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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 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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