Balance #6

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Balance rolling magazine #6

URIDE.IT KSPS 2010 FAB CREW K2 VARSITY REVIEW JAMES BEARY MIKE POWELL BLAKE TAYLOR EAST SIDE JAM PHILLIP MOORE INFERNAL CLOTHING


www.balancerollingmag.com The best free online rolling magazine now has a permanent home!

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Vol. 1, Issue #6

In this issue...

Editor & Art Director Vincent Morretino

James Beary & Phillip Moore

KSPS 2010

Scene Report: Rochester, NY

Louie Zamora

FAB Crew

Mike Powell

Infernal Clothing Lookbook 2010

K2 Varsity review

Michael Braud

Blake Taylor

Company Profile: Uride.it

East Side Jam

Contributing photographers...

This Issue’s Writers Michael Braud Al Dolega Charles Dunkle Nate Hall Vincent Morretino Trace Taylor Bartek Sadura Anton Vinokurov

Got it......ill give em a ring

Erik Allas Seattle, WA

www.erikallas.com

Logo Design: 6Cents - FAB CREW Fill: Vincent Morretino

Piotrek Gackiewicz

On the cover: Steve Bruning Disaster Pole Tap into the Street Photo: Jim Haschmann

Lublin, Poland

www.gackiewicz.pl

Danny Gantchev Findlay, OH

www.flickr.com/photos/enigmathemystic

Josh Hayes

Joseph R. Rebolledo

www.flickr.com/photos/joshmhayes

www.josephphotostudio.com

Michelangelo Loreti

Cody Smith

www.flickr.com/photos/mloreti10

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42087675@N06

Vincent Morretino

Trace Taylor

Chattanooga, TN

Tallahassee/Naples, FL

Indianapolis, IN

www.flickr.com/photos/62754685@N00

Indianapolis, IN

Birmingham, AL

Birmingham, AL

www.tracetaylor.com

All photos and interviews are the property of the respective writers and photographers that created them. They were not purchased by Balance rolling magazine, they were donated out of kindness. Please respect the property of those involved with this magazine. Contributions keep this publication alive. Opinions expressed in bylined articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Balance magazine. Love, hate and suggestions should be sent to info@balancerollingmag.com


Got it......ill give em a ring

This issue marks the one year anniversary of Balance, a milestone that I am very proud of. Although this magazine is still in its infancy, the evolution of what it started as, compared to what it has become, is undeniable. As a completely unfunded publication, the staggering amount of generosity from contributors has pumped life-blood into the veins of Balance. I send e-mails all over the world to people that I’ve never met before with a proposal to work with me, and they organize their scene or a select few individuals who work together to get things done and deliver to me a quality product. You may be curious about who I am, and why I am in any position to have this public platform. More than likely, you are not and couldn’t care less. Get to the skating, you say! Well, I don’t have an editorial in every issue, it’s just not me. So, here’s a chance to see things through my eyes, and I’ll leave you to explore the issue. I’m one of those people that actually get to do what they love every day and I get paid for it, astonishingly enough. I’m the graphic designer for a legal organization in the state of Indiana. I don’t really get the opportunity to exercise my creativity in a way that I’d like to. Most of my work is publication related, and very tedious. So, in an effort to hone my skills in a fun and constructive way, I decided to start an online magazine that takes a different perspective on individuals in and around our sport. My time has passed; my dreams of becoming pro are long forgotten. Hopefully, my position in this industry will open doors for others to excel and move closer

to their dreams, if only a few steps. This magazine is about what I want, and what I want is very concrete and easy to understand. I want to introduce people on the fringe of our community; people that share my passion for rollerblading and have a strong sense of positivity and dedication. I want prospective sponsors to take notice of talented individuals; I want businesses to see what future employees are capable of if only given the chance to shine, by expressing themselves with their words and ideas. I want people to be considered and remembered. This magazine is my contribution to the best positive influence I’ve ever had in my life. I have made connections with great people who are more than happy to share their stories and memories with me. I would like to thank Michael Bayr and Stefan Kalt for supporting my ideas and also for helping to promote this magazine through the Be-Mag web site. They feel that this industry needs to have competition within itself to keep everyone on their toes and avoid falling into a sense of complacency. Support the supporters. Go to www.be-mag.com and turn off your web browser’s ad blocking add-ons. Click a few ads, get a subscription to the print magazine or buy some Be-Mag brand clothing. Help put money into the pockets of some of the most dedicated people in our industry. Your efforts help fund an iconic staple in our growing sport. Now, get reading! There’s a lot of amazing content fighting for your attention over the next 83 pages.


Text: James Beary & Phillip Moore Photos: Cody Smith Layout - Vincent Morretino


My name is James Beary and I’m 20 years old. I currently live in Birmingham, AL and I’ve been skating for 8 years. I grew up skating with Cole Bunn, Jimmy Henderson, Philip Moore, Nathan Hancock, Daniel Pope, Chris Gulledge and Trace Sexton. Some goals I have for the next 5 years is to graduate college, find a job in my field and just live life. A few local skating heroes that I look up to are Charles D., Rob T., Trace T. and Matty S. My three favorite local skate spots are Hommewood straight ledge, the Skank a.k.a. Sanctuary and the Avondale handicap rail. The people I admire most in the skating industry are Charles and Shawn for making things happen with their own money and Isaac Oltsman at Euology wheels. If it wasn’t for skating, I’d be playing more music. The level of support from family in regards to my skating is pretty good from both parents. More of my skating can be found here: www.vimeo.com/10201943

Front Farv


Top Acid, hop to Back Royale, Safety 180 out

Soul


My name is Philip Moore and I’m 24 years old. I currently live in Birmingham, AL and I’ve been skating for 10 years. I grew up skating with Jimmy Henderson, Jake Thrasher, Clay Brewster, Aaron Chapel (R.I.P.), Michael Harmon, Brett Kerkoff, Daniel Pope and Chad Vickers. Some goals I have for the next 5 years are to finish school, find full-filling employment and become an asset to the community in whatever way possible.

A few local skating heroes that I look up to are Uncle Blake, Charles D., Matty S., Trace T., Garrett S., Rob T., and Gabe R. My three favorite local skate spots are the 16th St. fat rails, Avondale handicap rail and the Kelly Ingram Park ledges. The people I admire most in the skating industry are Casey B., Charles D. and a toss-up between Blake Taylor and Trace Taylor because they both do a lot to get the South more exposure.

If it wasn’t for skating, I’d be an entirely different person. Maybe I’d play sports, but since I’m black, let’s say jail or drugs just to cover all the bases. My parents are super supportive and understanding about the travelling aspect of skating, and also about my not having finished school yet while I’m trying to figure out my life. More of my skating can be found here: www.vimeo.com/13475775

Mute 540


Fastslide

Back Farv to 180 out


SCENE REPORT: Rochester, NY

“This is How We Rage” Nate Hall Photos by Jim Haschmann

Evenings begin at our coveted meeting spot: The Stoop. Yes, it truly is The Stoop; capitalization is necessary, for its title and reputation have become iconic to the rollerblading community here in Rochester, NY. I arrive later than the scheduled time to a group of bladers already in the process of stoopin’; and since the snow has gone back into hiding for a few (brief) months, we find ourselves itching to blade as much as we can—though there are, of course, occasions when our non-blading rage overpowers our collective blade-motivation. Yet, inevitably, we rally together, pack two or three cars with people, skates, and camera equipment, and proceed through the city in search of eccentricities. The Rochester landscape is littered with opportunities for the unusual, and we embrace each as it presents itself; such is the story of any crew seeking new and interesting street spots—or, as we call it, raging. A quick example: pulling up to a bridge spanning the Genesee River, my befuddled look gains Tim’s attention. He looks at me and simply says, “Rage.” And his reply couldn’t have been more potent. He was (and is) preparing to rage.

