There’s this guy I know who wears what most would call women’s pants. He also doesn’t shave much, sports a mullet and enjoys the color pink. He gets away with all of this by calling himself an artist! Well, he’s always said, “Randy Spizer was the first true rollerblader.” Meaning that the other pros at the time, who were much older than Randy, came from other action-sport backgrounds. Randy was a true roller, and the guy who wears girls’ pants was right! Randy skated and traveled all over the world, and he has inspired a planet just by being himself! — Mike Opalek
“To me, Roadhouse is rollerblading. There is no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for him. I bought a red Yankees hat when I was 12 because I saw him wear one at a NISS contest. He was my hero. A few years later he took me under his wing and I pretty much lived with him for a while. Skating with your hero on a regular basis can be a rather motivating situation to be in. He will always be one of my favorite people on the planet, and rollerblading is well off having had him lead the generation following him. He still holds it down every time I see him blade, and I hope it’s not very long before I see it again!” — Chris Haffey / professional blader / Pasadena, Ca.
“Roadhouse has always been a good friend and rolling inspiration to me. He taught me how to illustrate, flat spin, skate fast, and most importantly… how to fall and not get hurt. That is really important when you want to take your skating to the next level, and have fun while doing it. This guy used to come and pick me up in San Diego at 3 am just so we could shred the next day… He’s definitely ONE of the illest of all time.” — Louie Zamora / Rolling Icon / Escondido, Ca.
“I just remember him as the little spaz kid who could skate nonstop for hours and make all kinds of loud high-pitched noises as he skated. He’d do royales down big stuff in his big-ass pants. Then his noises got deeper and he grew up some and started doing huge soul grinds down crazy stuff. He was a computer dork that got hot girls somehow.” — Andy Kruse / icon and grad student / Colorado State University / Fort Collins, Colo.
“Randy and ‘VG3’ changed skating forever. But despite this, and all of his other contributions to skating, what best characterizes Randy in my mind is that he continued to skate and learn and push long after that “golden child of the sport” era. So many good skaters just up and quit when they’re no longer front-page news. That’s what I’ve always admired the most about Randy; his authenticity.” — Shane Coburn / creative director / Xsjado
“Roadhouse represented something new for little devotees like me. The pre-Randy generation of skaters was very ‘adult’ and seemed to take skating very seriously. Arlo, for example, had this very aggressive, intense and serious image. Then Randy came along and looked like he was simultaneously playing and skating better than everyone else. A lot of young skaters could really identify with his whole style. (I think Senate captured his image perfectly with the wildly popular Crayon-colored anti-rocker wheels.)” — Nick Riggle / icon and philosopher / New York City
“Since I knew inline skating, Randy Spizer is one of the pros I really admire. With his style and when he rolls on the street, he just makes me want to go out and do a trick like him.” — Worapoj Boonnim / pro rollerblader / Bangkok, Thailand
“Randy Spizer is one of the funnest dudes to hang out with. I once went fishing with him in a fountain outside a hotel in Florida. Randy rigged up a line made from a skate lace and a paper clip and caught a fish. This dude should still be out there rolling as a pro. He made rolling look fun. I am sure he could still produce the hottest footage.” — Tom Hyser / Skatepile founder and icon / Atlanta, Ga.
“In 1994, many people thought a rollerblading star would need perfect teeth. And for a time they were right. But Roadhouse proved us wrong, now you don’t even need teeth to get sponsored.” — Brooke Howard-Smith / TV personality / New Zealand
“Best soul grind in the game, hands down.” — Billy O’Neill / professional blader / New York City
Royale / Huntington Beach, CA / 2003
How old are you, and how did it all start?
I’m at the age of 28. I got my first pair of rollerblades two months before my 12th birthday. I had to beg my dad to buy me an early birthday present, some Zetra Blade 303s. They came with a brake; I used a hacksaw to cut that off. Then they became street skates!
What is Randy Spizer doing now?
Randy Spizer is now currently working as an interactive designer/developer. I work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. My place of employment goes by the name of Fuse Interactive, and we are located in Laguna Beach, Calif. Work is pretty fresh, especially now that Sayer Danforth is working at Fuse with me. In my free time away from computers I’m co-chillin’ in Costa Mesa with my girlfriend, Gabrielle. On top of that I’ve been doing a bunch bass fishing. I bought a boat… then I bought a truck (which is backwards; I rented U-Hauls for a few months to tow the boat!), and now I’m currently fishing a saltwater bass fishing series by the name of S.W.B.A. (www.saltwaterbassanglers.com).
How often do you get to skate these days?
When there is a contest in town! Or when I go to the local skate park here in Costa Mesa, and sometimes to the Thursday Night Skate in Lake Forest. Or if Matt Moya can get me outta the house. (Laughing.) So not as often as I would like… because every time I have time to skate I’m at Catalina on my boat, fishing with the homies Bino and Justin Renyolds.
