Inline Skating: Past, Present, and Future

Blade Basics
Inline Skating: Past, Present, and Future

Ryan Nairn
Advanced English 9
Hills
Friday, March 12, 1999

“One of the fastest growing sports in the world”(Greenfeld 80), inline skating has
attracted many individuals from toddlers to elders, children to parents. All skate for
slightly different purposes, and in slightly different styles. Inline skating demands little
equipment, but no matter what, requires skates(Sullivan 12-18). “Skates can range from
as cheap as twenty dollars at some discount sports outlets to around fifteen hundred
dollars at professional sports outlets. Other equipment that all skaters should wear
includes padding for the head, as in a helmet, elbows, wrists, knees, and some more
accident prone skaters have worn “butt pads” for when they fall backwards”(Teaford
44).
People skate for fitness and for fun. Some race , while others enjoy roller
hockey. Freestyle, a variation that has roots on ice (Figure Skating) has increased
explosively in the past fifteen to twenty years. Perhaps the most dynamic division of
inlining, extreme, which has two prime aspects, vert and street, has startled the world with
its tricks that leave the audience perplexed and entertained.
Inline skating has proven itself one of the best forms of cardiovascular workout in
the fitness world today, an incredible leg toner and also helps to build stamina for other
sports. People skate along bike trails, through parks, along roads, wherever the
opportunity exists to get out and roll around.
For individuals inclined to take skating beyond a purely recreational workout,
several options exist, racing perhaps one of the more current (Freehill 72). People race
around tracks, or, the more enduring and physically grueling racers, hold competitions on
rigorous terrain, such as mountain roads. Typically five wheeled, racing skates allow for
greater speed, a greater distribution of weight, and a broader pushing area.
An aggressive sport stretching into inline skating, ice hockey has long held itself as
a popular sport in North America and far around the globe. During the off season of the
NHL, players played variations of “street hockey”. With the advent of inline skates, this
"street hockey" took one step further towards the same kind of challenging, high-energy
sport that ice hockey has developed into (Freehill 43). Clubs and leagues have sprung up
all over the world, several of which containing members of the NHL.
Freestyle, one of the most influenced divisions of inline skating, possesses roots in
figure skating on ice, traditional roller-skating, and popular dance styles from the last 20
years, ranging from disco to hip-hop (Post 47).
As inline skaters have invaded roller rinks and traditional "quad" roller skaters and ice
skaters have donned inliners, a funky, rhythmic, cross-pollinated style has evolved that
works just as easily indoors as outdoors. Moving with the music, Freestyle skaters do
waltz jumps, axle jumps, one-foot and two-foot spins, even cartwheels, round-offs,
handsprings and flips. They also perform dance moves such as the "Brooklyn Bop" step,
Fred Astaire style, boogie-style shuffling, Michael Jackson moonwalks and pop-and-lock
moves.
Vert, “one of the most dynamic and photographic forms of any sport ever”,
demonstrates aspects of racing, freestyle and recreational skating(http://www.xs4all.
nl/lowlevel/skate/inline-skating.html). The speed at which skaters move and the height that
they attain above ramps has earned this sport the label of: SPECTACULAR! Not to
mention the kinds of tricks they perform at such altitudes.
The height, completion, and difficulty of tricks, and the overall impression of the
skaters determines the scores given by the judges. Flip variations, all sorts of foot grabs,
rotational moves, assorted contortionistic tricks, grinds, stalls, and spins constitute some
of the tricks done by the performers.
Street skating participants take to the streets to skate whatever and where-ever they
can find. Tricks involve grinding handrails, jumping off ledges, jumping on, off, and over
picnic tables, finding embankments and jumping them, and maybe using them to do wall
rides.
“Any negative image of skating would derive from street skaters, as often times places
made for the explicit purpose of skating, do not heighten the festivity of skating and this
doesn\'t stop most skaters(Anonymous, 7)”. Parking lots, museums, university campuses,
government buildings make the kinds of places that sport the best street scenes.
For any “newbie,”(http://www.apex.net/users/setho/skpage5.htm) or
first-time-skater to look as if they know anything, they have to know some trick names.
In inline skating, there exist many tricks; so many they can’t all fit on this page or in this
entire report. A beginner’s list may include such trick titles as fakie, brainless, or even a
mctwist. Fakie refers to any trick done reverse or with the weak foot leading, brainless
suggests a