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Slalom Cone Skating Forum Discussions about slalom cone skating, high-jump, and other freestyle trick skating. (Note that vert, street, and park skating discussions should be posted in our aggressive skating forum.)

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Old June 2nd, 2013, 05:23 AM   #1
canuckythe
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Default When to upgrade for slalom?

Hi everyone, first of all I wanna say I love this forum. Canada hasn't really caught up to rollerblading for a forum to be created I guess.... Anyway
Ever since I started ice skating I don't really enjoy walking anymore, and when there was no ice time, I tried and fell in love with inline skating. I bought a new pair of K2 Power 80 (http://www.sportchek.ca/product/index.j ... 34.3945450) (Not sure if you can visit the link...) in January when it 's heavy snow season and skated whenever I got the chance on days when we have little snow. This would be my 4th month for skating experience-wise and I became obsessed with how awesome slalom skating looks. Right now I can do cross-over with both feet (though a little awkward with right over left still), backwards skatin, still workin on mohawk, spin stop, t stop, powerslide on and off (when going backwards. Not powersliding when going forward) and also heel-toe.
I haven't taken my heel brake off for fear of rushing down the hill, not being able to stop fast enough and crash into cars. I rockered my skates with some really really cheap wheels so they wear out really fast but I figured hey, just starting, no need to go all out.
A lot of people are saying "u can learn the basic slalom techniques first before upgrading" but I was wondering what exactly would I need to be able to achieve before I should consider serious upgrade? I'm currently in university and trying to save up money for the skates so I would want to get really decent before considering upgrade. I wonder what would kinda be the limit to where these K2 fitness skates would take me.
I looked at the twister, high and fr1, and countless posts about it. all looks so nice and if I was going to do a serious upgrade, from the majority it sounds like High is the way to go. So I want to get really decent before that.
Also In Canada I'd be paying 400 dollars + 13% tax for Highs. 249+ tax for Twisters. 299+ tax for FR1's. Wonder if there are any cheaper places...
Any help would be appreciated. Sorry for the long post but I am just soooo excited about this :P
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 08:58 AM   #2
Mort
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I own 2 pairs of twister 243/twister 80's. I have let other kids try them out as my wife and kid both have other skates. I have yet to hear a bad comment about them. Rollerblade brand skates have a excellent fit out of the box, and little break in time.

Myself I prefer a solid boot, i skate on old Rollerblade E pro rec/ fitness skates. They use a 6mm axle system and have plastic rockering pieces. Not the best for slalom style skating, but I can do tons of stuff with them. 1 footed toe spins aren't easy though. The frame isn't strong enough with the rockering system.

Id go with twisters myself, look for a used set on ebay before committing to a full price pair. I got a set of twister 80's with a bag, knee, elbow, wrist pads and a helmet for 100$ usd. The skates were so new they didn't have 1 cotton tuff inside the boot.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 05:27 AM   #3
canuckythe
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Aaah okay, so you ARE able to do a lot of tricks on recreational skates... Ebay doesn't seem to have anything used for twisters or sebas at the moment sadly. I think I will keep practicing on these recreational skates then. I just don't like the idea of upgrading to twisters, then in the future having to upgrade again (since I'm set on slalom, it's not really of do-I-want-to-do-this-or-not kinda thing)
Also if you don't mind clarifying, what does 6mm axle system give in terms of performance?
Also when I bought the cheap 76mm wheels I rockered my skates 76-80-80-76. However I have been skating on the 2 centre wheels for a few months by then and it seems the 76mm's don't even really rise above by more than 1mm when I put the skates flat on the ground. I've never felt what rockered really is like but I did feel a little improvement on turning when I hopped on the skates. Not really sure what my point is here but... is there some way to fix this or whatnot? Or how much "control" or ease-to-turn do you really get... if that is describeable...

One last thing sorry hehe... I'm working on backwards powerslide. I have the T-stop almost down pat but it doesn't click in when I want to stop. I have to physically think about where to put my feet, then control so I don't start turning or lose some balance. I have however learned the spin stop. Big question now: heel brake or no heel brake? Safety net or no safety net (will that really help force me to keep considering using the T-stop?). I have to go down a hill to school and it's right beside heavy traffic so... heel brake does come in kinda handy (I periodically slow down along the hill)
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 08:46 AM   #4
GregT
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Hey canuckythe.

Just like with other skating sports, you can learn a lot of slalom on a general rec skates, provide the frame is not too long. If the max wheel size for your frame is 80mm, then you are probably OK. Of course, if your foot is tiny or ginormous, this rule of thumb might need to be adjusted one way or another.