This is roughly the section of the article where the aberrant meaning surrounding this concept of rage might be best explored. Yesterday I thumbed through Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary in search of the definition. Rage lives within the heart of Rochester rollerblading. Rage was defined as “enthusiasm or excitement, esp. at its height,” which knits neatly with our philosophy. Little is accomplished in our small, but growing, blade community without the guidance of rage. When breaking down this definition, one can become further exposed to the scene here in Rochester. We remain steadfast in our enthusiasm for rollerblading. With many of us reaching or surpassing our midteenth birthday as rollerbladers, one might anticipate some of the love for what we do (and the passion with which we do it) to dissipate over time. However, the opposite seems to be the case with bladers from Rochester. Our rage carries with it a method of growth similar to that of red wine: it simply gets better with age. At twenty-four years old, I am the most comfortable with blading I have ever been. I’ve never felt so close to my friends and our city than I do right now,


Tim Adams



Steve Bruning - Disaster Monkey Plant


in this very moment. The love, respect and admiration for Rochester rollerblading propel us deeper into the essence of Rage. A continually growing community, spanning over six generations of skaters, also serves as a pillar for our scene. Without the durable foundation paved by the Shifty’s team in the mid-90s, later generations might have become confused, straying toward more “popular” action sports like skateboarding or BMX. Today’s young bucks showcase progression, dedication, and love through online edits and photos. To witness their progression over the years, blossoming into unique styles, and maintaining their devotion to our sport, is to see very clearly how bright the future is for rollerblading here in Rochester. I sincerely hope these young bucks recognize their role in all of this, and continue to do what they do.

Brandon Cripps - Cross Fish

Grant Hazelton Drop, roll, wallride to 180 Out

Meanwhile, the OGs are still strapping in for that timeless feeling. Although there is quite the age gap between our oldest and youngest bladers, we do our best to dissolve that barrier, adding a familial vibe to our scene. While skill level is never hated on, progression


and resilience are applauded. To see Jim Haschmann (photographer, local legend, and OG of Rage) lace trick after trick with iconic swagger is to witness how alive and strong the scene remains after all these years. Pair this with his ability to snap some of the freshest photos Rochester has ever peeped, and you get Simultaneous Rage—a common occurrence, documented for the world to see. Now we arrive at the second aspect of Rage: excitement. For the many who reside here or are affiliates of Rochester, there is always something exciting going on in the world of rollerblading; but within the past few years there has been somewhat of a snowball effect; and to be perfectly honest and blunt, it’s been fucking awesome. One might say the ball was formed when the original X-Dreams Skate Park (RIP) hosted the RFCC, and a star-studded cast of pros and ams piled into the park for an unforgettable event. The ball grew when Revolt, an annual street event, started to bring larger crowds to our city. These events, paired with Rochester crews

Tim Adams Topsoul

Steve Bruning - Disaster Truespin Mistrial


traveling around to various blading events in the Northeast and Midwest, solidified our city as a spot on the proverbial “Rollerblading Map”. This series of events might be considered the birth of the modernday Rage we’ve come to know and love.

Tim Adams

In recent years, with the fading of organized street events and rapid growth of online street skating edits, the snowball has been passionately redirected, kicked in its metaphorical ass with the launch of roccityskate. com (again, RIP). Launched as your basic Wordpress blog, it could be argued that its content set the standard for amateur blading edits, declaring, “We do not need to be recognized by this industry to do what we do; if need be, we will do it on our own.” And do it, we did. In hindsight, the mastermind behind all of this was another local OG, Mike Torres, to whom audiences still report regularly, hoping for this or that edit to be posted online. Any discussion of Rochester rollerblading without mention of Mr. Torres is offensively incomplete, as it is his work that has exposed us at our best. And this exposure continues. In fact, as you read this, you are probably awaiting his most recent project Slash and Dash featuring the best of Roc City and AZ. Roccityskate.com has come and gone, but the breadth and depth of coverage from Rochester, NY, let alone the progression of our blading itself, has continued to snowball. As we have forged our comfortable niche within the rollerblading community, we have grown to understand and appreciate its impact and how it has contributed to the ongoing evolution of street skating. As Tim Adams will tell you, “We don’t skate bullshit.” As was written in the beginning of this article, we seek out eccentricities in the urban landscape; we mark our territory (with the proper documentation); and we rage on to the next spot. If you’ve read this far, consider this your personal invitation to come see what’s brewing by the Genesee. If you have yet to taste the artery-clogging Garbage Plate or similarly health-conscious (yet equally delicious) Country Sweet Chicken, or if your boring-ass city has yet to whet a similar appetite—for a refreshing street or stoop session—we advise you to add our city to your list of places to visit. As our blading community continues to grow, so will our dedication to those things vital to our scene: our excitement, our enthusiasm, and, of course in the end, our Rage.

Nate Hall - Bank to Fish


Mike Torres - Mono Roll to 360 Out


Brandon Cripps - Drop Royale

Mike Torres - Kung Lao Transfer


Chris Walker - Backslide

Grant Hazelton - Kung Lao

(Continued on page 20)

Tim Adams - Pole Stall

17


Murals, photos and text: Sacred317 and 6Cents • Layout: Vincent Morretino In the graffiti subculture, everyone wants to be on a winning team. Some crews achieve fame through their numbers, others become known for the lengths they go to in order to be noticed. For some, however, the word crew doesn’t really describe what’s going on. More than a collection of fame-driven vandals, these crews are held together by more than just graffiti. FAB Crew consists of Sacred317 and 6Cents. While other crews are seeking growth and gaining members across cities and nations, the Fantastic Aerosol Brothers are content dividing work among the two of them. In the mid 90’s, Sacred317 and 6Cents were inspired by two major Indianapolis crews: MadeULook and IWS. These crews were the ones pushing style and technique on every level. IWS specifically had an unspoken code of hard work and high quality. As members of IWS, Sacred317 and 6Cents learned that you don’t just paint a piece, you consider the whole wall and everyone plays to their strengths to get it done. It was this foundation that established a standard of style and creativity, the hallmark of a FAB crew piece. Just as the name suggests, this crew has become a dynamic duo that know their own strength.

tion crew in the world than FX, the NYC legends after which FAB modeled themselves. The precision of an FX piece was second to none and this was the example FAB felt they had to live up to. Letters, characters, backgrounds, abstractions; all aspects of the art form had to be studied, practiced and eventually mastered. As they continued to play the game, Sacred317 and 6Cents became increasingly confident that this was realm in which they could win. The chemistry was perfect, and they set out to take the name to new heights by always pushing the style and technique one step further.

After twelve years as a team, FAB crew’s reputation precedes them. With strong connections to other writers throughout the United States, their work allows them to travel seemingly anywhere and have an opportunity to shine. Their work has been seen in Cincinnati, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and other cities in Texas, California, Pennsylvania and throughout the Midwest. As professionals, they have put their stamp on everything from T-shirts to websites and, of course, murals for clients including Kool, Red Bull, Asher Roth, Eiteljorg Museum and Blast Media. These guys keep a full schedule working as Sacred317 and 6Cents learned about art through graffi- designers by day and freelance artists by night. They ti. Meeting as art students in high school, they became believe that graffiti has made these opportunities posclose friends through blackbook sessions and painting sible and they continue to develop their own styles. missions. At the time, magazines were the best place They remain humble, grateful and eager for their next to see what was really happening in graffiti outside chance to show us all that you really do get back what of Indianapolis. There was no better piecing/producyou put into it.




