Planet News Archive

Week of Oct 23, 2005

(Oct. 24, 2005)
Fila Reports Strong Skate Sales; Continues Search for U.S. Partner - Fila says its skate sales jumped 35 percent this year, boosting its inline revenues by 20 percent. "This is making us very happy," said Fila's Claudio Balconi. The company is so happy, in fact, that it would like to expand into the U.S. market. But so far, it hasn't been able to find a U.S. distributor. Hmmm. (Go to the Planet story.) (Oct. 24, 2005)

Elsewhere on the Web ... At 35, Derek Parra Hopes for Another Olympic Moment - Former inline champion Derek Parra won gold and silver at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. But this year, he's having to battle just to win a spot on the U.S. team. (Read the story at

(Oct. 25, 2005)
Planet Debut! Staying Up ... Or How to Stand in the Bathtub on Soap Shoes - To a beginner, balancing on inline skates can seem as precarious as standing in a bathtub on soap shoes. But with a little help, it's not as hard as it seems, as certified skate instructor Kathy McSparran explains in the debut of her Planet column: Skate Coach. Kathy's twice-a-month column will focus on advice for beginning and intermediate skaters ... you know, the ones we need more of to keep the inline universe growing. (Go to Kathy's Staying Up column.) (Oct. 25, 2005)

Mich. Company Develops Inline Skate with Hand Brake - After taking a tumble on his inline skates, auto worker Robert Smyler decided they needed better brakes. He removed the hand brakes from his bike and modified them for his skates. Five years and $60,000 later, the result is the two-wheel EZ Terminator skate. The skate uses his now-patented brake. One hand controls the brake lever. Wires from the lever connect to brake mechanisms on both skates. Smyler's company, World Class Skate, sells the Terminator for $350. (Go to World Class Skate.) (Talk about it on the Forum's new brake discussion.) (Oct. 25, 2005)

What's This? ... Pascal Briand to Join Powerslide for 2006 World Cup - Powerslide seems to be getting ready to step up its presence in the World Inline Cup. The company has confirmed that it has signed Pascal Briand to join its 2006 racing team. "We're working on forming a new team for next year's World Cup," said Powerslide's Joe Flesher. ... Briand, a 29-year-old Frenchman, led Saab-Salomon to a third-place finish in this year's World Cup. Meanwhile, Powerslide, despite the presence of several of the world's top skaters (Chad Hedrick, Joey Mantia, Julie Glass and Brittany Bowe), only competed in four World Cup events. (Go to the Planet's racing news department.) (Oct. 25, 2005)

(Oct. 26, 2005)
Before the Train Wreck ... Pre-Finish Line Photos of the Long Beach Marathon - Skater and amateur photographer Ken Cleaver of San Jose, Calif., stationed himself about a mile in front of the finish line of the Long Beach Marathon. As a result, he captured snapshots of what the race looked like before the chaotic final turn. ... What a difference a mile can make! Here's three of his photos. (Go to the photos.) (Oct. 26, 2005)

On the Forum
Spectator Recounts Chaos on Final Turn at Long Beach - He could see disaster in the making. Skaters were racing toward the final turn as cyclists, on the same crowded racecourse, were finishing their bike tour. He tried to rally race marshals to direct traffic. But it was too late. Collisions and confusion could not be prevented. "I'm all for the Long Beach Marathon," he says, "but some changes would help!" (Go to ultrask8's post.)

(Oct. 28, 2005)
Company Announces Walk-About Device for Inline Skates - MP8 is calling its new WalkeeZ an anti-skid device for inline skates. The WalkeeZ are flat, treaded pieces of plastic that strap over the wheels of any standard inline skate. With them in place, skates are essentially transformed into shoes, allowing skaters to "go up and down stairs, climb steep slopes, walk in shops and stores, and board city transportation," the company says. The company is looking for distributors for the new product. (Go to the WalkeeZ site.) (Oct. 28, 2005)

(Oct. 29, 2005)
USA Fit Prepares to Launch Inline Training Program in Austin - USA Fit is moving ahead with plans for an inline training program in Austin, Texas. The program, Austin Inline Fit, will prepare skaters for the Texas Road Rash (March 26) and the Disney World Inline Marathon (April 2), said coordinator Richard Littrell. The program will start Jan. 7 and run for 12 weeks. ... USA Fit launched its first inline training program last spring in San Francisco but pulled the plug when only a handful of skaters signed up, in part due to a lack of advertising. (Go to story about USA Fit's plans for inline skating.) (Oct. 29, 2005)

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Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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