in our sport, with lots of little street comps put on in the states, but they’re not on the level of IMYTA.
I don’t think competitions are too park orientated now. We have always had transition or “park” skating in our sport. Having competitions at an indoor or outdoor skate park is crucial because it shows the ability to skate in a different way — being able to go super HUGE and fast. Street skating will always be the soul of blading, but the heart will always be in the skate park.
I know we discussed one of your sections as being your favorite, so can you tell us why “Masters of Delusion” is different then the rest?
My Fiziks section is special to me in many ways — it was the first time I was able to go through a step-by-step development in something. The frame itself was amazing to watch come to life, and then after they were developed Tom Hyser and the team started to make the video. It took a long time, but I watched Tom and everyone put their blood, sweat and tears into that project. Just being a pro skater in the project allowed me to really focus on my skating. I really pushed myself in that section and did some tricks I don’t think I will ever be able to do again, like that 360 sweaty on the knobbed kink rail, or kind grind on that monster ledge. I feel I gave a bit of my heart in those tricks, that’s what I brought to the blading table. As a whole, the entire Fiziks project was amazing. Tom Hyser really brought something new to the game and I was proud to be apart of it.
You were part of the OG Senate team too, what was that experience like?
Being apart of the OG Senate team was RAD! Senate took me all over the world, and being able to skate with all the people I looked up to was amazing. I still feel like a kid when I talk to Arlo. Ha ha!
Throughout your career you have had a lot of different boot sponsors — from Razors, to Rollerblade, to K2, and I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting. What was your favorite experience as far as how you were treated as an athlete? And overall, what is your favorite blade of all time?
Throughout my skating career I skated for a couple companies. If I’m honest, almost all of them. Skating was developing so quickly but no one had a good skate. K2 had a couple okay models, but they were limited on what tricks you could really do. Eventually new skates came out with new plastics, only then you were limited on your tricks because your skate couldn’t do it. I eventually had a certain skate to do certain tricks with!
The best skate companies I skated for were Rollerblade and Razors. As far as being professional, K2 was pretty cool. Mike Powell is an awesome guy. He really hooked it up at K2 when I rolled for them. Vashion Island is a cool place to visit.
My favorite blade of all time? That’s a tough one! At the moment I’m rocking Valos with Blank liners and they are pretty sweet. It’s hard for me to say, man, because I’m limited to what my leg will let me skate. After breaking my leg it’s been hard to find the perfect one.
Have you ever thought of going back to the basics, back to the OG molds that were tried and tested? Examples being Classic thrones, Cults, Majestics, etc.?
You know, I’ve always loved the classic boots. The old Thrones hurt my feet though. For some reason that boot shape doesn’t agree with my feet. But the Majestic 12s are dope, same with Cults. I’m juiced on the newer-style boots though; I’m excited to see what’s still to come.
Are you still getting blades when you need them, or are you like the rest of us normals now and have to purchase them?
I still get free skates, but I bought my last pair of blades from my buddy Matt Morrison at SDSF shop. Always got to support the homies.
Do you remember the Millwaukee ASA events? Do you remember (along with Pat Lennen) helping a little guy in the Am comp figure out how to get speed to gap off the platform and out of the course? If so, that was me. If not, then no worries. Ha ha.
I have goood memories of the Milwaukee ASAs. I have family from Milwaukee, and every time I got the chance to go there I took it. My mom was from there as well as a lot of family on her side. The comps were amazing and the festival was even more gnarly. Honestly, I think ASA Milwaukee was the best events that ASA ever put on. I’m sorry, Chris, I don’t remember helping you. Please forgive me! In several ways that comp was just a blurr! I won one of them though and that was awesome. Raged hard in Milwaukee.
No worries, had to ask! Who were your favorite people to session with back in the day, and today?
Some of my favorite people to sesh with back in the day were the Realm homies. I mean, I always skated with my friends Robert, Louie and Beau, and a few other guys back in the day. We used to drive up to OC and chill with Dave Paine and Ryan Zlockie, then crash out at their pad. We’d meet up with anyone who was living in OC or Costa Mesa at the time and skate what was probably the best mini ramp ever made. It was in the warehouse, so while the guys were taking orders the homies would skate. We had some good sessions on that ramp with Roadhouse, Neil Semar, Champion, anybody that lived in OC or Costa Mesa. Those were truly some of my favorite times from back in the day. Today I still skate with Robert Lievanos and Louie Zamora, and sometimes Beau Cottington when he can come out… ha ha! That’s just us old guys, but I still skate with some young bloods that kill it. Alex Wick and Russell Day for example. These guys are the future, and every time I skate with them they remind how old I’m getting!
