n case you didn’t know, this last Saturday ended the 2010 World Rolling Series. It was points and power down to the wire, so let’s take a little gander at the fastest-growing competitive circuit rollerblading has to offer.
World Rolling Series
Unlike other sports, like say baseball, when our competitions use the words “world” and “series,” it actually is a series of competitions around the world.
You know, we don’t just call something the “World Series” and don’t invite countries like Cuba and the Dominican Republic that could smash our faces in. Nope, in rollerblading we want everyone involved: Americans, French, Australians, Japanese… everyone.
We’re like the UN, only we do something to create unity and turn off Iran’s mic.
That being said, the World Rolling Series ended with some big names that brought shitloads of talent to the game. You might recognize some of them here:
And Chris Haffey seemed to be okay with it, too.
(If you’re not friends with Create Originals on Facebook, you should be. They’re stacking all of the edits on their page as quickly as they’re posted online. The comp was in their backyard after all.)
I think it’s safe to say the skater-started WRS has quickly become THE skating series of rollerblading.
Granted, yes, the competition format reads like a Zagat’s dining guide, but it’s those competitions around the world that can get a sanction from the WRS. Who knows, one of these could expand up to be something huge like the Hoedown used to be or like Bitter Cold is now.
That being said, I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to people like Matt Mickey from Intuition Skate Shop and others who kept those poor saps thtat couldn’t make it updated regularly.
Sure, the ASA Action Sports Tour is still around (not the old beautiful ASA we old men remember, but the one that swallowed the LG Action Sports Tour), but minus the Super Girl Jam, the ASA has gone all X-Games and basically ousted rollerblading from its ranks. There might be some blader competitions here or there—maybe, and their site is of no help—but it’s yet another mish-mash mix of freestyle motocross, BMX, and skateboarding with sponsors such as some shitty TV show on the CW, two branches of the military, and Paul fucking Mitchell hair care products.
Basically, if they do ever feature rollerblading, it doesn’t really count because it’ll be snippets of little shit in highlights and nothing that gets rollerblading more exposure to the masses than the Evian rollerskating babies commercial did.
Blader: “Hey, I just won the ASA!”
World: “Good for you. Back on the short bus so we can go home.”
Then there’s the AIL. Yeah, it’s still around, it is one finals that I very rarely hear anyone talk about. Honestly, I find the AIL’s structure sort of confusing. There are beginners, intermediate, advanced, and elites. Not pros and ams, but tons of other stuff.
That, and as you can see above, the AIL championships are part of WRS.
I mean, the AIL finals were Halloween weekend. Did you know that? Did any of your friends mention it to you or did you talk about it?
I know mine didn’t and most of my friends are dedicated, obsessive blade heads.
AIL is MIA
But as far as significance inside our sport, it appears the AIL is slowly fading out and becoming less a factor in rollerblading every year. I do remember there being more pros at the event and years past and significantly less coverage.
This year Diego Guilloud won, I guess. Haffey took second and Chad Hornish took third. I had to look it up. Maybe that makes me a bad blader.
But shit, AIL gets the kids juiced, so it’s still got a home in blading.They are, however, one of the few competitions with any kind of emphasis on vert skating and women’s divisions. Also, they continue to have their annual banquet where they throw out awards and recognition. It’s always cool to know you’re No. 1:
But Haffey’s no stranger to AIL awards—he’s been skater of the year and had video section of the year in ’05, ’07, and ’08. But that’s all Haffey was doing back in ’06 and ’07 — snagging first place everywhere.
I’ve heard more than once about people saying Haffey is slacking off. Oh, I beg to fucking differ.
A Bitter Cold Showdown mallet, a WRS trophy, being the only rollerblader on Red Bull’s Nitro Circus Live in Australia, Shred ‘Til You’re Dead II, and sections that everyone wants to see proves otherwise. And that was just this year.
There’s a reason we call him Superman.
Comps vs. Real Street
But all the dribble above were directed competitions, most of which are held on perfect ramps with perfect rails and perfect coping that were designed with the explicit intent to be skated.
That’s not where the heart and soul of skating resides. No my friends, rollerblading was formed in the streets and that’s where it progresses.
Competitions are merely gatherings where one skater will shred better than others—based off of a few people’s opinions—on a certain day.
But look at someone like, say, Chris Farmer. The guy really doesn’t compete, but he never fails to do some retardedly-awesome street shredding. He’s easily put in the top 10 of bladers right now, but you won’t see him in the rankings anywhere. To me, that only increases his street credentials.
In most comps nowadays, there’s no fence hopping or security guard dodging or other burglar-like skills or skitching cars for more speed or shitty run-ups or shitty landings or chunked edges or caps.
No, competition skating is done in pristine environments and that’s just not what the core of blading is about on a day-to-day basis.
Blading is about skating the world around you as it is, not creating a pretty one where you can hang out with your friends and hit on the skater skanks and MILFs (although that is fun).
However, competitions put needed bucks in bladers pockets, get little kids juiced on skating, and a good way to find out who’s full of shit and who can back it up. All of those are good.
Sure, comps like Last Man Standing are still held in the street, but there aren’t enough of them around.
We need IMYTA back and we need it now!
Like Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
No matter what, my blader brethren:
Blade or Die,
— Brian Krans
P.S.— Make sure to check back in Wednesday for Part 1 of a look into the Clark Kent side of Superman, Chris Haffey.