Blader Digest: Bladevangelism

I don’t know if I still work here.

Someone cleared out my desk, or one of the other 15 employees that keep or Blade or Die running stole my shit when I was gone.

See, I’ve been out on a bit of a sabbatical.

For the past six weeks, I’ve been through both horrible and awesome shit. In that time, I’ve had plenty of time to examine what’s most important in my life right now. While those priorities may have shifted abruptly, I feel that, as always, shit’s going to work itself out in the end so you might as well relax, enjoy the ride, and get a few scars in the process.

That being said, let’s talk about rollerblading.

Shit’s awesome, right? It’s so damn fun going really fast, jumping off shit, and treating the concrete world around you not as a prison you cannot escape but a playground you never want to leave.

It’s about exercising that free will to knowing put your life and health on the line to feel the rush of the brain’s own mind-altering capabilities. Adrenaline is, after all, addicting.

“But what about the industry?” you ask?

Damien Wilson had his long article—but well worth the read—on about how Powerslide can fuck people over, how he swears by Fester Wheels, and all other sorts of interesting shit.

Adam Johnson tells his history of Vibralux, letting a lot of people know about the reality that is owning anything in rollerblading.

John Bolino got a pro skate, so that’s fucking rad because he’s earned the shit out of it.

“But shit man, the X-Games are on. I’ve joined the Facebook group to bring blading back to the X-Games, just like the one that said if an 8-year-old girl’s photo got enough likes a charity would buy her the breast implants that would save her life, so why hasn’t blading been saved?” you whimper?

Because, you fucktard, skating won’t prosper because of your meager efforts on Facebook. It won’t become popular if you re-post every edit you come across. There won’t be any money in the goddamn sport so pros can afford health insurance and companies can charge less for their products because they can turn a decent buck off of volume instead of counting on a dwindling number of cheap assholes who complain more than they purchase.

So, yeah, what’s been said that hasn’t been said a thousand times already?

The fuck if I know.

That’s why I haven’t been saying anything. I’ve been trying to put my fucking money and time where my mouth is by trying to do something for the sport besides coming on here and yammering on like yet another opinionated jackass with an internet connection.

We’ve been doing this really corny, but really fun event every first Sunday of the month here in lovely San Francisco, California on the West Coast of the good ol’ US of A. You know, the place where we aren’t afraid to punch you will a big freedom fist.

See, San Francisco is a weird fucking place. While everyone in America is dying of a heat wave, we’re bitching about fog. While people are losing their jobs all over the country, we’re hiring at near-record rates. While people are losing their homes to unforgivable mortgage payments, landlords here are raising rents by 50 percent just because they can.

If you visit San Francisco and go to anything we call a “festival,” you’re going to see some fucked up shit. We have a “Hunky Jesus” competition on Easter, a public S&M festival—as featured in the SHOCK Video—and everything between,  so long as it contains public consumption of alcohol, illicit drug use, and lax enforcement of any state, federal, or moral law.

You can buy your weed at a store here. There are cute lesbian couples here. Seriously, they exist outside of the porn videos made in a castle-like building just down the street from me, which also has some fun front stairs to skate on day where you need to break in a new pair of skates or blade at mach 9.

And, with all that going on, San Francisco wants people to be able to play in the street once in a while.

Photo courtesy of Nick Chapman, a local photographer who hung out for two hours in the May sun to take pictures of all of us blading. This is Tyler "Thor" Noland

So, to buy into the whole hippie, exercise-your-free-will thing, we’ve been setting up two lovely practice rails donated by Justin Hertel and the totally unsuspecting crew of Aggressive Mall. Armed with rails and stickers for the kids, we have ourselves a good old-fashioned p-rail sesh.

We just happen to do it in the middle of thousands of people who gather in clusters of 100 at a time to watch us do what we love to do most: push each other to do bigger and better tricks.

We have amateur photographers posted up for hours, sharing photos later on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and whatever other social media will allow them to believe they are actually living their lives instead of constantly documenting it.

Click here to see Victor Arias and B. Free skating the rails last Sunday as part of #ValoMobile.

(And just to make sure you note how hypocritical I am, I’m on all that shit. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. I fucking hate that I’m slowly becoming addicted to that bullshit, but, hey, it takes me forever to get to a point, so I have to spread your bullshit out if you want to grow a garden.

You? You reading this now? Fuck man, you’ve got some serious addiction to bullshit if you’re reading this.)

