Special Report: How I Fell in Love With Blading in the 21st Century

We here at Blade or Die were starting to lose faith. Thankfully, anytime we got down our buddy Zac Hutchings would always cheer us up with funny and insightful comments.

Zac asked if he could write something for the site and, well, he fucking did. He gave us a great, heartfelt story about how he found blading, fell in love with the old girl, and wants to marry the hell out of that hot mama.  From there, he gives his honest opinion on how he, as a young newcomer, sees our industry.

When you’re old men like us, or you spend more time on the internet than you do on your skates, Zac’s words are awesomely pure and optimistic, just like we all were when we first started blading.

Ladies and gentleman, without further ado, Blade or Die is proud to present Mr. Zac Hutchings…

Salutations from Australia

For those who don’t know me, which should be everyone, I am Zac Hutchings. I am 17 years old (nearly 18), I share a car with my older sister Kelsey, (we named it Molly) and I am in a band called Three’s A Crowd…. we don’t do too much. I am from the regional town of Bundaberg, quite famous for Bundy Rum, and I can safely say that I am in love……

with blading.

I love everything about rollerblading, except going to a skatepark to find hordes of douchey skateboarders, douchey BMX riders, and even douchier scooter kids.

I have just finished my last year of school and am moving off to Brisbane next year to study Sound Engineering and Film Making at SAE Institute. I spent my schoolies week on a skate trip with my good friends Scott Jarman and Samuel Willetts.

Thats really all you need to know apart from one important fact…………
I intend to devote the rest of my life to the blading community.

I have no idea how to go about that, but I am young, ambitious and have great pride for an industry that has helped shape who I am.

I originally found blading through a TV show called Air Gear in 2009. It’s about this world where people have put miniaturised motors in the wheels of rollerblades and created Air Treks which are high powered skates which help people “fly higher than ever before.”

I really like the show and it inspired me and a couple of friends to get into rollerblading.

To start off with, I was only skating recreational skates and just learning how to rollerblade properly whilst learning some spins and how to stop etc.. I had never heard of aggressive inline skating before and it took a few months to find out that there was such a thing. I was skating on a pair of red Mercury V’s that I bought during 2009.

For a while I was just going to a local skating rink on Friday nights with friends. I then started taking a look around the youtubes for rollerblading edits and saw some pretty cool stuff.

Back then I didn’t realise that there was much of a difference between my rollerblades and the ones that all the pros had. I guess what I am trying to get across here is that the market doesn’t really reach out to kids like me, and that’s not anybody’s fault, it’s just probably something to think about. Maybe the problem isn’t trying to go mainstream maybe the skating community should focus on extending the small underground, alternative culture to reach out to more remote areas like Australia, New Zealand, or maybe even Antarctica, I hear there’s some pretty crazy penguins doing some crazy shit down there.

Continuing on, these videos inspired me and I started going to skate parks.

I had a fatal accident on Christmas day 2009, well it wasn’t that fatal I was just trying to do some half pipe stuff in recreational skates and realised pretty quickly that a heel stop on my skates wasn’t a good idea on a half pipe.

I broke my arm on Christmas day and couldn’t skate for 2 months…. that didn’t really suck too much because I filled the time I would have been skating with hours of fun watching skate edits and figuring out the difference between recreational skates and aggressive skates. 
There was one edit in particular that I have probably watched a million times now. It was my final ‘yep, I am gonna get into aggressive skating’ moment.

This edit is soooooo sick! I seriously love it. Everything just looks so smooth and those long rails at the end that Victor just totally laces are awesome! Thank you Victor Arias and Vinny Minton for making an edit that got me into aggressive skating!

During 2010 in English at school we had an assignment on sub-cultures where we had to find a documentary on a sub-culture and write a report. So of course I found, Barely Dead. I loved it and it helped me gain a stronger knowledge of where the industry came from. I didn’t get a good mark for my assignment but that was because I just rambled on about skating rather than what the assignment asked me to do.

Around July in 2010 I went to SkateBiz in Brisbane and bought myself my first and so far only pair of aggressive skates. My Razors Icon 2’s….

They look good there, but now they are missing one soul slider on my left skate because of a funny story involving a car, a camera, and an annoying road. Also the lace on the liner on the right skate is broken and takes me 5 minutes to do up therefore I am looking for new skates. (That’s a strong but subtle hint to anyone with a pair of Size 10US Valo’s.)

And that’s how I found skating….

Probably quite a long story compared to a lot of other people around the world but the thing is, it was a long story because it took me a while to find it. I can just imagine kids like me who skate recreationally and don’t find the aggressive inline industry simply because it doesn’t reach out to them.

Me and my friends only found it because we went searching, and I suppose that’s the type of people that you want to keep the industry going, but still.

The classic debate over whether it’s a good or bad thing to try and bring blading back as a mainstream sport is one that I find completely pointless because I see a culture that thrives on the fact that it’s underground.

If you have a spare 8 minutes in your day for this Australian Made documentary, then I urge you to watch it.

I think within this short documentary, and my story, contains the solution to the ongoing debate…

Keep rollerblading underground but reach out to more people.

More participants doesn’t have to mean that we start selling out, it just means that there is more like minded people putting money into the industry.

