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Vertical Roller Skating
by Brian Wainright

Aggressive quad roller skater Brian Wainwright explains how he got started in the sport and he offers some tips for skaters who want to try it.

Brian Wainwright
Brian Doing a Frontside Carve Grind at
Stone Edge Skatepark in Daytona Florida in 1989

Photographer: Geoff Graham
Reprinted with permission from Brian Wainwright

The Beginning: Skateboarding
I started skateboarding in 1976 and began riding rollerskates on transitions in 1980 after checking it out in Skateboarder Magazine and then seeing some guys really doing it at a skatepark here in North Carolina. The skatepark also housed a roller rink, so they had rental skates that you could ride on the ramps.

Starting to Roller Skate on Ramps
A few weeks later I bought a pair of roller skates from a friend at my local skatepark. That year my brother and I built a backyard quarter pipe, 8' wide 8' high with a starting ramp on the other side, I started riding my skates on that quite a bit. I began skating in parallel stance; feet side by side.

A Trip to California
Brian at the Marina del Rey Skate Park The following year my family took a trip to Los Angeles, my brother and I had checked the magazines for skateparks in the area and talked the folks into taking us to one. We ended up skating all week at Marina Del Rey Skatepark. This park was a favorite of many of the pro skateboarders at the time and several were around that week. There were also some local rollerskaters and these two guys from Las Vegas skating side stance and they were shredding.

Jack Kent in Marina del Rey
Jack Kent is the one I remember most, his style looked a lot like that of a skateboarder, grabbing his skates to tweak his tricks. He was doing huge backside channel airs, frontside one footed plate stalls, Andrect's, and just taking rad lines around the bowl. This made a huge impression on me so I went home and began adopting the side stance style of skating.

The Side Stance
At this point, all of my tricks are based on riding side stance, in this stance your feet are turned heel to heel and when you approach transitions it is much like surfing or skateboarding because you have a frontside and a backside. To adopt this stance practice first on flat ground, it is easier to accomplish with a little bit of speed so gain momentum in parallel stance and then try switching to side stance. You will likely be more comfortable with one foot or the other leading; this will dictate your approach. Practice leaning from one side to the other, turning and carving from right to left. You may try moving your feet side to side, opposite from one another to generate speed as well.

Frontside and Backside Turns
Once you are comfortable skating on flat ground you are ready for transition. Approach the wall preparing to lean either to the left or the right while keeping your body perpendicular to transition. For instance if you lead with your left foot and you lean to your right as you approach the wall you will be making a backside turn, lean to the left and you will be making a frontside turn. You may have more difficulty with frontside, I found it more challenging because of the additional flexibility necessary, but keep trying and it will get easier.

More Transition Techniques
You can make the turn more sharply by pivoting on the heel truck of your front skate and the toe truck of your back skate. To pump the wall for speed bend your knees more at the base of the transition, as you ride through the curve straighten them a bit, pushing into and up the wall.

Tricks at the Top of the Ramp
Once you reach the top of the wall there are a number of options to try out.
  • You can do aerials by propelling yourself out of the top of the wall, unweighting at the top as you fly out and putting your feet back down as you reenter the ramp.

  • Grinds are possible as you guide your trucks onto the coping at the top of the ramp.

  • Plate stalls or slides are one of the basics, turning your feet into the parallel position and using the center of the skate between the wheels to stall or slide.
Variations and combinations of these maneuvers open up as you get more comfortable on your skates. Riding switch is simply skating with the opposite foot forward and this doubles your possibilities creating additional challenges and functions. You can be as creative as you like; there are no limits. I came from a skateboard background and grew up riding with skateboarders so it has had a definite influence on my skating. Observing how they approach the wall you can learn a great deal about how to control your body when riding.

I would suggest learning how to stretch your hips if you are serious about skating in side stance. Most of the flexibility required for riding like this is developed in the core region. Most of all get out there and start riding, have fun and skate hard and within your limits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Wainwright is on a mission to re-introduce quad rollerskating into the action sports environment. Brian has traveled with the Warped Tour for three years, rolled with Chris Edwards' D-Tour and driven many miles to ride his rollerskates all over the country. Woodward Camp is home away from home in the summer time for Brian. From 1987 to 1991 Brian won 4 world championship vertical rollerskating titles in Germany and skated throughout Europe. Brian is currently starting his own company to produce aggressive rollerskates.

Talk About Vertical Roller Skating
Visit the SkateLog forum at AskAboutSkating.com and
post a message in the Vertical Roller Skating Discussion.

Related Links
Brian Wainwright - Main Menu
Aggressive Inline Skating
Quad Roller Skating

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