Anyway, the point is that a great organization, Sunday Streets, does this really hipster- and family-friendly event that I thought rollerblading needed to be at. People were doing yoga and rollerskating, so I figured rollerblading could be in there. Also, skateboarders there had a plastic kicker and a safety cone to jump over, so we had to do better than that.

The people at Sunday Streets aren’t officially down with what we do because of insurance reasons, but we’re invited back each month.

Say whatever this-doesn’t-make-blading-look-badass-enough all you want, but our Sunday Street p-rail seshes fulfills a major need that we weren’t seeing very of: rollerblading in front of the eyes of non-skaters. And they seem to dig it.

Jaren Grob skates with BMX dudes on America’s Got Talent and CoCo Sanchez is part of a multi-sport group for the same talent search show. Both groups keep advancing.

When we set up those rails and manage to get people to not walk right through our way with their heads up their asses, we’re able to skate in clusters of people a hundred deep at a time, I shit you not. Little kids are watching. They’re seeing what’s going down.

The self-satisfaction comes from that great feeling that every once in a while a skateboarder will come by and attempt a board slide on the lowest part of the two rails and his board, every time, slides out from underneath him. We’re cruising up these down rails and launching off and the skateboarders can’t handle a heavily-waxed round rail. To quote Mr. Food, “Ooh, it’s so good.”

And people ask tons of questions:

“What kinds of skates are those?”

“Where can I get a pair of those?”

“People still rollerblade?”

And my personal favorite…

“Are you guys part of a club or something?”

And the answer always is, “Nope. We just all like rollerblading.”

I suggest if your town does something similar to this, get involved in it. Get a few homies together and a do a cheesy-as-fuck blade demo like we do. You can look at is as doing charity work for your sport, or you can be like us and have a blast skating our p-rails for an assload of people who aren’t looking at the technical differences between rollerblading and other sports, but are generally entertained by athletic ability from people who also happen to be drinking and smoking while doing it.

But that’s kind of what we need a bit more of right now. Sure, you’re watching the X-Games and continually pouting over blading’s non-existence in it and you want more money in the sport, but sitting around for the money fairy to come and sprinkle her magic dust under the noses of corporate sponsors makes about as much sense as it would there’s an invisible man in the sky listening to you bitch and moan all of time you call him up.

Long story short:

Make Blading Seen

Many of you are working on that shit. Keep it up. The rest of you, get creative, but at least, do the bare minimum.

Carry your skates around with you. Even more now that I’m riding some crispy B. Smith Lights, people stop me and talk about the damn things. They talk about how they used to rollerblade when I’m holding them on the bus (Fuck you, I’m old and get tired, so I have to take the bus some days.). Sure, some people might crack some jokes, every once in a while, but if all those years of falling on concrete hasn’t thickened your skin a bit then you should really consider taking up something safer, like tennis.

And I know I’m not the only one feeling this.

Contact Your Local Media

If you’re planning a competition, contact your local media: television, radio, newspaper, or a blogger who actually generates his own content rather than solely stealing it from other sources, should one ever exist. In the insatiably  hunger for anything to put on the air that could create controversy, there are many angles the story could be played.

Fuck, I used to be in the news business. Here are a few story pitches you can add—should they realistically apply to your situation—to your email to these media outlets, that sound incredibly easy to fill the corny words coming out of some 60-year-old white dude who has fake tanned himself into the color and texture of my dad’s old baseball glove:

  • Local Daredevils Strut Their Stuff for a Shot at the Right to be Called The Best Local Skater (“Mmm, rollerblading. Sounds like something I could really grind with.” — Ron Burgundy, KVWN-TV Channel 4 Evening News, San Diego)
  • Inline Skating? Do You Remember Those? (“Asian Correspondent Trisa Takanawa delves rollerblading and other things Diane hasn’t done since the 1990s. Like give a friggin’ blowjob!” — Tom Tucker, Quahog Channel 5 News)
  • Rollerbladers: Satanic Devil Worshiping Terrorists? (“I’ve always told you rollerbladers were bad news. Now look at what they’re up to—their wearing black, they’re getting boozed up, they’re doing all sorts of drugs, and they’re making a disgrace of the American flag. They are terrorists and this liberal Obama administration is buying into this argument that all this perpetuated deviant, terrorist behavior is somehow an exercise in free speech. Well, Mr. President, if what they are doing is free speech, here’s my free speech: you crack down on these thugs now or we’ll have to tear down the White House when you’re done with it and start from scratch. Hey, these guys may be peddling smut, but these guys aren’t Larry Flint. Listen, we’ve already had the shoe bomber and that’s why we take our shoes off at the airport. Do we have to wait for the rollerblade bomber before we make them take off their boots?” — Bill O’Reilly, Fox News)
  • Rollerblade Competition Interrupts Mother’s Plans to Drink While Her Fourth Grader is Left Unattended at Area Skate Park (“Susan Johnson was planning having her usual four martinis with the girls on Saturday afternoon but she’s furious now because she can’t due to a ‘fruit boot orgy’ at the local skate park where she normally leaves her 7-year-old ADHD-ridden product of ‘a good time at a Nickelback Concert’ to mindlessly wander through the waves of poured concrete, an steel forest of blunt objects, and grown men with anger issues who harbor absolutely zero-percent of concern for her child’s safety. She says she’s planning to sue the city.” — The Onion)

