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Inline Planet Skate Forum • View topic - Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Interplanetary space for discussions of inline skating

Where Do We Go From Here?

Postby Robert on Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:22 pm

As noted on the front page today, the 2008 Event Calendar is now packed with 26 inline marathon (or like events) in the United States and Canada.
http://www.inlineplanet.com/calendar/2008.html

I'm impressed by this number. It suggests that inline skating remains healthy in North America.

But the flip-side is that many of the events are small (100-200 skaters), which makes organizing events a labor of love in most cases.

Any thoughts about what we could do to grow the sport in 2008?
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More evemts - Now What?

Postby Sk8GodFather on Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:39 am

I think and have always felt that the events are only one aspect in getting more people skating. We should consider efforts to make skating a part of everyday life. I think skating as alternative transportation, skating as a healthy, fitness activity and skating as a green alternative are ripe opportunities for our sport to draw the average person into skating and then eventually direct them to events.

The big events are more successful because they are funded. Bottom line.

I think the races I produce more like social events with a strong athletic focus. The main concept behind the California Cup Inline Race Series is to think local, develop local, promote local, that's where is all starts. Those smaller events develop local interest. Local skaters can form teams and groups and represent at those bigger races.

Those smaller, local events also creates a need for products. It seems to me all the people that are participating in the big events already have the latest skates, wheels, energy food and the like.

When a sponsor chooses not to sponsor the smaller event, they must be planning on selling to the same customers until they quit skating or die. From my perspective, I see many skaters coming out to do a 10K or 50K race with old Macroblades or Switchit's who are mesmorized by what they see people skating on. Where's that regional sales guy?

Not every skate event can be like St. Paul and Duluth. Smaller events spread across the country are vital to the path we must take to raise the level of skating in the USA.

It would also be great if there were one governing body that glue this patchwork together. I would think that USA Rollersports would be coming up with some kind of positive action or efforts. Are the people ready for the Skaters' Alliance?
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Postby chaosdsm on Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:32 am

I actually like the smaller events more... They seem a bit more personal than some of the larger events.

In some cases, skating events are afterthought add-ons to preexisting events. This is especially the case in several of the local events I've skated in the last couple years. I think as skaters, we need to approach the organizers, either at the events, or by email, phone, regular mail, or whatever means may be available & give them our feedback. Including info about the surface, route, timing (does it conflict with other skating events), etc... & even possible sponsors that they may be able to use for future events. Of course, some of the organizers just flat out don't listen to the feedback & I think many skaters in Central Florida can think of one such local organizer without much trouble :wink:

I like some of sk8godfather's ideas, i.e. alternative/green transport. If there was a safe way to skate the 6 miles from house to work, I'd be skating to work at least a couple times a week. I've seen people locally skating for transportation, especially when shopping, although many of the shops are starting to put up signs that say no skating. Also locally, a small number of schools are acting as test beds for Rollerblade's "Skate-in-School" program.
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Postby Jim White on Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:24 pm

Please say more about the school program.
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Re: Where Do We Go From Here?

Postby Ken Roberts on Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:58 pm

Robert wrote:26 inline marathon (or like events) . . . Any thoughts about what we could do to grow the sport in 2008?
That sorta makes it sound like you think "the sport" of skating equals marathon-like events. I doubt marathon-like events are the place to look for future growth of skating. Because the longer the distance, the more inferior skating is to bicycling.

The special genius of skating is that it's more interesting than bicycling -- more interesting to learn and perform. More interesting to look at -- a more interesting way to show off in front of other people. The way to grow skating is not to make it more like bicycling, but to find new ways to express its special genius. So copying bicycle-competition formats is not the way to grow big, but rather to invent some new twist on competition + performance (or cooperation?)

The way you "show off" is not by doing it in some special place hidden away -- rail trail, indoor racing, off-road loop. You show off skating by doing it out in the streets and neighborhoods where lotsa people live and travel. I skate on the streets lots and I get noticed -- especially by school-kids who should be the future of the sport.

But they can't be influenced to copy you if they can't see you doing it. Lots of the equipment and techniques on this website and this forum are focused toward closed race courses and rail trails -- very little for city streets. That's a reasonable understandable focus for you. But it doesn't make much sense as a strategy to make skating grow.

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The S.F. Example

Postby Sk8GodFather on Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:44 pm

Here in San Francisco we are always trying to approach building the sport from many different angles. We have the Friday Night Skate, many races, parades, skate fitness campaigns, even political efforts to create more opportunities for skating. What you don't have is any kind of support other than the skaters that participate.

We (my skate school) spent 3 days skating in schools last week. 2 were in the roughest part of East Oakland. The other was in the Potero Hill district on San Francisco. I had about 100 pairs of more roller skates because lately blades have been considered not-so-cool. I did bring about 20 pairs of rollerblades. All the kids wanted the blades. It was as if they had never seen them before. Rose and I were very suprised.

We are working on the Skate Against Violence Campaign now. We are choosing 30 kids to give skates to this Christmas from the E.C. Reems School in Oakland. It will be featured on all the news channels and the newspapers as we have done this many times before. No skate shops will participate. No companies will offer any support.

Will any of this help grow the sport?

D. Miles Jr.
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Postby chaosdsm on Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:16 am

Jim White wrote:Please say more about the school program.


Here's the website http://www.skateinschool.com/home.htm
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