Blader Digest: Return of the Shredi

I’m very, very lost right now.

I’m in a dark, scary place lit only by a small crack in the basic foundation of rollerblading, which we all know began in a galaxy far, far away.

It’s as if I heard the sound of millions of voices being silenced at once. Like, something I thought was a planet ended up killing everyone on your sister’s planet.

You know which sister I’m talking about.

You know. The slutty one even you thought was hot before you found out she was your sister.

Well, close, but…


What the hell is going on? Where is this analogy going on?

To understand where I am, let’s try a little experiment.

There’s this edit—you might have seen circulating around Facebook for nearly two weeks—that made Rollernews on Saturday.

First you need to watch it, but don’t scroll down too far…

You don’t want to ruin the surprise.

Go ahead. Watch it.


Okay, so you’ve seen it.

Now form an opinion of it.

And think, ‘Hey, I get to leave the first comment on a Rollernews post—and that means it’s most likely going to be read the most—so my comment should either:

a.) Mock the person mercilessly.

b.) Ask a rhetorical question, such as, ‘What the fuck was that?’

c.) Incorporate the term ‘lol’ in there somewhere, whether or not I actually laughed out loud at any time.

d.) Mention their clothing and nothing else.

e.) Concentrate all negativity on the edit itself.

Good. You’ve made your choice.

Now, let’s see what the first post actually was.

No, really.

Where’s the real comment?

Yeah, sure it started out close to most of which we always see, but it was actually…

… well…


And whoever made the edit, as well as the skater in it, could actually learn something from a person’s constructive, articulate, and reasoned response.

Kinda awkward coming from someone who chose a screen name involving one of the most evil villains ever voiced by James Earl Jones.

But that’s the wrong answer. There was no f.) Offer constructive criticism and compliments simultaneously.

What would happen if that was actually an option? Even if it was, do you think anyone would actually use it?


Who would be so dark and sinister to do such a thing?

Yup, look back up there if you didn’t notice it the first time.

That’s right…


Do not follow the Dark Side! Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!Do not follow the Dark Side!

I mean, really. What if everyone started doing that? What if everyone worked together to make everyone and everything in blading as best they could be through constructive criticism? Rollerblading, as we most certainly know it now, would be completely fucking over.

We must stop this now. If you look around rollerblading and you like what you see, if you like message boards and comments the way they are, if you like the idea that if you ever become pro you won’t get paid much, how many staples in blading are holding on for financial dear life, if you never tire of hearing jokes start, “You know the worst part about being a rollerblader…” and other mainstays in rollerblading right now, do not follow DarthRoller‘s lead.

Stay, my friends, stay around. Cling to the past and cower in the present.

Rip into the guy next to you just because he’s there.

Offer no suggestions on improvements.

Call everything “gay.” Make shitloads of comments on why a certain fashion is bad, use the phrase “bad for rollerblading,” and constantly worry about  how you perceive what others outside of rollerblading will see.

I know it’s a lot, but we’ve been doing it for so long, we can “stay the course” or whatever bullshit Bush-era slogan you would understand to get you to think substandard conditions are part of the American (or human, although not always together) experience.

Be brave. Be bold. Be a dick.

Be like the Jar Jar Binks of rollerblading—awkward, pointless, and throw off any cohesion between now and our past. Plus, the more you speak without any kind of necessity or substantive value, the more you ensure your survival.

Whatever you do, do not follow DarthRoller.

But I’m afraid I’m too late.


The Force was weak in that one.

Let’s get to the bitching…

The weather here in lovely San Francisco has been anything but.

But all that time indoors, listening to the wind and rain ruin some perfectly good skating days has given me plenty of time to think. Which, can be a bad thing.

Here, without much to skate indoors, a rainy day means little chance of skating. That pretty much ensures I’ll be in a shit mood. It’s on these rainy days that I realize how much better I feel when I’m on my skates, doing stupid shit with my friends.

The best reality is that I know, with absolute certainty, there are thousands of people all over the world that feel the same as I do.

No matter where we live, we usually have a period of crappy weather. So, unless you’ve got some indoor parks, there’s going to be some sitting around. Then, it might feel, is that you spend more time on the internet bitching about blading than you actually blade.

(And if you do that, you should really contemplate suicide. But before you do anything dumb, we should all try to be less like douche bags and just skate.)

While I and the rest of my skating cohorts wait for a break in the weather—and for the Valo 4Life premiere this Friday—we remember the months of beautiful weather and all the great skating times it provided.

So, while I cry about a little rain, here are things in skating that never fail to get me juiced to throw on my skates:

  • That moment when you and your friends have timed lights perfectly and you all start down a hill in front of traffic. The cars catch up quickly, honking and all sorts of other annoying shit people in cars do. Then, as cars are braking, the bladers pull ahead of them all because while the speed limit might be 25 mph, no one’s clocking bladers doing 50 mph.
  • Security guards that say, “I’ll be back in an hour. You guys won’t be, right?” Last time I heard that I gay for that guy for the splittest of seconds.
  • Chicks that think blading is hot. That never gets old.
  • Chicks that blade. Even better.
  • The feeling of fresh wheels and bearings.
  • When you’re at work and a package wrapped in tape from your local skate shop arrives.
  • Sitting in a meeting and noticing your bleeding through your clothes, knowing each drop of that blood was earned doing something no one else in the room would understand.
  • Friends that have a p-rail, another that has a car to move it, and they don’t mind shredding your garage. (Talking to you, John, Thomas, and Vic!)
  • Those great days skating where you seem to land everything you try without problems.
  • Road trips.
  • Moments like these:
  • The first time you meet your favorite blader. Which will most likely happen, because unlike other sports, our pros are fucking cool people to their fans.
  • Having the opportunity to be something other than just another bike, car, or skateboard on the streets.
  • Burrito sessions after skating sessions.
  • Tall boys.
  • Being able to share spots with skateboarders and bikers without anyone being a dick.
  • The smell of fresh wax on a ledge.
  • The moment you lace a trick you never thought you could.
  • When some random person sees your skates and says, “What the fuck are those? I want them.”
  • Little kids at skate parks that get juiced watching rollerbladers.
  • Knowing that, because of rollerblading, you have friends all over the world, even if you don’t know them yet.
  • That no matter all the weird/stupid/awkward/dickish shit that people say in the internet—even when it’s so bad that the back-and-forth mimicks two people running for office—you’re always been proud to be a rollerblader.

What was Awesome This week

Blader and freelance videographer Kyle Couture put together some good clips of skaters like Jeff Dalnas, Mark Woja, and others. But, more importantly, it’s what they had to say about skating, our identity, our numbers, and more.

What’s not lacking in one bit is how these guys talk about the passion they have for skating—something that sounds so absurd when you think about it, but our entire community of friends held together by a single idea.

    Then there’s an edit Sam Tuffnell, skating for Nimh UK and Loco Skates, featured on Rolling Updates this week. There’s a whole lot to like in this thing.

Andrew “Droid” Hall is always doing some tight shit.

Anyway, have a good week. I plan on it.

Pandas, beards & Pot-smoking pitchers…

In the last year, I’ve been able to revisit some great childhood memories simply by putting my butt in some hard plastic seats at a baseball stadium.

I sat in the stands. I normally hate watching and not doing.

I was 10 again. My dad wasn’t next to me, but I forgot that for a bit.

The sounds were the same.The smells haven’t changed. The sights were great.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants.

Thanks for the great times and great views…

…best of luck in the World Series, from the entire Blade or Die family, including our significant others.

No matter what, if you blade and you visit SF this weekend for the 4Life party, make sure you show your love for Bernal Heights Collective. They support NorCal blading like your mom supports her Ambien habit.

— Blade or Die

Brian Krans

P.S. — If you don’t feel like this was enough, head over to  my old stomping grounds, ONE Magazine, to check out the recently-revived WEB ROLL.

I’ve read it. It’s good.

Off to the other BK-authored blading column—WEB ROLL by Mr. Ben Karris—you go.


  • Can’t wait to order Valo 4 Life! Also diggin’ the Fight Club pic.

  • That was awesome. I really like that edit by kyle couture it was great. And good to finally see some constructive criticism in blading.

    Great read keep it up :D

  • you’re good
    love your work/thinking

  • Crazy Pills wrote:


    Time to time I will catch up with what you are writing about. I felt compelled to respond to your column. I have been watching videos of bladers for the past hour to have a clearer understanding about the editing of videos. It is chalkboard scratching, root canal drilling, GLEE watching unbearable how often slow motion is used. It is true that I am not a rollerblader. However, I did find the most interesting and exhilarating videos to be the ones that emphasized on including the sounds of what was done. The sounds of the wheels rolling on concrete, the clacking of the skates entering and landing the combos, the traffic in the background, and even the disbelief comments of bystanders are what made me feel connected to what was happening. By all means, use slow motion for ridiculous combos or even tricks that were unrealistic to complete, but DO NOT bore your audience with an entire video of tricks being slowed to the point of what seems to be frame by frame. The videos with the sounds, wide angles, and a good tune are like a fine cheddar ale soup…. could take it in ALL day. Hope to see you soon. Take care.

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