Recruit from Within the Skate Park

Now before we get all dumb on the subject of scooter kids, I would like to say this.

With that said, fuck scooter kids. Fuck skateboarder kids. Fuck any kid who is left there without a clue on how to conduct themselves.

Growing up in a small, shitty town, we didn’t have a skate park. The first time I went to one, it was a horrible small slab of concrete with a few obstacles and some used syringes there.

Now, it’s strange for most cities—especially here in the skater utopia that is California—to NOT have a skate park. Hell, even some camp sites have skate parks.

While this is beyond fucking rad, it also means that the association between skaters and badasses are slowly dwindling down to the idea that skateboarding is “edgy” even though Justin Bieber does it. It used to be that if you fucked up at the skate park, there was a good chance you got your ass beat.

Or maybe I’m just an old man who remembers the older skaters and how fucking terrifying they could be and kids today are so full of this “you’re so special” parenting that they’re not afraid of adults like they should be.

As long as we’re forced to share the space with little kids on scooters or douche bag teenage skateboarders who spend more time sitting on ledges holding their boards than actually riding, we could take a few seconds to help make the world a better place. Or at least your local skate park.

Now, who should be responsible for teaching the kids on how to act at the skate park? The parents? Fuck that, they’re idiots. Just like our parents did with us, their parents did with them, and so on forever since we crawled out of the mud and learned that it felt good when our genitalia touched, parents have no clue what the fuck is going on with their kids. That’s part of the process. Anyone you knew growing up with a “cool” set of parents turned out to be some junkie asshole who will never do shit with his life and the depression since he’s realize that is crippling him.

Besides, if the parent isn’t skating at the park, they’re reading a book or doing other stupid shit. (There are, of course, the really awesome parents who support the shit out of their kids, know trick names, and push their kids to do what makes them happy. Thank a god for that.)

The point of the last patch of bullshit you just read is this: bullying scooter kids out of the skate park is fucking stupid. Let the skateboarders do that shit. They’re going to piss off enough people

That, and maybe they’ll figure they’re sick of being bullied by the same group of over-confident, entitled teenage douchebags that can exist anywhere in any sport and in every high school movie made between 1996 and 2001. Those kids will know they have friends in blading.

Don’t think that strategy will work to increase the number of people who rollerblade?

How the fuck you think churches get so goddamn big?

Evangelism, mother fuckers.

That’s right. They’re the kids in the white shirts and plastic engraved name tags knocking on your door. They’re the ones handing out pamphlets that either enlighten you to eternal happiness with every dead person you’ve ever loved, or warn of you eternal damnation in a fiery pit of pain, torture, and every crappy rapper’s mixtape on repeat. They’re the ones building mega churches, “curing” people of “diseases,” and having an uncomfortable amount of control on the American political process.

Those smart-as-hell Bible thumpers tell you, typically at the lowest point in your life (such as inside a prison cell), that there’s this guy you can’t experience with all the senses He supposedly gave you because He loved you but knew—because He was all-powerful and all-knowing from now until ten minutes after the end of time—that you’d mess up so He sent some really messed-up people who will continue to this day persecute its own members who are different (including a whole congregation who says their with Him and either sexually molests its most vulnerable congregation, or spews vile hatred on young dead men and women because they believe He started a war about a black substance made from the remains of animals from millions of years ago that even some of said congregation were staged there in fossil form to test their faith in him simply because some males, His first human creation, like to engage in sexual acts outside of marriage with other males, which is the same set of characteristics of the molestation cases mentioned earlier) all because He loves you yet can’t tell you Himself, like some dad in the aforementioned prison cell who got there because he exercised his Free Will. And the people He sent to tell you about Him call some of his own followers “fags,” while their use of that term could be directly applied to many dead and some alive men who underwent ordination to be known as “Father.”