Backside Royale





JAMES SHORT MEMORIAL SESSION august 28th new philadelphia, oh noon, 304-307 mill ave sw

toe roll and cess slide contests - $50 prizes food, music, raffles, product for sale, & more!














Photo: Cody Smith


Photos: As Noted Text: Michael Braud Layout: Vincent Morretino

The constant movement all around me, seemingly endless lines leading to even more waiting periods of unknown duration…do I care? Not really. The whole experience of a Greyhound ride is kind of interesting if you stop and take the time to appreciate it. At least it’s not predictable. It also gives me a lot of time to think. How did I get to this point? When did everything get so far out of hand? Am I really in control of this shit? What is it all leading up to? Some questions I have the answers for, but others I’ll probably ponder for the rest of my life. My bus is going for a ride down I-75 South. A 12 hour red eye to Orlando where I plan on doing a few stunts for the pilot of a Christian children’s television show that Joey and Sammy Chase hooked me up on. Their mom is quite an entrepreneur and she has been directing a straight to DVD show that has the possibility of getting picked up for a Christian television station. A lot of people ask me what my stunt career has been like and I’m sad to say it’s mostly been non-existent. Rollerblading and bartending/serving to pay the bills take up my time, and I don’t have loads of time and money in reserve to drive around doing stunt work for free on-call. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a few projects, and I hope this show will be the best I’ve worked on so far. Maybe it will lead somewhere, maybe it’ll just be something to enjoy and remember for the rest of my life. I’m not really worried about it because I’m enjoying myself with what I’m doing, and I’ll only be healthy enough to do it for so long. I’ve gone through a lot of different injuries over the years. Some have been more painful than others. Some injuries have been from mistakes in judgment; some were self inflicted, some from talking shit, and others from sheer stupidity. I will be the first to say that the image that most people have of me from We Are Valo, when I was 18 and high as shit, is not me at all. I really don’t like most pain. Sometimes it’s funny but most of the time it fucking sucks. I would love it if I never fell on my skates again, but that won’t happen so I’ve prepared myself to deal with what’s next. I’ve broken 13 or 14 bones in my body, my hand is permanently disfigured and most of my joints don’t work exactly right. People ask me if it was worth it, thinking I’d

rather have my body work like an average 23 year old. Fuck average. I wouldn’t change much because I’ve learned who I am through all of the bullshit I’ve put myself through, and I have a baller health insurance plan (thanks, Mom!). Rollerblading has given me almost all of what I have and has formed who I am today. It’s basically shaped everything about me from where I’ve lived, to who I know and hang out with and the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve gotten to go a lot of places in the United States, just recently taking a road trip from Florida to California. I’ve traveled all over the South almost constantly, and, as most people know, I was able to go on the Black Market Tour and see a few countries in Europe. I would love to say I’ve traveled more, that I’ve gotten to go all over the US, up the East Coast and see the rest of Europe and Asia, go to South America and immerse myself in the cultures there, but I’ve also never had any company show interest enough to make rollerblading more than just a hobby. That’s probably because I’ve never really been on a level of rollerblading deserving of that. A lot of people ask me about how my relationship with Valo deteriorated. I was on the Valo team for 2 years as an Am. I paid for my own ticket out to California to film for We Are Valo and ended up breaking my wrist on the first day of skating. Jon hooked me up with a ticket to Seattle in the fall to make it even on the California trip and I thought I was going somewhere with the company. I got two ads and everything was amazing. The next year when summer came around I tried to get Jon to split a ticket with me and he told me it wasn’t in the budget. I told him I’d pay for my own ticket and he said there wasn’t a good time for me to come out to California that summer. I got pretty depressed about it and effectively quit skating in November of 2006. I moved to Valdosta, GA and became a bartender and drank heavily, skating once or twice a month until the following summer of 2007. I wanted nothing to do with skating and only kept getting Valos because I knew Jon would keep sending them to me. He probably shouldn’t have, I was producing little to nothing and I couldn’t have cared less. I could have taken that opportunity to skate twice


as hard and really prove that I deserved something. Would it have helped? Maybe, maybe not, but at least I wouldn’t have given up and fucked myself over in the process. When I moved to Orlando, FL in 2007, I was relearning tricks I was able to do for years. I hadn’t had a video section out in almost 2 years and I still wasn’t skating that often, but the Tough Stuff crew has a funny way of making you want to drink a lot of beer and go skating before, afterward and while you’re drinking. During my time in Orlando I didn’t have much contact with Jon other than to ask him via AIM for new skates. Joey got on NIMH and I tried them out after he had given them as a hand-me-down to Johnny Boy and in a drunken stupor I had forgotten to bring my skates to a Tough Stuff film session. I liked them more than I liked my Valos and I thought I fit in better with the team. Jon is not only a great rollerblader, but a great business man. I understand now that I wasn’t a precious commodity in rollerblading and I didn’t really deserve anything at all, much less flights around the country and star treatment. At the time I thought I had made it in something I felt I had worked hard at, but I didn’t know what hard work was back then. Flash forward to now. I’m skating more than I have since I was 14 or 15, constantly trying to learn new tricks and push rollerblading in how spots are looked at. I have a Sony Z1U HD camera so I’m trying to film everyone and their brother for their own projects and stack shit for my hypothetical video that’s in the making. I try to keep up with my website southboundconnection.com to keep anyone who cares to look at it in the know about Southern skating. I’m traveling every couple weeks, when I can bum rides (don’t drink and drive) to different happenings around the South and other parts of the U.S. to help keep everything circulating, as well as trying to hold down a job and work on personal projects of my own. I’m a pretty busy person in general and I’m perpetually poor. Hopefully if this show takes off I can shake that and get some money to really blow rollerblading up in some way. We will see. Until then I guess I’ll just keep doing my thing, hanging out with all my friends and keep trying to enjoy this crazy shit. Shout out to Atlanta, Tough Stuff Crew, BAMA, Chattanooga, Tennessee, my parents, Carson Starnes for always hooking it up with a ride since I got my DUI, Trace Taylor for picking me up and taking photos of me, Josh Hayes for battling back problems to come out and shoot with me as well, NIMH, Kaspa, Low Life, the rest of The South and all the ladies out there.


Frontside to gap the stairs Photo - Trace Taylor


Soul Photo - Josh Hayes


Sweatstance Photo - Trace Taylor


Frontside Photo - Trace Taylor



Mute to Soul Photo - Josh Hayes


Text: Anton Vinokurov

Layout: Vincent Morretino

My friend Dmitriy Golubtsov and I came up with an With the current version of www.uride.it we have a idea about a website for action sports that would help social network with all of the basic features such as us to plan our sessions and road trips for competitions buddies, private messages and activity feeds. We’ve also as well as find spots, friends, tricks, gear and do other made it possible to share spots, add gear, create quick things which other web services have yet to offer. sessions (we call them “rides”) and big competitions, We took into consideration that social networks have add tricks, videos and communities. You can add combecome hugely popular over the last several years but ments, photos and videos to any page. Even though we also kept in mind that fully opened networks we’ve already done much, the current version is yet far already exist and most of them do not create the from what we have in mind. unique atmosphere of a real community. We want to make a useful web service for One of the key ideas was a possibility to share everyone who does action sports and asospots featured in a video on Vimeo. That’s cial network which will be carefully guarded why we implemented videos using Vimeo www.uride.it by the users themselves with the help of an and Youtube. Imagine, you watch an edit and invitational system. notice a nice spot, you go by a link on our site and there you can see all the spots from the edit At the beginning we brainstormed the idea and decid- listed, so you can view them all on a map, you can like ed what we need to do in the first place. We took our any spot and even call friends to check it out. That’s time due to social issues: we both had work to do and one of the things that the future Uride.it will bring. I had university classes. So after a year of development we finally released the first version. It actually worked, Another possibility is to find anything you want if and we were proud of it. It was far from perfect, so we you plan to visit a foreign country. With the help of stepped our game up and made a huge update in about our web service you will be able to find spots, hostels, six months. It brought us to the current version. shops and even people to skate with.