If the problem is in money then we just need more people to buy skates right? 
I could be wrong and I have only known about this industry for 2 nearly 3 years but I just don’t think that the solution is really that difficult to find….

Anyway, so to give you a better picture of how a young kid like myself sees the industry let me just explain what I understand.

There are a few companies, the first I ever discovered were Razors, purely because I was amazed by Brian Aragon. However at the time I didn’t know the difference between all the grinds and hey! I still don’t get the difference between a savannah and a unity (and what the hell is a tabernacle or tabinacle or whatever the hell it is?).

Here ya go, Zac. We got Andrew Gilpin from Iowa how to demonstrate a tabernacle, but be careful, this one is topside.

Anyhoo, I invested in buying a few skate DVD’s my small collection includes, Undercover made by The Conference.org, Razors Game Theory, Razors Junior DVD, Fade Nation Green, Charg!ng, and Valo4Life. I am in love with Valo4Life and just for the record, a really good skate DVD can inspire someone to buy a particular brand of skates. Because of Valo4Life I am now trying to get my hands on some Valo AB white skates.

So my initial thoughts on the industry are that everything comes down to the World Rolling Series. That’s where the top pros battle it out to prove who is the best. Though I quickly learned that skating is more than that, I noticed many pro skaters who put edits out yet they don’t compete in the WRS and I think what they give to the industry is a good sense of the term “skating for fun.”

I like how some companies push their skaters to compete whilst others just let their pros tour around in vans and find the most ridiculous street spots.

The point I am trying to make is that from the perspective of a young roller, who is 1 of 3 aggressive skaters in his town, the skating industry doesn’t need a change.

There are some really good vibes out there. Some people are doing the craziest stuff and getting seen by the world. Just look at Chris Haffey’s latest achievement.

Now my long story hopefully didn’t seem like a sappy story of a kid who had to go to the effort of finding an industry for himself. And if it did seem that way, I apologise, however, I would like everyone reading to take this on board as a thing to try and focus some energy on.

The skating scene is so very American.

Everything, from what I have experienced in finding the industry myself, happens in the US and there is some terrific stuff happening in the Australian skating scene that I just don’t think is being recognized by the American following.

We have I think about 3 WRS events that go down in Australia every year, and considering there is some great talent in Australia that doesn’t get noticed, I think we could do with some more.

I’m not saying that it’s up to the people that run the WRS to get that organised, but I just don’t think there is much communication going on between the members of the Aussie scene and those in the US that have some pull in the industry.

There’s some good stuff going on in Australia at the moment, like a Battle My Crew Edit competition and some guys from Brisbane are trying to set up a yearlong event like the WRS but just for the Brisbane boys.

I just think as a whole the industry would benefit by trying to have a wider reach and a stronger connection between the different parts of the world.

A couple of ideas to expand on my findings are that maybe one of the major companies could take the first leap and maybe set up a HQ in Australia or New Zealand or somewhere in Europe where there is a big enough following to expand some horizons… (wink wink to anyone who has connections to anyone involved with Valo, you should totally do that first because I can’t find any valo skates my size on the net.)

Or if anyone wants to try this as well, maybe, setting up a new skate brand based in Australia… Me and my friends have done up a rough business draft for a company but we have no idea how to go about it, but it’s an idea.

I am just a kid from a regional Australian town and I want to help the industry in Australia.

I think that the industry has room to grow and I would love to see it expand out so that more kids like me with big ideas can be exposed to this wonderful way of life.


— Zac Hutchings

P.S. — A big thank you to Mr Brian Krans for letting me do this.


  • Ben Rogers wrote:

    That was fresh ta death. A lot of points were brought up that people should listen to. The simplest and most important being that more people need to get skates on their feet. Rollerblading needs to move beyond all of the pissing contests. Big competitions, tours, and videos serve a great purpose, but the only people seeing them are other rollerbladers. Look at how rollerblading originally blew up. Rollerblade hosted demos where people could see Team Rollerblade skate and try on the skates themselves and see how much fun it was. That is going to make skating grow a lot faster than hoping people somehow stumble upon videos of Haffey on Youtube and start skating.

  • Jack Dussold wrote:

    that was awesome to read. and maybe the whole debate about the industry is more complicated than that, but what Zac said made the most sense of anything ive ever heard on the issue. maybe Zac isn’t the next big Pro skater or maybe he is, either way its thinking like that, that will help our industry and our sport get what it deserves.

  • I’m going to go skate right now…

  • I totally feel u brudda! I’m bout to turn 21 and I’ve been blading for 3 1/2 years now. I think rollerblading just needs more companies, more foundations like blade only skate shops.

  • If i am not mistaken Powerslide and thus The Conference is based in Europe, Germany. We will get a Woodward Europe. The scenes in the UK, France and Spain are quite healthy. FISE, Chaz Sands invitational, Winterclash and some more….
    We have the Be-Mag, abec (spain). Haffeys Record Jump was held in Marseile.

    Just wanted to point out that it is not as US centric as it seems.

    Oh and i think Japan and South Korea do have a lot to offer as well, Asian X Games.(Soichiro Kanashima) and i bet more they just are far away ;)

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