So, assuming your skates are OK, I would make to suggestions for slalom:

1) Rocker your skates (normally 4mm difference between inner and outer wheels. Most common rockers are 76-80-80-76 or 72-76-76-72). To be honest, I wouldn't even consider slaloming flat. Maybe if you are just playing around for a minute, but learning tricks flat is much harder, and your execution will most likely be, um, inelegant.

2) Lose the brake - The brake will definitely get in your way and prove a hazard when you are doing crossing moves, which are fundamental to the sport. If you are really uncomfortable skating without a brake, then just remove it whenever you slalom and put it back on for street skating. Provided you are on flat ground with no surrounding obstacles, you should be fine. It sounds like you already know some stopping techniques, but a simple spin stop is generally all that's needed for slalom.

Regarding your question about stopping on the street - do whatever you feel most comfortable with. If you are really set on dumping the brake for street (something I think everyone should graduate to eventually, but only on their own timetable), then I think learning snowplow is the best idea. I know plenty of stopping techniques, but I really mostly use some variant of snowplow to CONTROL my speed (not to actually stop). And then when I do need to come to a complete stop, I spin stop. In an emergency, I sometimes use one of the more efficient stopping methods (power slide, etc), but, provided I keep my speed under control and eye on the surrounding conditions, the need to do so is very very rare.

T-stop is also a useful and effective method of slowing down (not really for stopping), but it does wear your inside edges down to an angle. I refuse to rotate my wheels, so I don't really T-stop that often. More likely, I'll stick with a slight snowplow, or maybe slalom down the hill (like snow skiing), if there is enough room to do so.

When to upgrade skates is up to you. You will improve your slalom through regular practice more than you will through equipment upgrades. However, it is true that proper slalom skates will make the process a bit easier. Provided you fit them properly (aka "much tighter than you are used to"), then slalom skates provide superiour stiffness over normal rec skates. This will lead to more control over the tricks you are trying to practice. All the skates mentioned would definitely be an improvement over stock K2 skates, which, though comfortable, tend to be a bit "mushy" and not very precise.

As I said above, however, fit is very important. If you get too large a skate, you will be wasting your money on that stiff boot/frame, as your foot will be moving inside of it anyway. Also, you'll want the boot to fit the general shape of your foot. For instance, though I used to own a pair of Twisters and thought them a good slalom skate for the price, the design of the plastic cuff did not really accommodate my large ankle bones. So I eventually had to give them away. Obviously, this is just an instance of what choices I had to make given my particular anatomy. Everybody's foot is different, just try skates out to see what works for you.

One advantage of getting a slalom boot is that they also make good general-purpose skates. The short frames make skating a lot of fun, and the stiffness should help you regardless of the type of skating.

Good luck!
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 10:27 PM   #5
Mort
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6mm axles are weak in comparison to 8mm. It reduces the parts as well which reduces play and increases response.

The straight frames of today are better as well because of less parts, and the rockering system is not so great at dealing with the torque I put on it. I rotated my wheels and a couple of the rockering spacers literally fell apart.

Rockered setups are good at turning when rolling the weight rearward or forward. Myself I can turn fast with or without a rockered setup. My frames hold 80mm wheels and have a wheelbase of 275-280mm which by todays standards holds 90mm wheels.

If you can spin stop and plow stop then that brake has no business being on there other than getting in the way of going on your heel on that skate, which is limiting your ambidexterity of your skating skills.

Only toe stops on quads are worthwhile, and even those are weak when compared to hockey stops.