We have literally hundreds of ideas how to improve our project and we never stop working. It’s really hard to do everything with such a small team but it’s possible. Right now we’re preparing a new update which will drastically improve the navigation and the overall usability of our website and bring some new features. The next step will be marketing. Such a big website will cost us a lot to host, so we need to make it pay for itself. We are working on a revolutionary way of making money from our web site. It will not harm our users at all and will be as friendly as possible. How? It’s a secret for now. new layout sneak peek!

Anton Vinokurov Dmitriy Golubtsov

The main inspiration for us is the feedback. We also simply enjoy every bit of the work we do. Dimitry and I both rollerblade as often as we can and do other action sports from time to time, which is another source of inspiration for us.

Meet the creators of uride.it

There are loads of other things we want to make possible, and users will find benefits from each update because we always listen to user feedback and suggestions.


Doug Williams - Soul to Royale - DG

Jason Ricci - Before the skin graft - VM


Text: Vincent Morretino Photos: Danny Gantchev & Vincent Morretino

Ivan Dalou and L.J. Fanti - VM

Jake Cawley - Makio - VM

VM


KSPS 2010!

Mike Callahan - VM

1st - Daniel Powell 2nd - Jake Cawley 3rd - Ryan Sibbio 4th - Stefan Brandow The Kettering Skate Plaza Showdown is gaining a much deserved reputation as a crowd pleasing event and overall great competition experience in the heart of the Midwest. Taking place at the DC Skate Plaza in Kettering, OH, a suburb of Dayton, KSPS is a mix of street skating with just a touch of park skating. The obstacles consist mostly of ledges of varying heights, curves and angles, with a few rectangular rails and banks thrown in for good measure. A handful of practice rails made of PVC plastic and two-by-fours fortified by unopened bags of quick-setting concrete were set up near the permanent fixtures at the plaza to add some variety. Detroit’s own LJ Fanti was the Master of Ceremonies, an excellent choice by KSPS host Ryan Benner. With his sharp wit and good natured demeanor, LJ had the crowd roaring with laughter throughout the whole day. Daniel Powell - 1st Place - DG


Shade was hard to come by; at the end of the day, most everyone looked like lobsters. Spectators seemed to cluster around the saplings within the main perimiter of the plaza, and also under the umbrellas that a few thoughtful people brought. Blue Box Clothing and Jordan Dale’s Origyn Clothing had products for sale, as well as a Columbus-based skate shop. I was laughing and cheering the whole day. So much, in fact, that I missed numerous shots because LJ was cutting up on the megaphone and tricks were getting laced left and right. Once Jason Ricci dropped trou and skated his last run in Speedos, everyone’s attention was focused on him in case he fell. I wouldn’t say that he fell so much as slid out on his ass three times and lost a few layers of skin. The videographers were the ones who best documented the day, by far. Make sure to check out the KSPS 2010 edit by Tri Rudolph: www.vimeo.com/12950982 LJ Fanti - DG

Before Heat #1 - VM


Reed Huston, Truespin Miszou - VM

Daniel Powell - Ledge Roll to Soyale - VM


Vince Zywczak, Stub Soul - VM

Jake Cawley, Backslide - DG


Daniel Powell - 180 Gap over both ledges - VM

Jordan Dale - Disaster Double Negative - VM

Tri Rudolph - Back Torque cess Slide - VM

Gabe Talamantes - Crossgrab Backside Torque - DG


Scotty B - Soul Gap Soul - VM

“No Ankles Nick” - Negative Fish - VM

Alex Hancook - VM

Al Dolega - VM


Interview: Vincent Morretino & Al Dolega Photo spread: Erik Allas


Hey, Louie. It is an honor to speak with you, and to be able to give you the opportunity to let the rollerblading world catch up with what you’ve been up to while you focused on other priorities. Welcome back. I think it’s safe to say that as a collective community, we have really missed your influence. Wow, that is very comforting to hear! My heart is and will always be with my skates and rolling brothers. It feels great saying that, knowing most feel the same way. Bladers are good people. You’re known for having tremendous control, style and speed while skating, as well as your friendliness and modesty. Was it in any way frustrating to get back into skating, or was it easy? Do you have to cross-train to maintain your abilities on skates? Thank you for the compliments. I’ve always had fun skating fast, the control thing just comes with experience and the style is just an extension of yourself. Getting back into skating after a very long time was definitely not easy for me. My brain was still convinced that I could do anything. When I actually put a pair of skates on, I noticed that my brain and motor skills just weren’t connecting with what I wanted to do. Actually, the first thing that happened to me was I went to the Escondido skate park and dropped in, and fell right on my back because I wasn’t ready to lean forward. I hadn’t been on skates in almost three years. I knew that I had to get familiar with just rolling again. I went to K2 to do a little work on the new Fatty Pro while I was up for Barnburner, and I saw these amazing recreational skates called the Mach 100. Mike sent me a pair and they are the fastest skates I have ever ridden. I use them about three times a week for four miles each session. Now, I feel very comfortable just rolling around on skates because I’ve gotten my maneuverability back, but I just need to build my confidence before I try anything too crazy. It’s frustrating to not be at the level I want, and it’ll take hard work and effort along the way. It’s hard, though, splitting my time up during the week to find time to skate. Having been out of the skate scene for a few years and now making re-entrance, what are you noticing that is different? What seems better, what seems worse, what hasn’t changed at all? Our media content has gotten much better over the years, but at the same time has been saturated due to easy accessibility. Anyone can have anything made and posted at anytime. That’s both good and bad. Everybody has the right to post their edits and photos for

anyone to view, I’m not denying that. I just wish that people regulated their stuff more. When I first started getting pictures taken of my skating, I was very hands on with my media, very critical and worried about it was going to look as a final product. I do see that more and more with videography. Things are getting better on the production side of media as skaters mature. What hasn’t changed at all is the camaraderie between rollerbladers, this whole fraternity of people that was at one point very small but has grown a lot over the years. Anytime you go outside of your city, it’s easy to just post on a message board or Facebook. Before, it would be a phone call but now it’s a lot easier; the connections are still the same. People are always down to meet new skaters and have fun, and I think that’s what keeps the sport fresh. That’s what people like about it. It is what makes rollerblading a community. What do you do for a living right now? I work for a property management company near San Diego State University. I also own, sell and rent real estate in San Diego. What has the slumped housing market done to your business? It was pretty bad in San Diego. The prices of homes were heavily inflated because financing was so easy to obtain. But it’s getting better. Things seem to be leveling out to the point that prices are where they should have been before the market tipped. Lending is regulated more strictly and in-depth documentation of proof of income is required. My mom has been in this business for 25 years, and I learned the ropes from her. We adjusted our business before the bubble burst; we transferred into property management instead of limiting ourselves by just selling homes in a declining market. So, we manage a bunch of single family residences in the San Diego area, as well. We rent to a lot of college students, too. Do your co-workers know about your skating past or do you keep that part of your life to yourself? I never tell anyone about skating unless they ask. It’s very rare for me to bring it up. That mindset seems pretty common with pros. It’s as if they just want to be seen as regular people and will dodge the question of what they do for a living until they’re backed into a corner and have no choice but to answer truthfully.



