What is aggressive skating?
Aggressive skating (also known as rollerblading, aggressive inline, freestyle roller, park skating and more) is a multidisciplinary activity where skaters challenge themselves to perform tricks like grinds, spins, flips and handplants. People tend to perform aggressive skating at either a Skate Park, or on the Street. Beginners tend to start out at the Skate Park, as it offers a designated area with different obstacles to hone your skills on, and often eventually graduate to the streets to attempt their learned skills on rails, stairs and ledges on the street.
The added element of ramps and rails can make aggressive skating a risky skating style. With that risk, comes the immense reward that results from overcoming your fear and learning a new trick.
This sport is great in that it is quite accessible, due to the proliferation of skateparks, and the fact that street objects like rails, curbs and stairs can be used for tricks also. Aggressive skates like the RAZORS Cult start at $300, and knee pads, like the TRIPLE 8 Street Knee and the PROTEC Street Knee, start at $59.95, so the sport is relatively budget friendly to get into!
Check out our Skatepark/Street Team Rider Profile’s here to see what they love about the sport, and how they initially got involved in the scene.
There are three main aspects to aggressive skating:
Skaters will find ways to challenge themselves by doing numerous grinds and slide combos on rails and ledges, by jumping and spinning over stair sets and gaps, and leveraging their creativity to transform an inanimate object into something interesting and skateable. For beginners, this can be something as simple as using a curb to practise some stalls, or maybe even some grinds! When street skating, wax is your best friend. You can make your own wax with candles and soap, or support your local skate shop by purchasing some skate wax from them! This will help you to grind easier and with less resistance.
Skate park combines both street and vert skating into an accessible and safer alternative to the above.
The great thing about skate park skating is accessibility. There are so many skateparks around and they're all so different. You will never get bored! All the same tricks done in street and vert skating can be done at the skatepark, the difference being the ramps are smaller than vert and custom built for skating unlike your favourite street spot. Newer skateparks are made from smooth concrete, so they are much safer and nicer to fall on than the street!
Aggressive skating also has a competitive aspect with contests held semi-regularly in all three disciplines.
Skaters will perform runs on a very high ramp (around 11 to 14 ft) and seeing how high they can air above the ramp while also doing spins, flips, handplants and grinds. A vert ramp transitions from a flat horizontal plane at the bottom, to a vertical section on top. The vertical section of the ramp takes a lot of skill to skate, as it pushes you up into the air.
Vert skating is more structured than street skating and will require skaters work hard to build up the skill, strength and confidence to execute the hardest manoeuvres like double flips, 1260 degree spins and double flatspin variations.
Vert Skaters often begin their aggressive skating journey at the park, skating smaller ramps. Skating on bigger ramps can be risky, and you want to make sure that you are a confident skating, and you know how to fall safely before taking on bigger ramps. For all forms of aggressive skating, especially vert skating, we would recommend protective gear, including but not limited to a secure helmet and a solid pair of knee pads!
Which skates are right for you?
Although people are able to start rolling around the skatepark in their recreational skates, it is definitely worth getting a set of skates that are specific to aggressive skating. Although you can start rolling around at your local skatepark or jumping some stairs, it will quickly become apparent the heavy nature of aggressive skating requires some heartier gear. Aggressive skates are typically built stronger, from the cuff to the wheels to the axles holding the wheels in the frame and the frame itself.
Compared to recreational skates, which often have 4 x 80mm wheels (or even bigger), aggressive skates tend to have much smaller wheels, around 55-72mm wheels. Most people use wheels around 55-65mm, as they are nice and stable. Aggressive skates come with a UFS flat frame, which has a h-block at the center. The h-block looks like a semi circle, and allows you to lock onto coping and ledges at the skatepark to stall and grind.
Aggressive skates will either choose to use a skate with a flat or anti-rocker setup. A flat setup means that all of the wheels are the same size, eg. 57mm. This allows you to turn and roll easier, but as there are wheels close to the h-block, you run the risk of catching your wheels if you are not accurate with your foot placement. People often start out with an anti-rocker setup for a more forgiving option, and graduate to a flat setup once they are more confident. An anti-rocker setup uses 2 larger wheels at the front and back of the frame, and 2 smaller wheels in the centre which do not touch the ground. These wheels are generally very hard, which means if you accidentally miss the h-block when grinding, they tend to slide so you don’t get caught.
There are a lot of aggressive skating brands all offering different advantages…
Most aggressive skates will come with a range of replaceable parts. This is great for durability, as it means you can replace parts as they wear away, rather than having to replace the whole skate. Most brands of aggressive skates (eg. RAZORS, Remz, Roces, Rollerblade, SEBA, Them) will come with a UFS frame. This Universal Frame System means that you can swap UFS frames between UFS boots, regardless of brand. An exception is the USD Aeon Skates, with are a one-piece construction. This aims to keep the weight down, and succeeds in making them one of, if not the lightest skate on the market. It does mean that once the frame wears down, you are not able to swap it over, and limits you in that you can not try different frames.