Inline skating was really invented in the summer of 1980, two hockey playing brothers were rummaging through a garage sale when they came upon some very early and crude inline skates. These brothers lived in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. They brought the skates home and began modifications on their first skates which started as off season training for hockey players. In the basement of their mother's home the inline skate was fully developed. Soon enough Nordic and Alpine skiers were jumping on the chance to train when the streets were bare. Soon after the inline skates were on the market the two-by-two skates came out and the original inline skates where forgotten just as quick as they where introduced. Until about 15 years ago, the tandem-wheel skates reigned supreme. (rollerblade.com, 3/5/99) The intent of this paper is to explain the history of aggressive inline skating; the history of aggressive inline skating including the origin of skating, the progress of stunts, and the people that make it popular will be expounded upon this paper.
Yes, believe it or not, the inline skate was introduced before the 'roller rink' tandem axle skates. Even though they were out first they were very unpopular for about six or seven years, a few innovations were still struggling to be out on the market. After less than a decade of reforming by kids and adults of America, the 2-by-2 wheeled skates were gone. They are still sometimes used by professional RollerJam© athletes. Other than that they are out of commission. (rollerblade.com, 3/5/99)
These days the RollerBlade© company is the leader in the industry surpassing brands like Oxygen©, K2©, and Roces©. The reason that these smaller companies are and always will be in the shadow of the big boys at RollerBlade© is that they were the first company to show these skates not only in this country but also in foreign countries such as Australia. New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Chile, Mexico, St. Maarten, Uruguay, and Bahrain just to name a few. (rollerblade.com, 3/5/99)
Rollerblade's© popularity may also be attributed to the innovative technology used in producing their skates. They were the first company to use polyurethane boots and wheels. They also introduced dual wheel bearings, the bearing spacers, and the heel brakes. Some other innovations were cored wheels which add strength and speed, the first ever non-metal frame in turn made the skates lighter and more comfortable for the skater. The biggest 'break' for RollerBlade©, came in 1994 when they introduced the ABT™ which stands for Active Brake Technology. This system has won awards on its efficiency. The company has roughly 200 pending patents for the inline products which made the word rollerblade a patent in itself. Now the company produces over 20 different models of inline skates for men, women and youth; whether for recreation, fitness, aggressive, or racing. (rollerblade.com, 3/5/99)
There are presently around 30 million inline skaters in the U.S. and about 9.5 million aggressive skaters. Since there are no statistics precisely on aggressive skating this will be on inline skating in general. Inline Skating is the fastest growing sport in the United States. The participation rate has increased by over 850% since 1989. These charts only go to the year 1997 since that is the latest information that could be found. All figures in the following charts where produced by RollerBlade©.




Children under the age 12 now seem to be the largest group of skaters covering 40% of all skaters. Teens surprisingly come in last in the percentage ratings with 26% but not so surprising is that 85% of teen skaters rate themselves as advanced or intermediate. Adults seem to be enjoying the inline skates with 34% of all skaters being older than 19. Only 63% of adults claim to be any good on skates. (rollerblade.com, 3/5/99)
In 97' males and females both made up half of the skating population. Seven out of every ten eleven-year olds own inline skates. Another interesting fact is that the majority of inline skaters are quite financially stable with an average household income of $52,000. The U.S. average household income is only $45,000. Obviously the bigger metropolis' and megalopolis' have more skaters in them. (rollerblade.com, 3/5/99)
Top Ten Cities
Participation Rates (3 Year Average)
City # of part. (000)vs.City Part. per