Backside Royale - Erik Allas


Well, I work with a lot of college students, too, so every once in a while I get recognized. I actually met a guy who was doing his final senior project at a copy store on campus. He was printing some mock-ups of several different K2, Razors and Valo skates he had designed himself. I thought that was very ambitious and awesome that he actually took his creativity for something that he loves and put it towards something that was going to get him further in life. I was impressed, you know? I really like that in rollerblading, as people are maturing they are looking around at the industry and seeing where they can help out. That tends to happen in smaller communities. What do you mean? I play fighting games a lot, like Street Fighter for example. I’m involved in the fighting game community, with tournaments and things like that. A lot of the people in that community are always looking to get involved and make the community as a whole a better place by being more hands on with the business side of things. And it’s weird, but I always see rollerbladers at these events. With rollerblading being such a tight knit community, it’s cool to see them get sucked into another community, as well. I’ve been playing the Street Fighter series since I was a kid. Me and Roadhouse used to have game sessions for days. Actually, I just got back this weekend from Las Vegas. I was there for the largest ever Evo (Evolution) tournament, where there were six different Evolution games being played, mostly Street Fighter renditions. Shout out to Moocus! Haha, I remember hustling kids at the arcade for quarters while playing modded versions of Street Fighter 2. Good times.What are some of your favorite memories from the glory days of traveling, competing, and shooting as a pro skater? I met so many people that were nice and receptive throughout the years. As a group, we had a funny mentality as a bunch of sponsored skaters. We’d get ourselves pretty hyped up when on tour, and when we’d get to these places we all wanted to shut the place down. We wanted to inspire kids every time we went to an event; no matter how long it took to get to there, no matter how we felt on the road. I hear that you’re married now. Do you have any kids? My family consists of my wife Krista (she was actually in VG 14), and my two dogs Kaylee and Pixie. No kids yet. I do get pressure from my mom and dad, though.

My wife is planning on going to medical school, so we want to focus on kids when she finishes her schooling. What has your involvement with K2 this second time around consisted of, exactly? Do you have any specific goals or projects that you’re trying to get K2 in on? I need to start off by talking about my first time around with K2. I thought that I’d be there for the rest of my career because I knew that the company had an amazing amount of resources and they were willing to try new things. I’ve always wanted to be hands on, to design skates and products that not only look cool but are innovative, and to move the sport in a better direction where you’re skating on the highest quality parts. I noticed that at a certain point, people were just changing colors and calling it a different product. That kills an industry, especially the ones that are struggling to live. So, I’ve always wanted to have a hand in that part of the industry. I’ve done several things with different companies, like 2nd Regime…and the other company I won’t mention. But at the time, K2 wanted to focus on what they thought would be the better selling items, focusing on skate park and vert skating, and going in a different direction than I thought we should have. I wanted to get a pro skate, but they didn’t think that I was ready at the time to take on that type of project. This was cool, because it gave me some time to test the waters and learn from other company owners and see how they run their operations. But the reason that I’m back, is because I want to help K2 get to where they were before, and maybe even further because the amount of resources that are available could add up to make something great. It’s an amazing opportunity for both K2 and me. And Mike Powell, too, because Mike has been cool with me for a very long time. It really just took a call to him saying, “Hi, I want to help,” and that was it, you know? Pretty often we’re talking back and forth and trading off ideas. My goals are to help make the current products the best they can be, and to help make new products for skaters to enjoy, myself included. What is K2 doing to play step up their designs to make skates more customizable? I want these skates to be an open platform, for skaters to be able to be as creative as possible, whether it’s skating-wise, parts-wise and the functionality of the skates. That type of stuff takes a lot of work and coordination to make possible with different skate shops in various locations. But being a company with experi-


ence in customization, whether it is snowboards, skis or BMX bikes, we definitely have the means to make it possible. The reason K2 skates are made the way they are is because K2 didn’t want to conform and make skates with generic parts you can find at a hardware store, they wanted to make something unique and functional. And right now, we are trying to find a happy medium between customization and staying true to the brand’s identity. That’s great to hear. With all of the different variations over the years, I’m excited to see what you guys come out with. As a matter of fact, for nostalgias sake, I’ll send you some pictures of my K2 skate collection. I have a few pairs, like the original Fatty Pros and both color-ways of the 250ccs, that are as close to mint condition as I could find. A few scuffs here and there, but some have pristine H-blocks and the undersides of the soul areas are completely untouched. Yeah, I’d love to see them. For me, I always gave away my stuff to people who needed skates at the time. I wish I could have held on to some of my stuff, though. I had some customs that I made a long time ago that were super unique. Actually, about a year and a half ago my friend Kevin Chow from Toronto found a brand new pair of 250ccs on the internet that were my size. He called me to tell me about them, and I said that I would really like to skate, but I just couldn’t. He ended up buying them, calling Robert Lievanos to get my address and sent them over. All of a sudden I had a brand new pair of 250ccs show up at my house, with brand new Face wheels on them. He said, “Louie, you better skate because I got these for you.” Did you skate them? I did only for a little bit, but they were pristine. If I would have skated them for three months, I would have thrashed them. But it prompted me to go out and get some other skates. They were similar, but not that old. I still have the 250ccs here at home, though. That’s awesome. Keep ‘em classy. Well, I had the pleasure to skate a lot with your brother Steve last summer while he was here in Indianapolis attending a program with a local law school. How have you guys affected each other growing up over the years? My brother and I have a very unique relationship. e do have a competitive, but friendly brotherly vibe going on. It’s more of a ‘let’s have fun as a group’ thing.

But his law school stuff, he’s pretty driven to do well with it. Tell me about it. I work for the Indiana State Bar Association, and the president of the association at the time came up to me when we had a reception in our offices, and asked me if I knew a guy named Steve Zamora. Surprised, I said, “Yeah, I‘ve skated with him every weekend for a month this summer.” I hadn’t really talked to many people at my work about skating, but the president went on to say, “I met him at a law student function in South Bend. He seems like a very nice young man. Driven, focused. I see good things in his future.” That’s Steve for you. I was always more focused on skating because this is what I love to do, but I am perfectly happy for him when he does something amazing. Between you two, who is the ultimate grill master and who makes better margaritas? I’ll give him the title for ultimate grill master, because I prefer to cook in the kitchen. And he makes better margaritas; I’m more of a Bloody Mary type of guy. How often do you get to hang-out with your friend and past business partner Randy “Roadhouse” Spizer? Where did Matt Moya disappear to? Randy Spizer and I will be brothers for life. We made that pact a long time ago. He’s pretty busy though, he has a full time job, as well. We were on a fishing team in the Salt Water Bass Association. We actually pitched in and bought a boat together two years ago. We fished this bass circuit with a bunch of bass professionals. It was really fun. He’s fun to spend time with. We actually go to the Sierra Mountains every year with a few other people, stay in a cabin and fish the creeks. It’s amazing. We’re going again in a few weeks. Matt Moya is probably getting merked on COD4 as we speak. He’s in the Costa Mesa area, hangs out with Randy quite often, actually. Alright, Louie. It’s been great talking with you. Thank you for taking the time out of your hectic schedlue. For anyone not familiar with Louie’s skating, get yourself an education: VG 14 – www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5REl3V2LcE Wasteland – www.vimeo.com/1699488 2R S.Y.S.T.R. – www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBd4hgU74Bs Noise – www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-RGvT9rhOo