And people give those fuckers money all of the GODdamned time!!!!!

Do you see that what we’re trying to do shouldn’t be that hard?

Doesn’t selling religion sound like a much more complicated and unrealistic argument to put out there than “Rollerblading Doesn’t Suck”? No. No it doesn’t.

Fuck it. Really, all we’re trying to say when we bitch about exposure and what our sport needs and how we need corporate sponsorship and companies need to work better and fuck, dick, cunt, asshole, and shit…you get the point.

Like churches, if we want money, we need the people.

Fuck it. Let’s sell blading like crazy fucking ideologues sell the idea that God gave us free will to do what we want, but he has a plan anyway, so fuck if you get a say in the matter.

Sure, since we’re small, they’ll call us a cult. At least then the quote earlier from Bill O-Reilly wouldn’t be made up. Put a certain way, our boundless dedication to the thing we love could border on obsessive delusions of grandeur. That’s fucking cool.

If you’re religious and take offense to this, I will say this and this only: I am God’s messenger. He sent me here to show you the way. He wants you to give me all your money so he can spread His word. Also, the world is going to end—and He means it this time!—so all your worldly transgressions don’t need confessions if you give all your possessions to Mr. Kransions.

Can I get a…


Blade or Die,

— Brian Krans

P.S. — Buy my books. Like this article, they cover religion, drugs, doing what you want, and the consequences of stupidity. There are even a few rollerblading references that you have to blade to understand. They’re sold at Aggressive Mall (which also gets you 100 Reward Points), Intuition, Amazon, The American Book Center in Amsterdam, and through our Big Cartel site, which is fun because then I get to send people weird shit with them. Also, we have them on sale, if you don’t mind if your copy smells a bit like cheap American beer.

You don’t really have to buy my books, but I always appreciate it when people do. Either way, I’m going to keep writing them. I got free will, bitches.

Oh, and pick up a copy of the next issue of Be-Mag. I have like 3 or 4 articles in there. And it’s got Louie Zamora. That dude’s dope.

P.P.S. — God bless America.


  • 916 sacrafornia wrote:

    Amen, it all starts in your local communities. Kids are always interested in blading especially now a days. I roll a lot round my hood, and get nothing but positive feedback and questions from all ages . Once a little skateboarder kid gave me a dollar for doing a true unity on a rail kuz he was so juiced. Little does he know, he made me officially pro. Roll with confidence/humbility, make blading your gift to the world.

  • Susan Johnson!

  • Paco Flores wrote:

    Not bad. Need more booze

  • HAHA this awesome :) I’m an OG skater (31) who started skating again about 8 months ago !!!

    Yah I suck but nothing feel better than just rolling around and steezin out a sick super solid grind… still freakin love it !

    I support as much as i can. Saving up for 2.0s when they come out :)

    Cheers and nice article. Let’s make it happen !!!

  • Nice Write… Thank you!

  • Awesome article. I wish we all would have taken better care of the sport back in the nineties and early 2000’s.

    I took a break from skating in 2003, due to getting sucked into corp america, and at the time there were a few rollers at each skate park I went to. Even when I moved from Seattle to live in Texas I met a few at Eisenbergs in Plano every time I went. I started back up last year and still suck, but have noticed a big difference in attendence.

    The sad part is that I even had to buy my ol skating pal a pair of boots just to have some one to skate with. Now that I’ve moved to San Jose, which seems to have quite enough local skateparks, I still don’t see any Rollers…
    Hopefully this article inspires the activism of all rolling enthusiests, young and old, to help bring Rolling back to where it was and farther than it ever should be.

  • Krans, the Mushroom blading guys do more for blading than most people. Leon Basin has probably gotten more people on skates in the past few months than you have in your entire life. Now please, stop being a cunt.
    Love, Jesus

  • Matthew wrote:

    Good Sunday morning read for sure.

    Picking up both of your books now.

  • Etienne wrote:

    I agree with Jesus point.
    They’re the best thing that happened to blading in the last 10 years.

  • Andrew Scherf wrote:

    Another good read, and you gave me an idea to do some blading demos at our First Fridays in downtown Phoenix.

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