The (Bad) Archetypes of Rollerblading Who Will Fuck You Over In Competition.

16 06 2009

I recently attended the third Brampton, Ontario Skatepark Competition and after mingling a bit and giving the usual “hellos” and “good to see you(s)” I sat down to enjoy what was to be a fantastic day of skating. To say the least, I wasn’t disappointed….for the most part. Now I am not going to get into judging, or names of who I felt should have done better or worse, because that is all subjective, and who the fuck am I to hold the ultimate opinion on that matter? But what I will touch on is some disturbing trends I have seen throughout rollerblading (not just this competition).

This year the Brampton Competition had a much larger turn out of amateur (Am) skaters than last year. It was great to see, it let me know that rollerblading’s attempt to expand is having an effect and it’s all because a dedicated core group of rollers.* Having said that, with the exception of a handful of the rollerbladers competing in Am, I was bored to tears watching them. Now reading that you might think I am a dick.  I know these people are only Ams and I cannot expect them to be the next Chris Haffey, and I don’t. I also don’t expect it to be the most exciting rollerblading I have ever witnessed either. I also am not going to fault a roller for entering a competition with a limited skill set.** However, what I can expect are that the people who have a broader skill set get the acknowledgement they deserve. I literally saw one person, let’s call him “Predictable Pete,” do three tricks (in different variations) and place fairly high in the competition. At one point I was calling out Pete’s tricks before he was even doing them, I got 4 out of the 5 tricks correct. I didn’t think good Ol’ Pete would move on to the next round. He did, and even placed fairly well. At which point I remember thinking to myself, “What the Fuck?”  Because Pete beat out a well rounded rollerblader who had a decent run and utilized most of the park.

Then I saw the archetypal balls to the wall skater. You know the one. He will do full-cab sweatstance down the 1000 foot kinked rail, with jagged rocks and crack needles on both sides, but he looks just as lost and confused as a little kid who misplaced his parents at a mall when you put him on a ledge or any smaller object. Let’s call him “Death Wish Wally.” Death Wish Wally has 0 style, a limited amount of tricks, and an aptitude to impress the crowds with his 360 variation into a grind (no matter how many times he tried it before). Luckily, Death Wish Wally did not place very well in this particular competition, but trust me, I have been to far too many competitions when he placed FAR higher then he should because he landed that sketchy pencil spin 540 (insert grind here) on his twelfth attempt. Don’t get me wrong; balls are a great thing to have when rolling, but so is style and variation of tricks and objects, something that seems to go unnoticed a little too often.

Flips will place you higher than you should have placed. If you’re in a park competition it is bound to happen. You can throw out as many switch-ups and hard grinds as you want, and chances are, they will largely go unnoticed next to a kid who has mastered a backflip (or frontflip). I am going to call this archetype “Franky Flips.” Franky Flips usually sucks a fairly large dick at grinding obstacles, but have no worry he has the flip in his arsenal of tricks! And because everyone is used to seeing grinds, no matter how hard they are, they are more impressed with his flipping ability. You know that joke every rollerblader has about a little kid asking him to do a backflip at a park? Well stop rolling your fucking eyes when “Junior” asks it; didn’t you know his innocent question holds the key to rollerblading glory? Get the fuck out there and learn to flip things. In all seriousness though, it looks like rollerblading hasn’t gotten passed its flipping phase…1998 here we come again (get your DeLoreans ready)!

With these three archetypes of rollerblading working together does the well rounded rollerblader stand a chance? Well the answer is yes, kind of. The thing is, a good rollerblader needs to incorporate all aspects of skating, the grinds, the variation, the ballsyness, the creativity, and even the fucking flips (but with moderation, PLEASE). If you can incorporate all these aspects you will rise above shitty and gimmicky rollerbladers. The problem is this takes a fairly long time to accomplish, which is usually why the “Pro” competitions are much better. They can incorporate all these aspects into their style and it comes out looking really good. Another aspect that may save the well rounded blader in his early skating career is to know that you are competing against one trick ponies. They have their shtick, but once its done they have nothing left. This won’t necessarily help you in competition, where the limited time span allows the one trick pony to show off his shallow trick vocabulary and still impress others, but you will have a one up in filming for edits/ sections, as you will have more tricks on more obstacles. And let’s face it, in the rollerblading community; unless the competition is one of the more massively popular ones, edits go much farther in promoting yourself.