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Photo: Dave A m

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Mike, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview. Since K2 hasn’t been a dominate force in the aggressive skating world for several years, and more and more kids are getting into the sport, could you give a summary of the company’s aggressive inline history for all the new skaters out there that weren’t around for the K2 glory days? Since K2 launched the Original Softboot in 1994, it has helped create an industry, with the help of a few other brands, that have paved the way for brands, skaters and the lifestyle to grow. The foundation of K2 was cemented by Tom Hyser and Matt Lacrosse back in the 90’s and since then K2 has been able to support the lifestyles of some of the greatest skaters to ever lace up a pair of skates. How long have you been with K2? What would you do for a living if you didn’t work for K2? I have been with K2 for a decade. If I didn’t work for K2 I would be staring in my own reality show about a Jewish man who exclusively dates Muslim women What are some of your personal favorites from the K2 legacy of skates, either prototypes or skates that were actually produced? There is no denying the King 55. That skate was so far ahead of its time. I am also a huge fan of the Weis skate and the Natural. Is your driver’s license picture really as gnarly as everyone says it is? My ID’s are the type where the bouncer will buy me beers and cops take me to jail. Can you please explain the choices made for the soulplate design on the Varsity skates? Why no flat edge for shuffles and grinding square things? Why not a rework of the existing soulplate, which would be lighter, stronger and lower-profile? If we were to create a new soulplate for the Varsity, we would have created eight molds for this soulplate and it would not be replaceable. Why would this soulplate not be replaceable you ask? Well, the reason for this is that K2 builds skates much differently then the competition. We build our skates like performance footwear, that is why our skates fit better, and whatever soul we affix to the boot has to be bonded to the boot, like a soul would be to a shoe.

When you bond something like this, it is not a replaceable part. The choice we had was: a. Create a new soul plate for the Varsity, that would not be replaceable, and potentially piss a lot of people off for creating a disposable skate in this day and age; b. Create 3 molds of the new soulplate which seamlessly fits onto the necessary bonded part of both the Fatty Pro and Varsity boots and create a skate that has a replaceable soulplate. Even with the addition of the new soul, the K2 boot is lighter then 99% of skates on the market. K2 doesn’t cut corners on quality and we do our best to keep our skates reasonably priced. I’m sure you have reasons for being so bold with the Varsity’s aesthetics, care to explain them? Any plans for a more toned-down skate in the future? Toned down is in the plans. If it were up to me, the skates would have been black and white, but not everyone agrees that skates should be black (I don’t always feel that way but most of the time I do), so the skate ended up becoming red with the idea that round 2 would be black and white, unless Louie comes up with a good colorway. I was happy with that compromise. In reality, we created a limited run, so the color really has not been too much of an issue on our end. What’s K2’s status with aggressive right now? Will there be a team, sponsorship of events, participation in the WRS, support of our industry’s print media through advertisements, etc? Or was the Varsity something that you were barely able to get approved, and any spending past that will be dependent on how the skate sells? Everything we do is going to be based on skate sales. I would love to say we will be running ads, sponsoring events and creating a team but that is not the reality, this is a lifestyle but it is also a business. Once we have proven that we can sustain in this market and finish paying off our tooling costs, will we be able to support skaters, magazines and events. Why is K2 still using 6mm axles with the aggressive frames, when no other aggressive skate manufacturer has been doing it for years? First you must ask yourself the question, “How many K2 axels have I blown up?” There is a reason your answer is none and that reason is quality and engineering. This is a bold and very true statement: “K2 uses


higher quality materials and has better, smarter engineers then anyone in skating!” Is there a K2 junior aggressive skate in the line right now? If not, any plans to bring it back? Right now the Fatty Pro goes down to a size 5. That is as close as we get. One of the next goals we have for this program is to create a kids skate as the youth is the most important group of rollers out there. I am on Be-Mag everyday and I always read people saying this will save blading or that will save blading. The truth is what will save blading is numbers and these numbers need to start with the youth. Without them there will be no saving blading at all. How is K2 doing in the fitness/racing and urban/ freeskate/hybrid skate markets? Anything new and exciting happening there? We are pretty flat across all categories. We have seen sales decline across the board since 2002 and it has affected every type of blade we make. The good news is that sales are slowly but surely starting to stabilize and K2 has not pulled development dollars from the inline division. In the categories that we see potential for growth, we are investing. If you look where we are spending our development dollars, it has been on X-Training and Aggressive (for lack of better term) this year and I hope to re-tool the youth product moving forward. What ever happened with the Ben Weiss model not being released? Was it a timing issue with him leaving the team? To the majority of K2 enthusiasts, those were the best looking K2 to ever be produced. All we can do is drool at the pictures on the internet. Same goes for the Yasutoko Bros. model not being released in the US. What gives? The Weis and Yasutoko skates were skates I was looking forward to as well. I know they would have had an impact on the market and would have been the blueprint for where we could have taken those skate molds. The reality is that we had too many Lennen’s and Schrijn’s in inventory and we could not build any skates for almost two years. At the end of the day, it was an inventory issue. What kind of an impact did the moving of production of K2 skates to China do to the local economy on Vashon Island and surrounding areas? I am not sure how K2 leaving impacted the island other then K2 making the building available to folks

on Vashon. Last I heard, it was going to be an artist community. We still have a good deal of folks who work in Seattle that live on the island and they haven’t mentioned an impact. Personally, I would think it was a Catch 22 for the Vashon locals when we left. They don’t get the dollars we brought to the island, but they don’t have to deal with us speeding all over Vashon Highway trying to make a boat. K2 skates have generally had a reputation for being some of the lightest skates on the market. Introducing carbon fiber into the design of the skates could really open up a whole new world in terms of functionality and durability. Has this been discussed around the office, or is it just a pipe dream? The idea has been tossed around a few times but right now it is still a pipe dream. If we ever did develop a Carbon skate, you can bet it would be the lightest skate to ever be produced and it would still fit better than anything on the market, thanks to our enginerds. It would also be expensive, but that is life. Do you have any final statements, anything to keep the readers in anticipation of great things to come? First and foremost, the K2 skate division is so much smaller then the general public thinks. All of our manpower comes from the engineering side and which is why our skates fit amazingly well out of the box and feel even better when they get broken in. K2 has been an innovator in this industry for many years, and I am not talking about eyelet technology for all you Be-Mag message boarders. The long-term goal for everyone associated with this program is to reach a point in sales where we have the budgets to truly create new innovations that push the limits of what is possible on skates. I don’t want to say too much about what we are developing, but the helium skate concept, that we may or may not have a prototype of, think of a skate made completely out of gas, teflon and some of Al Dolega’s brain matter, could change the world of skating as we know it.