Who are your favorites to watch these days, pro or am?
The skaters that get me juiced are Chris Haffey, Brian Arogon, CJ Wellsmore, Alex Broskow, Ian McLeod, Demetrios George. When I see these guys kill shit it really makes me proud to be a blader.
You’re one of the few pros that had a very long career, spanning most of the blading timeline (if not all). Is there anything you appreciate more these days than when you were younger?
Is there anything you like more about the industry now as opposed to back in the day?
That’s a tough one. There’s a complex answer to that. There are a few things these days that are really good that we didn’t have back in the day like 100% blader-owned skate companies for starters, that’s HUGE. Blader-owned shops that, along with selling other products, still stay loyal to their roots and sell aggressive blades. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though because now we are older and more conditioned. Ten or 15 years ago we just had kids that skated for big corporate companies and that was that — all corporate money. I was one of many that skated for the machines. Having corporate money is good when you can control it. When our industry was thriving we had a lot of outside corporate love. In the words of Martha Stewart, “Thats a good thing!” Ha ha. I feel that 15 years ago our backbone was only made up of that corporate interest, and that’s why we didn’t have much in the way of a solid core. Us bladers caught a lot of shit for that, and thats okay. Blading was WAY too new and WAY too young to have that kind of responsibility. Almost all corporate money is out of the industry now and it’s not all that bad. There are still some in the mix, but nothing like back then.
Now it’s different… sorta. I mean the stigma is the same, no one likes you in action sports if you are a blader. Nothing has changed really in that regard, but as a community I feel we have grown. That’s my perspective. I’m really excited about that and how we are still evolving. More people are opening their arms and showing love. Kids that used to blade are grown and carrying the support and love with them. Some people like to see skating because it’s been around for a while and now it’s popping up again in different forms. I like that.
I know you have been on and off with injuries for a while now. What’s that like? You healing up? Come out with us on a Sunday Session and get it back!
You know, as far as injuries go I’ve done my fair share of damage. I will go down the list, from worst to least painful:
1. Broken left Tib and Fib w/metal rod still in leg and five screws
2. Broken left knee cap w/torn patilla tendant and damaged ACL
3. Broken right ankle w/ torn ligs
4. Torn left ankle ligaments
5. Hematoma in left hip that had to be drained
6. Cracked open back of my head, got knocked out and needed seven staples plus a CAT scan
7. Three knee fluid drains
8. And one hemorrhoid. Yes, one HUGE hemorrhoid from splitting rails all these years. Be careful, kids! When you skate those rails and it hits you right in the chocolate starfish you’re tearing the tissue inside the wall of your asshole. Ha ha! Be sure you have good heath insurance.
I need a hot tub and a good active routine. If I don’t feel like killing it at the session I will just skate around for the exercise and stretch. The past couple times I went out with Alex Wick and Russell, if i wasn’t feeling it i would just skate around. I need some powerblade frames so I can go the distance. Those things are no joke.
I’ve heard rumors of you and Alex Wick out on secret missions every Saturday. You guys been going hard? Is there a comeback in the works?
No, there’s no comeback in the works… not now at least. Right now I’m just a fan of blading and keep it mellow. I’m not trying to get sponsored! Skating the local spots and filming whenever some gnarly shit happens makes me happy. I just got a little 720p GoPro and I’m stoked. I need to heal in some departments before I give my all again for a section or big project. On the weekends I meet with the bros and skate. We’re weekend warriors, basically.
Even though I don’t have any projects I’m personally filming for, my friend Alex is on the come up! So look out for him destroying your local park or spot. He’s been filming for some up and coming projects, so keep your eyes on him. He KILLs shit.
Any shout outs?
First, I would like to thank you guys with ONE mag for giving me this interview. I would like to thank my dad, Glenn Schrijn, for his support. I’d like to thank all my fans and friends for the love over the years. Thank you, blading, for giving me peace of mind.
Wow, Eric. Thanks for talking with us and ripping hard for all these years. Look forward to seeing you in the streets!
Portrait by Jeff Linett
We really have been blessed being part of the first generations of rollerbladers. All these videos in this interview have costed me so much hours of procrastination at work and so much nostalgia… great times!
Eric thanks for being an inspiration….big fan of your blading..I learned a lot of tricks back in the day because I saw you doing them..keep rolling.