Naomi Grigg's Intro to Freestyle Skating

So what the hell is all this ‘Freestyle’ nonsense?

By Naomi Grigg, English freestyle champion and instructor

The 'Huh?' Factor

"So what are you into then?"

Me? I’m a skater.

"Oh, cool. I used to skateboard once."

No. The other kind of skating ... with skates.

"Oh! Ice skating! ... You know, I think it's amazing what they can do."

No. I'm an inline skater.

"A what?"

A rollerblader.

"Oh, cool. So you do tricks?"


"Like rails and stuff?"

I skate ramps, yeah, but ... I’m really a freestyler.

"Oh cool ... um ... what’s that?"

And there it is. I’m stumped. It happens every damned time.

How can you possibly explain what freestyle skating is? On snow, freestyle means jumps & stuff. On ice, it means slightly less disciplined artistic skating. On inlines, it's ... well ... like doing tricks but on flat ground. It's almost the equivalent of BMX flat-landing. If (skateboarder) Rodney Mullen was an inliner, this is what he’d be doing.

I was recently presenting freestyle skating to the British Rolling Sports Federation (BRSF) and chickened out completely. I just ended up showing a video, and it did the trick pretty well.

In the Beginning ...

As far as I know, freestyle started out in rinks — ice and roller — as a way to impress girls. (Only joking. ... Or am I?)

I can’t imagine that whoever invented the barrelroll or the grapevine was doing it for private pleasure. It just looks too damned good, and is far too technical to have been discovered by chance. I really am flummoxed by how someone stumbled across the fact that if you contorted your body in ways its not supposed to go then you end up making magic happen with your feet.

Nowadays it's much simpler; geeks like me have spent hour upon hour finding zillions of ways of making it easier to learn. But back then ... the original pioneer ... what was his agenda?

Until about four years ago, freestyle plodded along in the UK and remained in the province of rink tricks. But little did we know that the Nation of Skate Gods had a rather revolutionary surprise for us, and indeed, the rest of the skating nations.

(Continued ...)

Part 1|2 >>>


Related reading

• Go to Naomi's freestyle site.

• Go the Planet's freestyle section.

• Go to Naomi video.)


Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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