Where are you from? Ill make a video again if you want some tips.
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Old June 4th, 2013, 04:23 AM   #6
canuckythe
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Thank you GregT, thank you Mort!
I shall remove the brake (eeek...) right away.
Both of your experiences have helped me learn so much instead of relying on just youtube videos. Sorry Mort but I think I'm going to take GregT's advice in the upgrading since I think I'd enjoy the Twisters but the High is more suited for slalom. However I will practice as hard as I can right now with rec skates before I upgrade.
I have the skates rockered right now but I think I will get new wheels later on. Save the High's for slalom and occasional cruising and use the K2 for regular bashing around.
Mort, I live in Ontario, Canada. I don't know a single person that says "I have skated in the past 4 years or less" (Quite sad...). I'm doing a lot of backwards right now but it's still really hard to keep balance, especially when I'm at places with a lot of gravel. I'm not balancing enough and I try to turn my whole body side ways to balance more and watch where I'm going and so far it's helping. Backward to forward transition is something I'm still working on and so far I have no clue how to do so by mohawk...
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Old June 4th, 2013, 07:03 AM   #7
canuckythe
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so went out to practice for 2 hours today and came back all bloody and bruised from learning mohawk (keep tripping or end up turning backwards and falling) and doing a few hops at a faster speed. Yes I was wearing all the protective equipments possible, but I slid forward so fast I somehow pushed my elbow guard past my elbow and scraped it... -__-"
I took a look at my wheels and it seems like my last wheel isn't even close to being worn out as the 3 previous wheels (the wheels are rockered by the way).
The time I wore out my wheels the most was when learning powerslide, at which time I was during improperly and wore out some metal on the frame as well hehe...
Anyway, the back wheel is really not that worn out even on the inside edge where all my other wheels are worn out by about 1/3 now. I'm assuming that's a bad thing right? My front wheel is also pretty worn out. I wonder if there's something wrong with my T-stop or powerslide in order to cause that. Does a backward powerslide make all 4 wheels wear out? From some videos it looks like the stopping skate is not at a 90 degree angle with my body (hence it's not like 4 wheels are lined up horizontally all brushin the ground, it's more like a slant going backwards, if I worded it correctly)
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Old July 1st, 2013, 05:23 AM   #8
Metaphor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canuckythe View Post
so went out to practice for 2 hours today and came back all bloody and bruised from learning mohawk (keep tripping or end up turning backwards and falling) and doing a few hops at a faster speed. Yes I was wearing all the protective equipments possible, but I slid forward so fast I somehow pushed my elbow guard past my elbow and scraped it... -__-"
Hi canucky, it's been a while since anyone posted to this thread... I imagine since your last post that you've gotten this nailed. But if not, here are some tips when I learned to do a mohawk:

Be comfortable spending time gliding on one skate (a must for almost every trick)
Practice movements on grass first
Flex deeply through your joints
Keep arms in ready position
Look 180 degrees behind you to set the mohawk up
Move your left hand around and 180 degrees behind you, at the same time opening your foot and leg 180 degrees in the air
Keep flexing!
Step onto the new foot, lift your old stance foot in the air, and bring your right hand around 180 degrees
Place your free foot on the ground.
Stay flexed throughout the entire maneuver

Once you can do these movements on grass, try it gliding at a crawl on really smooth debris-free pavement. Then work your way up to doing it faster.

Quote:
I took a look at my wheels and it seems like my last wheel isn't even close to being worn out as the 3 previous wheels (the wheels are rockered by the way).
...
Anyway, the back wheel is really not that worn out even on the inside edge where all my other wheels are worn out by about 1/3 now. I'm assuming that's a bad thing right? My front wheel is also pretty worn out. I wonder if there's something wrong with my T-stop or powerslide in order to cause that.
Sounds like you're pushing off your toes when you skate. In general recreational skating (and speed skating) you want to push through your heel instead. In slalom, your balance moves across the whole of the skate, and pivot points can be on the front wheel, heel wheel, or even centre wheels.

To develop heel carving when free skating on non-rockered skates, I'd recommend this:

Start out doing "tai-chi squats" on skates on the grass. Make sure you're lowering your tailbone, rather than bending at the gut. The point here is to be able to drive through the heel.
Work on creating "wheel roar" by driving your heel through the turn.
Assuming you have a brake on your free skating skates, work on one foot braking. (i.e. lift your non-braking foot in the air.) You may need to gradually lift your free foot as you glide on your brake. Work your way up to the point that you can start the move with your free foot in the air.

When on rockered skates, to get on your heels you'll need to counterbalance a lot more with your hands in front and driving the hands down towards the ground (so that they don't pop up and back, pulling you backwards). If you can do heel-heel skating (scissoring and lifting the front wheels off the ground), you're doing pretty well. Drive those hands forward, especially if you start to wobble!

Quote:
Does a backward powerslide make all 4 wheels wear out? From some videos it looks like the stopping skate is not at a 90 degree angle with my body (hence it's not like 4 wheels are lined up horizontally all brushin the ground, it's more like a slant going backwards, if I worded it correctly)

When I powerslide, I have all wheels on the braking skate gently touching and wearing. I don't personally powerslide often enough to notice a specific wear pattern (generally a few powerslides per session).


Which part of Canada are you in? I'm in Vancouver but move to Toronto at the end of July. Sadly I lose one of the best coaches in Canada. Fortunately I'll be joining up with a set of newer skaters that I can hopefully help develop.
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