The funny thing about skating sports is that it is not immune to all sorts of trends. Remember power skating or power roller skating in the 1970’s? There’s even a movie based on it called Roller Ball where people would go in a roller rink and spin around in a very high rate of speed.
Of course, the speeds that you are able to achieve with roller skates or quad skates are nowhere near the speeds that you are able to achieve with rollerblades. Now this is just a simple matter of technology and design. Still, you can get up to a very high rate of speed with those types of skates and it can make for very interesting entertainment.
During a roller derby, people would skate really fast going around in circles and then they would bump into each other. This is actually what people show up to watch. This is the spectator attraction of roller derbies. People are looking for drama. People are looking for participants to elbow each other for things to break out into knock down, drag out actual fights.
Think of it like boxing on skates. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s how roller balls and roller rink tournaments often played out. There’s a lot of beating, punching, slapping and, in many cases, even kicking.
If you know how to move properly, you can get away with kicking while you’re wearing roller skates moving at a higher rate of speed. It really is quite a sight to behold because people often fall into each other. In many cases, the whole mass of people that are jostling for space would fall into each other. It really is quite a sight to behold.
As you can probably already tell, that kind of power roller skating had a short shelf life. In fact, such spectator sport has pretty much died out. There are still some pockets of interest located in certain parts of the United States, but, by and large, this type of activity has pretty much died out.
The Rise of Rollerblading
What caused the eclipse or the reduced popularity of roller skating? Well, just like with many sports, the big sea change was brought about by superior technology. The superior technology, in this particular context, of course, is rollerblades or inline skates.
You see, while you can achieve a fairly high rate of speed with quad skates or roller skates, involving a four-wheel design, it can only take you so far. Also, it takes a lot more effort to reach higher rates of speed. The return of effort simply isn’t there for a lot of people because unless you are like some sort of super athlete, it just takes too much effort to get to that speed.
Also, control is an issue. It would be nice if you reach a very high rate of speed on roller skates and still be able to pivot, turn and otherwise maneuver very quickly. But that’s not the case. You actually start losing power and control at faster speeds and this of course, can lead to dangerous situations.
So as you can probably already tell, the quad skate design or the classic roller skate design has some serious limits. This is where rollerblades come in. While the modern rollerblades date back to the early 1800’s, it’s only been in recent years where the rollerblade design has been perfected to such a point that it overtook roller skating. Seriously. It just buried roller skating.
If you were to give a skater an option between strapping on roller skates or rollerblades, rollerblades win pretty much hands down, almost every single time. It’s very easy to see why. With rollerblades, you are able to achieve much greater control. We’re talking about being able to stop, being able to pivot, being able to turn and do all this at ridiculously high rates of speed.
Also, reaching high velocities is much easier with this kind of skating equipment. Roller skates really can’t even compete. Given your ability to speed up very quickly, you are able to play more competitive group sports with rollerblades instead of roller skates. Put all these factors together and it’s not a surprise that rollerblades pretty much eclipsed roller skating.
Evolution of Power Skating Sports
Matching the evolution of market transformation from skates to blades, power skating has given birth to powerblading. All the things that you used to do with roller skates, as far as demonstration sports, exhibition sports and individual sports, as well as team sports, you can now do with rollerblades. In fact, the fans of rollerblades would argue that you would do a much better job performing those sports, stunts and tricks with rollerblades on instead of roller skates.
Be that as it may, powerblading is all the rage. There are many sorts of powerblading exercises. The powerblading exercises that you can do: you can grind, you can reach high levels of speed and you can pull off amazing turns and twists.
The Secret Ingredient?
The secret ingredient to powerblading actually involves an evolution of the equipment. You have to buy bigger wheels. We’re talking about 80mm wheels. You need that kind of wheel to reach high levels of speeds and to also maximize the control that you have.
The down side to this is that, in addition to buying a more aggressively designed skate boot, you also have a tougher time dealing with obstacles. As you probably already know, the reason why rollerblades became popular in the first place is because they are able to handle road imperfections and obstructions in a much more efficient way compared to roller skates.
Due to the roller skates’ thicker and higher profile wheels, their center of gravity is much higher. When such wheels hit an obstruction on the road, whether it’s a stone, a pebble or some sort of a cracked walk, the wheels take the hit, front and center. And this energy is transferred to your foot, and it doesn’t really take much for you get thrown off your center of gravity if you don’t what you’re doing.
The good news is, if you are an expert skater, you know how to adjust quickly so that in real time, you adjust your center of gravity and you don’t tip over. You may wobble, but you would right yourself up and you would continue going forward at a high rate of speed.
Well, unfortunately, a lot of people cannot do that. So that’s why people quickly switch over to rollerblades because normal rollerblades are able to absorb the force, impact and energy created by that collision and transfer it to the frame. You are then able to keep going forward, although your foot felt the bump.
When you’re using bigger wheels, this is less possible. It’s much more likely that you get thrown off. This is why, to compensate, aggressively styled skate boots are designed with longer frames. So with this combination of larger wheels and longer frames, you preserve the control, power and handling of traditional rollerblades, while at the same time, you are able to tap into a greater ability to reach higher velocities and still maintain a sharp turning control.
The end result is powerblading which enables you to grind, do amazing tricks and twists and turns. You can even jump. That’s how awesome powerblading boots can be.