Product Review: K2 Varsity Photos & Text: Vincent Morretino (unless noted)



Hopefully, you have already read Louie and Mike’s interviews. If not, shame on you. A lot of what you are about to see is explained by the people responsible for the creation of the K2 Varsity’s. Go back and read them if you haven’t. Let me start by saying that I was a very vocal opponent of the K2 Varsity’s when I first started seeing them pop-up online. Although I have been a huge fan of K2 skates for the last 13 years because of the consistent stylistic choices and overall durability, I was disappointed in seeing the handful of available side-profile photos of these skates touting a seemingly slapped-on soul plate. It wasn’t until I actually got them in my hands six months after the release that I was able to appreciate these skates in a new way. Yes, there was still the initial shock of, “Why did they make skates that look like a jacket for your feet? Should I wear Handerpants to complete the look?” I couldn’t help but chuckle a little as I flipped the skates over in my hands, paying particular attention to the striped “collar” at the top of the boot. My first impulse was to cut it off outright, to grab a seam ripper and just get rid of it. But I stayed my hand. How was I supposed to do a proper review f I started ripping things off right out of the box? The “collars” actually grown on you over time. I don’t mind it at all, now. OK, here we go. The instep strap is a big step up from the impractical and narrow instep strap on the Fatty Pro skate. The strap on the Varsity is beefed-up and keeps your heel firmly in place, but allows movement when needed. It is also removeable by unfastening the velcro, so if you have some other straps that fit, that is an option you can explore. It seems very strong and well made, I’m not sure what materials were used to make the straps, but it’s some kind of synthetic, high impact leather material. The same material is used to sheild the eyelets from the elements, and the buttons don’t really seem to serve any purpose but keeping the aesthetics consistent. The laces are almost as good as ones you would find on hockey skates. This is also a big step up from the Fatty Pro skates. They never felt tight enough. The toe area of the skate is much different from any previous aggressive skate from K2. It is a high-impact rubber compound that holds up very well to abrasions, and acts as a kind of shock absorber that does an excellent job of eliminating the possibility of the dreaded “K2 toe”. Even though this condition (severe stubbing of


your big toes as a result of minimal protection from the toe cap) has not been a problem for almost 10 years, when it did happen regularly, it caused some customers to seek an alternative skate. The OGs will know what I’m talking about. Ah, it still gives me the shivers. K2 sets the standard in comfort right out of the box, and are one of the very few boot companies that offer half sizes. There are no liners, just plenty of thick padding and support where you need it. There is extra padding around your Achilles tendon, the tonuge is nice and thick and there are ZERO pressure points anywhere inside of the skate. No pinching, no toe cramps or feet falling asleep. Leaps and bounds above the Fatty Pro in the support department. The cuffs have the same synthetic material found on the instep strap and lace coverings adhered to the first ever white K2 cuff. They were thoughtful about making the black padding thick enough to not let the buckle hardwear dig into the boot when the cuff is secured. With some tinkering and brake cleaner in hand, you can remove the outer red material, but it is advised that you do not remove the black padding. The buckle is not a step up from the Fatty Pro. The buckle receptor seems to be a bit sturdier, on the other hand. I’ve knocked it a few times pretty good and the buckle system did not unexpectedly swing open. I just so happened to have a practically new set of aluminum K2 buckles and straps on hand to swap out with the less durable plastic ones. They are a bit harder to secure because the stock straps are narrower than the old school ones, but this is actually beneficial becase they absolutely will not slip if the buckle receptor does come open. Ah, now for the most controversial part of the skates: the new soul system. If you still haven’t read Mike Powell’s interview, shame on you. It’s important for this part. I won’t go into the reasoning behind this soul system, but after hearing from Mike about why they did it this way, and after actually skating the Varsity’s after my botched Fatty Pro mod involving some USD Carbon soul plates, I can say from experience that there is no noticeable added height. With that failed attempt, I was too lazy to sand down the permanent souls, and I felt like I was wearing stilts. The removeable soul plates are 1/4 inch (6.35 mm) thick with no lateral shifting because the contour and shaved down profile of the permanent soul plate matches perfectly with the replaceable soul plate. Don’t even consider skating these without the replaceable soul plate. The permanent one is very narrow and thin, and the backslide area becomes non-existant without the soulplate.


Rubber on cement or metal will cause enough friction to stop you dead in your tracks, and injury will follow. The souls are a happy medium between the super wide Nemesis style soul plates and the more conservative Fatty Pro souls. I don’t do shuffles, but these souls do not seem good for them on rough cement. And lastly, we come to the stock K2 frames. If you do not skate a lot of park, these frames are of no use to you. K2 is still using 6mm hardware (8mm hardware is shown next to the 6mm hardware as a visual reference for those not familiar with this phenomenon) and the axleheads stick out, resulting in metal-on-metal/metalon-cement contact. It sounds cool and makes some awesome sparks, but they are not what you’d want to skate street in. These are sturdy frames, but the drawbacks in versatility coupled with soft wheels and hard to come by axle hardware made me slap on my 50/50 Rowe frames. The only skates available that weigh less than the Varsity skates are the USD Carbons. Stock, the Varsity skates in a size 11 US weigh only 3 lbs. 3.2 oz. With no pressure points, tough build and low weight, these skates are worth a try on any budget. Especially for the average sale price of $185 complete or $165 boot only. These have become my new favorite skates.

Cross-grab Rocket Photo - Joseph Rivera Rebolledo


Interview: Charles Dunkle & Trace Taylor Photos: Trace Taylor & Michelangelo Loreti Something I’ve really become more aware of lately is the fact that rollerbladers themselves are taking more initiative in the industry. In the past few years, there has been a steady incline of more skater-owned companies, as well as an increase in more hosted events. Blake Taylor, host and organizer of the Panhandle Pow Wow, is among many of the contributors taking action. Like some of us, he’s been skating a very long time. Unlike some of us, he’s skating more than ever today. Rollerblading needs more people like Blake Taylor; people who are willing to take a stand and continue to pump life into the once lackluster veins of this sport. - Trace Taylor I’ve know Blake for a long time. Even though he isn’t that much older than me his friends and I have always called him Uncle Blake. He is an Ohio boy transplanted to the south. You may not have seen much of him back in the day, but that is because he went the responsible way by attending and finishing school. He is now engaged, has a full time job and is skating better than I have ever seen. That’s why he is Uncle Blake. - Charles Dunkle

Photo - Trace Taylor

CD: Age? 12/05/1980 CD: Location? I currently reside in Tallahasee, FL. I grew up in Hudson, OH though, so that is home to me. CD: Job? Insurance Sales Representative. CD: Years skating? I received my first pair of inline skates when I was 10 years old. Before there was grinding or even stair riding. Skating for me at that time was recreational, street hockey, mimicking skiing maneuvers and getting pulled by my dog. There was no “aggressive” skating. Then one day at lunch in the 8th grade, one of my classmates brought a copy of Mad Beef to play on the cafeteria TVs. After viewing that, I was hooked. It wasn’t long before I got a pair of Tarmac CE’s. Been going strong ever since. So you can say I’ve been skating 16-20 years, depending on how you look at it. TT: Where did “Uncle Blake” come from? Uncle Blake was started by the original Tally local,