Now let me get a few things strait before someone starts crying and pointing the finger at me because they can’t handle another person’s opinion. First, I am just using the Brampton Competition as an example, for broader problems. Not all the problems presented here were present at the competition; I am just generalizing for the sake of my argument. Second, I don’t blame any of the judges, they only have limited time to watch so many skaters, and they can’t possibly see/know everything. Third, last time I competed I was in Am, and I know  I have 0 style, I will never deny that fact, I try to fix it but my skating just seems to come out the way it does. What I do have is a sizeable vocabulary of tricks on a rather large amount of obstacles. So if you want to personally attack me go right ahead, trust me I am far harsher on my own skating then you will ever be. Lastly, it may look like I am attacking flips, ballsy skaters, and people who mastered only a few trick , but get your heads out of your asses and read between the lines. It’s all about moderation and broad trick vocabulary (well it looks like I am attacking the last group, but fuck them, I hate them anyway).

-Nick. D


*Thanks goes out to Dave Ghent who took his time to organize such a great event.

** In fact I promote it. It can push a roller to become better, and inspire him / her as well.




16 responses

16 06 2009

I agree 100%
Competitions are usually won on a single aspect. One contest could be won by spin to win, another won by the “best” switch-up (I use “best” loosely as some consider the more tricks linked together to be the best over the difficulity of a few tricks linked together), and others are won on style alone (rare). It’s hard to judge a contest on every single aspect as we tried to do in our first HSW, and this is unfortunate.

16 06 2009

definatly agree, im happy somebody has finally said it.

16 06 2009

The only thing that upset me in this article is the fact that you related DeLoreans to the year 1998..

C’mon Nick, we all know DeLoreans were the hot shit in the 80’s.

16 06 2009

haha fair enough Dub you raise an excellent point.

16 06 2009

although i must voice my opinion that mike d is an amazing skater, i love watching that guy skate, absolutly nuts, i think he definatly deserved first.

13 03 2012

I just love to skate win or lose at least I had fun I will be skating harder this year though. If you would like to know my opinion about mr franky flipeo he could have been a better sport and grind a rail.

17 06 2009

i hear ya about “Death Wish Walley”…….. there was one guy in the comp that slamed so many times i couldnt watch any more……………….. lol…

17 06 2009

I thought the delorean comment was directed towards the classic |Back to the Future time machine.

oh well..
guess dub had you there!

17 06 2009

haha it was a back to the future comment. I love that movie. But Dub is definitely right on this one. DeLoreans were the hot shit in the 80s.

17 06 2009

This was a great read. I love rollerblading, but sometimes I really hate rollerbladers. Hopefully this post will educate the newer skaters and also inspire the more established skaters to spread the good word. Keep it up.

17 06 2009
Adam P BRO

I agree with most of this. Bashing the skaters that give it there all is kinda weak, but I guess its just 1 persons opinion. Next years comp should be even better!

18 06 2009

i wasnt there,(currently in quebec) but its completly true what nicks opinions are, i like how nick is being that sole character who isnt afrade to put him self out there to try and inprove this sport he loves so much

18 06 2009
Aleks Siekierski

Im still pissed i had to miss the comp to study for exams. It sounds like a good time. Its not just rollerblading comps that these archetypes apply to. Ski comps are loaded with ballsy talentless kids trying to get recognized on

21 06 2009
Nick’s Response To K-God’s Article « Canadian Roll

[…] advice). It seems that a lot of people deem my opinions to be valid (evidence can be found HERE, HERE and HERE and those are just a few).  Lastly, to answer you question of why I put up the offer to […]

14 06 2010
Maple Idler

Another Excellent post, I will be sure to save this post in my Newsvine account. Have a awesome day.

13 03 2012

Wondering can a Franky flip turn into a Predictable Pete? would it make me a dick if I called out his flip every time he goes to do one probably would.

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