What’s skating like now, compared with 10 years ago?
Well, 10 years ago I’d say rollerblading was in its prime for the amount of rollerbladers in the industry. But I think now rollerblading has matured to where tricks need to be compared to then. The tricks nowadays, people can’t just put on rollerblades and be pro in six months, like you could 10 years ago… spin it to win it!
What and who inspired you at such a young age?
Are you talking about when I was 16 doing the rollerblading thing? Well, at that time I didn’t have time to think of who inspired me… I was too busy playing video games and rollerblading. Only thing I thought about then was, “What big ledge am I going to royale?”
Did you look up to anyone when you first started getting noticed?
(Laughing.) Not really… I just wanted to skate. I was always mad at Brian Konoske, though. When I was in ninth grade I moved to Cypress, Calif. I started to go to BK’s high school, and all I wanted to do was skate with him but he was too busy going snowboarding. So I became friends with his friend Justin Renyolds, who happened to be the skateboarder kid who named me Roadhouse, who happens to be one of my best fishing homies now. We somehow reunited six years after higher school and now we slay bass together. It’s funny how the world works…
Who was your favorite sponsor?
Favorite sponsor would have to have been Senate. Because of them I don’t think I did laundry for like two years.
What made them so powerful back in the day?
The Roadhouse Crayola wheels, Arlo being a genius, Mark Heineken’s business, Brooke’s mouth and BK’s grind plates.
Favorite competition you ever went to?
I’d have to say Bercy in France in 1996, I couldn’t believe I was in France skating with the likes of Tom Fry from Australia, or Chiaki Ito from Japan. I saw people like Rene Hulgreen, and Arlo beat me up there, too. Can’t forget that part.
You were a part owner in two companies. What happened to Esoteric and Second Regime?
Well, two different stories. With Esoteric we just had financial issues, and business issues with our distributor, money disappearing, and a lack of work on my part. I learned a lot, and things would be a lot different if I started another company, that is for sure. Learned not to trust people and to make sure you have contracts for everything. (Laughs.) Second Regime ended on a different note; we just didn’t think it made sense for all the work we were doing and at the end of the year only make a few grand each. Industry was hurting and so was our paycheck. Just was time to move on.
What are a few things you look back on and have learned while growing up in the skating industry?
I’ve learned that all good things come to an end at one time or another. I used to think that I’d be a pro rollerblader my whole life. I was obviously wrong about that one. (Laughing.) I still love rollerblading more than anything, but when you are 25 years old making $1,500 a month and your rent alone is $750, and you are being told you’re going to get a another pay cut because they wanna hire 10 European rollerbladers for $100 a month instead of paying you as a pro skater/co-owner, and then tell you about doing it for the love and what the kids these days would do just for a pair skates, well, I figured it was time to find a real job if I wanted anything out of life.
How involved are you in the industry these days?
I wish I were more involved in the rollerblading industry, but my involvement is pretty much calling Brian Shima trying to get free Nimhs (which happen to be really good skates, I might say), and then convincing him to come up to Costa Mesa so we can go fishing. He’s an avid bass fisherman as well.
Fishing is obviously your passion now. What does it mean to you?
Bass fishing has been my new outlet. So much to learn, so little time. There is a lot of water to cover.
Is there any comparison in rollerblading and fishing competitions; mind set, preparation, etc.?
Yes, for sure, same mind set, in-it-to-win-it kinda thing. You need to pre-fish spots, like warming up on the course the day before the competition. In rollerblading you’d plan out your line, well your line now would be like your float plan — the spots you plan to fish. For skate prep you’d make sure you have new bearings and wheels, with tackle prep it’s new line and serviced reels. You have to make sure your batteries are charged and that you have enough gas. You’d be surprised; people sometimes don’t make the weigh-in because they ran out of gas! (Right, Bino?) In it to win it!
If there is one thing you could change in your career, what would it be?
To be honest I wouldn’t change much because I’m happy as I am right now.
Favorite highlights from your rollerblading days?
Waking up every day no earlier than 2 p.m. Traveling. All the friends I made.
I’d like to shout out to Brian Shima and Jon Elliott for keeping Nimh skates on my feet; Jon Julio for being a soldier; I gotta say thanks to the SWBA for keeping me busy now that I don’t rollerblade as often. To my partner Bino in the SWBA (he’s also a rollerblader; Carson, Calif. represent), we are trying to take down some tournaments this year. Also to my lovely lady, Gabrielle; without her I’d probably be broke, but I would have a nice boat! And to ONE magazine for not forgetting about me.
More quotes and photos in ONE Issue #13.
Interview © 2009 Mike Opalek for ONE magazine
Photos © 2009 Brian Konoske
Product shot by Kevin Gillan