180 Mute over the grass into the quarter - Michelangelo Loreti

Brandon Magera. When I moved to Tally, I was 22 about to be 23. No one was even 21 here yet, so I felt old. I would constantly complain about no one being able to join me for a drink at the bar, and what not. So he would always tell me to, “quit crying Uncle Blake” (he always said “quit crying,” too). Next thing I knew, everyone was calling me that. It caught on as far as my clips for “Road to Nowhere” and “Thrill” CD: So how is the Tallahassee scene going these days? The Tally scene has been really strong as of late. We skate 3-5 times a week. We’ve been filming a lot. Playing lots of S-K-A-T-E, and just having fun with it. Everyone has really different personalities, and interests. If it wasn’t for skating we probably wouldn’t have anything to do with each together. It’s kind of a weird scene in that the 7 years I’ve been here it’s never really been over 10 skaters at a time. However, it’s always been a revolving door for some of Florida’s best talent. TT: I heard through the grapevine that you are now on Remz. Confirm or deny? Yes, as of this week (06/25) I have joined the ranks with skaters such a Stefan Brandow, Tony Rivituso, Chris Smith, Roman Daricek and Brady Johnston on

the Remz flow team. This is the first time I’ve been sponsored, so I’m excited to say the least. I feel I’ve worked pretty hard for this spot and do deserve it, but I still feel I have a lot to prove. It’s a spot I feel I should have to continue to earn, and not just be some guy that organizes events and gets around. I wish I could say Kato came to me, but it was the other way around and it took some convincing that this nearly 30 year old skater has plenty of life left in the tank. CD: How is the skating in Florida compared to growing up skating in Ohio? It’s really hard to compare the two scenes now. I’ve been to 6 events this year including the two Pow Wow’s that I organized. So I’ve been pretty involved with the regional scene. The southern cities are more spread out than the east. So I’m trying to keep everyone from Miami to Atlanta to Birmingham to New Orleans connected at least once a year. The major difference between the two scenes is obviously the weather. When winter came in Ohio, it was off to the ski slopes for me. I’d hang up the blades for at least 3 months until it was bearable to skate again.



AO Soul - Trace Taylor


180 Mute from filter cap to filter cap - Trace Taylor

TT: Who were some of your favorite skaters growing up? Now? I grew up in an era where “style” was so important. I emphasize the word style because I believe everyone has a style. It was how you were identified, and how you stood out. I don’t necessarily feel that’s the case in this generation, and it’s not a bad thing. The skater’s I’m referring to are the ones that made soul grinds look like the coolest thing since the Fonz. Skater’s like Ryan Jacklone, TJ Webber, Dion Antony, Jason Marshall, Walt Austin, Dominic Sagona and Mike Lilly. Plus you’ve got to throw in Josh Petty, Jon Julio, Louie Zamora and Dustin Latimer.

because I wanted to contribute to skating. There were no hidden agendas or goals other than to get everyone together for an amazing time.

Today though, my interests have changed a bit. I can no longer pin point my “favorite” skater because I like so many, and for different reasons. If I was able to make a video, and choose the line up based on what I want to see, it would be Chris Farmer, Billy O’Neil, Joey Chase and Eric Bailey.

The 2010 event has come and gone, and the Pow Wow has developed some bad habits along the way. I honestly understand why Daniel Kinney (BCSD organizer) comes off bit gruff at times. After ten years of doing what he does, I’d probably feel the same way. Having to put up with some of the skater’s antics can sometimes be inexcusable. I’m kind of at a cross road. Do I take control of the bullshit antics and push the event into the main stream, or do I continue to promote and allow the nonsense, but keep it underground within the family?

CD: What made you start the Pow Wow? The Pow Wow was started out of passion for the sport, and the scene. I like being around the different personalities of the skaters. The Pow Wow was started

CD: What are the plans for the future with the Pow Wow? The last one was awesome! Well, the Pow Wow has come quite a long way since the first one. It has come from a rinky-dink street contest with fifty people in attendance, to an internationally recognized 5 star WRS event. I’ve worked hard to get it there. The 5th star may have been a bit premature, but why would I turn down that opportunity to promote the event?


Topsoul - Michelangelo Loreti

Honestly, I’d prefer the later but I feel this route will be a dead end for the Pow Wow. I put in a lot of work for no pay to just let it fade, and if I want to continue the event I have to get paid for my efforts. The idea to push the event in the mainstream is in the early stages. As of now, the plan is to form a southeastern AM circuit within the WRS, consisting of three events spread throughout the southeast: two AM qualifiers with a one star WRS rating, and the Pow Wow as the pro event with a three star WRS rating. AMs will have three chances to qualify to compete in the Pow Wow pro event, the two qualifier events and the day of the Pow Wow. 15 AMs in total will compete in the Pow Wow Pro event for a chance to be crowned the Southeast AM champion and receive a separate prize for this achievement. The circuit will promote uniformity in that, the contest formats, rulings, and judging criteria will all be the same throughout the events. I have some other ideas I want to implement as well. Like the ability to achieve a judging certification in order to judge a circuit event. The circuit will be connected with a website similar to the WRS. You’ll be able to view skater’s current cir-

cuit rankings compared to their WRS rankings, news, events schedule and info. Also a place to apply to host your own buddy blade event which would be added to the schedule. I want to get everyone involved that wants to be involved. The problem now is funding. What else is new? In order to achieve this goal I’m going to need some outside funding. I’m probably going to have to get it started on my own dime. That’s where the Pow Wow is at now. If you have any interest in being a part of something like the Pow Wow and can provide any assistance, please visit www.panhandlepow-wow.com and contact me. Thanks for reading.


Text: Bartek Sadura Photos: Piotrek Gackiewicz

Year 2007. One of the polish skateparks. I’m watching a competition together with my friends from LBN Crew. The change in how rollerblading is perceived is visible. Fluent lines where effectiveness and creativity are important, “smart skating”. Another good day, let’s go back home. But something is bugging us. We are checking the event calendar to see where they are all located. Same word everywhere- skatepark. Our reflectionit can’t be like that! Remember IMYTA? PIT, and many other competitions called ‘real street’? We didn’t forget, we miss it. We have to take it into our

own hands. But will we make it? Will we prepare the spots, housing, will anyone even come, will good tricks be done? Let’s find out. May 31, 2008, around 5 PM. We made it! The winner of first East Side Jam has just received a crate of beer and other rewards. Turns out rollerbladers still got ‘it’, hammers were dropped while audience had fun. Police on the second spot? No problem, quick spot change. Last kink rail- a bunch of skaters handled it. Year later- went well again, despite the unfavorable weather.


Lukasz Kazmierczak - Sweatstance


Sebastian Gruba - Royale

2010. The expectations are high. What to do to make everything even better? Street competition three times in a row, in the same city, and there aren’t too many legit spots. Solution? Borrow a truck and transport a grindbox to a spot- lines will be performed! For the finals, fix the landing on a forgotten rail. Next step is to take care of the media. Websites that support us since the beginning. Add coverage in a youth TV channel, and it’s all good. What else? Sponsors. Rollerblading brandssure, but maybe it’s worth it to try something else too? Skateshops, streetwear companies, skimboard and headphone producers- we are happy that they supported us. And finally- our favourite brewery. To receive maaany beers to hand out during the competition- what a feeling!

It rained ALL MAY, part of Poland was heavily flooded. There was a backup plan, but it wouldn’t be the same, not after all the preparations. Finally, the day had come. We couldn’t believe it- it was dry all day. Tricks- I won’t even try mentioning them, you’ll see on the photos and edits. The audience was big- both the rollerblading kind and not. The added grindbox received great feedback, and when it comes to the final spot we really underestimated the skaters when guessing what tricks may be landed on that day. Police never came- yeah! And after the competition- a crazy afterparty, as usual. Monday after the competition- it’s raining again, but now I don’t care. See you next year, we’ll try to make it even better!


Przemek Madej - fullcab true top soyale

Przemek Madej - Fullcab True Topside Soyale


Michal Szczyrbowski - Kind Grind



Lukasz Malewski - Fakie outspin BS Royale



Bartek Sadura - Chillin’



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