Name: Claire Browne
Skate Style: Slalom/Freestyle
How did first get into skating?
I think the first skates I ever had were some bright pink, plastic barbie roller skates that you strapped to your shoes that I got for my 5th birthday!
I then moved on to a pair of rec skates and skated back and forth on the veranda afterschool for years and years. I basically did this more or less until I was introduced to slalom skating 6 years ago through Bayside!
How would you describe your skating style / What types of skating do you like to do?
Slalom is definitely my thing, but basically, I love being dancey and expressive! Trying to teach myself a routine for classic competitions was so hard because I love improvising!
Other people have described my style as ‘too fast, calm down’ which I have had to work really hard on haha! But I still let myself skate really fast on occasion, as a treat. I can’t help but throw a lot of energy into my skating so I try to channel this into control and strength and it’s really satisfying to feel so in control of your own body. I’ve recently started street skating a little on the Wednesday night city skate which has been a really nice change up. Different types of skating require different muscles and skills, so practicing free skating has really improved my slalom skating and vice versa!
My favourite trick
Always changing! My favourite trick to do is cobra, where you cross your legs and go on one heel and one toe wheel. My favourite trick to watch is chicken toe and I’m finally starting to put in the work to learn it! It’s such a beautiful trick, one of many wheeling tricks where you go on one wheel and spin around a cone.
What inspires you?
Being able to translate feelings or moods that music gives me into skating! The way skating allows me to express myself has become such a necessary part of my life. The ability to put my headphones and just dance for a few hours. I even love the endless repetition of learning a new trick, it becomes like meditation. I skate so many hours a week and in part that is to train to improve, but so much more of it is because it feels so cathartic I forget it’s exercise! I have no artistic talent at all, so skating is a creative outlet that I can’t do without! I’m addicted and I never want that to change!
Sometimes, like everyone, I get stuck in a rut with my skating. The moment I unlock something new, like getting a new move into my freestyle, or consistently getting a trick I used to only get occasionally, it’s like a breath of fresh air!
There’s a ‘click’ moment when you finally unlock an aspect of a trick that was escaping you! There’s often no specific technique that unlocks so many tricks, usually it’s just repeating it over and over until something falls into place!
How did you get involved with Bayside Blades?
I think I had been teaching myself a couple of basic tricks on my old rec skates that were falling apart and decided that an upgrade was a good 16th birthday present, so Mum took me along to Bayside Blades. Not at all sure what I was after, I explained what kind of skating I did to an old staff member, Henri, who suggested slalom skating to me! The team gave me a heap of links to cool slalom videos, set me up with some Seba FR1’s and some cones and told me all about Slalom Sunday’s at the Melbourne Museum! I went home and basically watched the whole set of Seba profile videos and just knew that was what I wanted to do! From then on skating’s become my whole life and I’m so grateful!
Have you been to many skate competitions and do you enjoy them?
I’ve been to a fair few local comps and a couple of international ones!
The first competition I did was a battle at the Shed, I was so nervous I fell over twice, I think since then falling over in competition has become my thing haha! I was so scared about how much better everyone else was than me! They could all do wheelings and I could only do basic tricks!
I try to remember that competitions are not the only measure of a good skater! I really want to encourage people to have a go at competing even if you’re nervous, no one is judging you more than yourself, and I’m always so impressed by first-time competitors no matter their ability!
I now see competitions as an amazing tool to push myself to improve! Skating against people who are better than you, especially if they’re only just better, is such a great way to set yourself achievable goals! When the competition is close, everyone has to give it their all, and I’m so grateful to have such tough competition with all the Melbourne skaters.
Last year I went to Thailand for Worlds with Liam, Keven and Andrea and Neil from Bayside! It was such an inspiring experience getting to meet some of my skating heroes and seeing the some of the best skating in the world with my own eyes! I was supposed to compete but I got too nervous and chickened out!
I made a deal with myself that ready or not, I had to compete at the next Worlds in China.
I’m so grateful to say that I did it, with so much help and support. To be on a stage with my heroes was both terrifying and so inspiring, and I’m so motivated to work even harder for the next international competition!
Skate Set up:
I’m currently riding a pair of Seba WSFC’s with a 231mm pre-rocker frame. I use lots of different wheels but my favourites are 76mm Seba street invaders!
I have so so many but I absolutely can’t go past Igor Cheremetieff! I think his 2010 profile video was the first slalom video I ever watched and I knew straight away that I wanted to skate like him! I can’t even count how many times I’ve watched that video. Whenever I’m unmotivated at training, its such a good reminder of why I love what I do!
I basically have a soft spot for anyone who looks like they’re enjoying their skating! Expressive and creative skaters, particularly those with a lot of energy!
Favourite places to skate:
Melbourne Museum is basically my home, I find myself spending 3 hours skating for every hour of anything else I do in the city! I also love St Kilda foreshore when it’s not too windy or crazy busy. Basically anywhere with a good surface, good atmosphere, and enough people to show off to!
I’m studying agriculture at uni right now and also working, both of which I really enjoy! Skating takes up the rest of my free time so I’m kind of always keeping those three things in a balance!