Part 7: Eddy Matzger Interview ...
In Which the Skate Legend Talks About ...
Robert: You've skated all over the world. You've been up Mt. Kilimanjaro. You've skated the Great Wall of China. You've skated the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. Of all the places you've gone, which has been your favorite?
Eddy: Probably Indonesia. It's great a great place to skate! You get off the plane, put on your skates, skate to the ferry, and then take the ferry to the next island. Then you skate across that island, take the ferry and go the next one. No one owns a car there. There are just a few buses and trucks. So you really own the road.
It's great. The monkeys are sitting on the road and scatter in front of you.
Robert: So where are you going next?
Eddy: I don't know. But I'm open to suggestions. [He laughs.] ... Maybe I'll skate from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal. There are probably some amazing roads in the rain forest ... unfortunately! ... that are fresh and black and smooth for thousands of miles with very little traffic.
One thing the people up in Duluth are going to help me do is to skate underwater. There are some places there where the rock outcroppings just disappear into the lake, and I figure that if I weigh myself down enough and wear scuba gear, I should be able to skate on the rock. ... Maybe I'll try that.
Robert: How do you feel about skating on the roads here in the United States?
Eddy: I pay my taxes. I feel like I have a right to be out there, too.
Robert: Do you feel comfortable with the traffic?
Eddy: It took a long time to get comfortable. I used to shop for spots to skate, places with little traffic, like bike routes. And I would hang out with the bikers. They always knew the best ways to get around.
Like in Atlanta ... I used to think Atlanta was unskatable and then the bikers showed me the back roads. ... What I have found is that you can always find a way, no matter what kind of skater you are.
Robert: Aside from racing, you also teach inline skating at the Eddy Matzger Workshops, which are held all over the world. How did that all get started?
Eddy: Everything evolved naturally. I started out just racing and then that evolved into educating and inspiring people. And from that, a whole new angle developed -- and that was the workshops, which I've been doing now for ten years.
I find at the workshops that I am not only teaching, but I am getting training myself. We work a lot on basics, and the basics are really important for me. If you're a professional of any kind -- a musician, an artist, an athlete -- you are always practicing basics.
Besides, I have so much fun doing the workshops that it's like playing the whole time, but learning while you're doing it. People who go to the workshops are in it for the joy of skating. And seeing light bulbs going off in people's heads when they are learning something, when something clicks ... that reminds me of what it was like to learn how to skate and helps me relive all those cool moments.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson