Hello Mr. Northway, how are you?
Hey Chris, I’m doing well.
Great. Let’s start with how old you are, where you’re from, and where you currently reside?
I’m 31 years old from Bakersfield, California, and currently live in Los Angeles with my amazing wife, Sofia, and two cats: Texas and Fuzz.
How many years have you been blading? Can you remember what got you hooked?
I’ve skated since 8th grade; 1995. My buddies Brian Gifford and Aaron Daniels got me hooked after we got bored with skateboarding. I was interested after a local shop had a demo of snakeboarding and rollerblading that featured AJ Jackson and Brian Smith.
Do you remember the first blades you started to progress with into the freestyle realm, or our current understanding of “blading”?
Lightning TRS followed by Roces Majestic 12.
A majority of your early footage were in Razors; what was your relationship with them?
I split from Razors to skate for RB around 2002. However, I’ve had a pair of Aragon 2 skates for the last 4 years and loved them.
How did your career develop from first sponsor, to flow and am, and then pro? Who were the sponsors?
Intuition was my first real sponsor, and The Mick pushed to get me on Razors flow and drive exposure. During my time involved with blading I rode for Ucon, Ground Control, Black Fabric, Rollerblade, and Undercover. Every so often I would get hooked up from the good folks at Fifty-50, Eulogy, Fiction and USD, too.
The later majority of your footage can be seen in Rollerblades. What was your relationship like with them? What prompted the eventual departure?
Rollerblade was a short but awesome ride. Alex, Farmer and Frank made it fun to tour, despite how much I disliked the blades. Then RB had some unexpected and drastic budget cuts that affected 80% of the team.
You’re currently riding Razors again, is this due to the familiarity of the boot? Do you have an all-time favorite mold, model, or setup?
I’ve always appreciated the simplicity and rawness of Razors, but recently I’ve worked with The Mick to create a shop catalog for Intuition and in return got my dream blades: Valo B Smith blades with Bailey Eulogy wheels, Stockwell Themgoods bearings, and I wanted Farmer Youth frames but they were sold out so I grabbed some GCs. This past Saturday I broke them in with McMullen and Ray from Long Beach at the ThemGoods shred session at Paramount Skatepark. These skates have the best craftsmanship and quality I’ve ever ridden; love them.
I think my favorite footage of you was in all the “Battle My Crew” videos. Were those fun to shoot? What are your thoughts on the current “Battle my Crew” video in progress?
“BMC” era was definitely a fun time traveling around California with my Bakersfield homies — Jeff, Marc, Billy, and Tyler. Every weekend we would look forward to getting out of town to grab clips with Stockwell, Rachard, Radebaugh, Martinho, Haffey, the Mcleods, BCAM, Mike Leaf, Ballslap… the list goes on. I heard DAP is working to bring that back but I haven’t followed it much. I love the format though. I think it does a great job reflecting the overall strength of each city area and its crews.
Your section in “VG20” was by far your most recognized section. Would you say in the end this was also your favorite? Or is there another you’re happier with?
Dave did an amazing job with filming and editing, and I was really happy with how it turned out. But I think my favorite footage was the “Clip 2” USA Section.
You have always been a favorite of mine because of your taller stature and the amazing style you have with it. Have you ever had issues with it as a kid?
Never had to worry about height while growing up blading next to The Mick.
Tell us about some people that influenced you.
Folks that I was influenced by as times changed:
• Champion Baumstimler (unities)
• Louie / Randy / Shrijn (gods)
• Dominic Sagona (hops and soyales)
• Charlie Ashby (dopest style and trick selction)
• Jochen Smuda (smoothest at transitions)
• Brandon Mateer (on-impulse drive to do a tough trick)
• Rob G (control)
• Micha Yeager (way he skated short tap spots)
• Erik Bailey (Ben Davis style brown pants & front torques )
We know you pay attention still to who’s in the game. Who are some of your favorites to see blade?
My favorite skater right now is basically any kid from those “No Mans Land” edits. Currently my favorite pro is B Smith — classic style and just plain addicting to watch skate. My fave am is Keaton — dude has heart.
What was the process of your eventual retirement from the pro blade scene? Was it just a parallel with the overall downward regression of the entire industry? Do you think you would have stayed around longer if the industry was thriving?
After skating for RB I went back to college to study design for a few years. Once that was completed I partnered up with a guy and built an interactive design agency a block away from from Intuition Skate Shop. During those times I saw a lot of pro names drop off and new kids like Bolino, Chase, Coward, Obedoza, Stokely, Soichiro, Sizemore, Montre, Soderburg and others step up to really carry the torch. There’re many others doing their part to keeping blading strong, but those guys round out my vision of what rollerblading should be like.
I could see myself being involved with the industry, but at the time I didn’t have any skills to offer other than skating. Lately, when I’m not absolutely crushed with work for eBay, I’ve been helping Chuck Caton and Obedobe develop some super awesome blading related projects.
When skating with you this past year (featured in this ONE edit) you seemed to not have lost a step. Any chance we could see another Northway section in the future?!
That would be amazing. Well, thanks Ryan. Any shoutouts?
I’d like to shout out my rollerblading friend, Josh Underwood, who recently passed away from cancer. Also, everyone that works hard to keep that nostalgic feeling of rollerblading alive and those making the right moves to progress it.