What is Slalom inline skating
Slalom skating draws inspiration from ice skating, artistic skating and down hill skiing however is so much more. Slalom skating is the most precise and technical form of skating generally requiring skaters to perform likes of tricks and maneuvers between a line of evenly spaced out cones. There are five main disciplines within competitive slalom skating:
The original competition style for freestyle slalom skating, starting in the 1990s. Each skater has two minutes to present a prepared performance, with music, to a panel of judges. The skaters are awarded points for technical difficulty and artistic merit.
In the newest sports to be joining the World Slalom Skaters Association (WSSA), skaters jump over a high jump bar from flat ground, without the use of a ramp. The current world champion jumps over 5 feet. This will be the first time that this competition will be featured at the USA Slalom Nationals.
In this knockout style competition, skaters race against each other in head-to-head rounds to see how fast each skater can skate on one foot through a line of 20 cones. Skaters are matched up based on their qualifying times and light gates measure to with an accuracy of 0.01s.
In this street-style knockout competition, skaters take turns presenting their tricks in battle heats of 4 skaters while a DJ plays music. Trick 'runs' are either prepared or improvised, and 2 skaters from each group advance to the next round.
After a fast run up, skaters turn their wheels sideways and slide to an eventual stop, with the wheels and body leaning away from the direction of travel. In this battle-heats competition, skaters knock each other out by using more difficult tricks and sliding further.
You can begin slalom skating with any skates, and in fact you can progress to a reasonable level before considering upgrading to a more purpose built / competitive level set up.
Part of becoming an advanced slalom skater may include having a “rockered” wheel configuration which is where rather than having all your wheels the same size running flat along the ground your front and back wheels are smaller than your middle wheels creating a small amount rocking when leaning backwards or forwards. This rocking allows you to pivot easier for more advanced turns / spins.
What gear do you need - protective equipment, bags and clothing
Along with your skates you will need a set or two of slalom skating cones.
All forms of skating have some level of danger and unpredictability especially when learning technical spins and slides.
You can never go wrong wearing your helmet when you skate.
We often recommend knee pads for skating, something light that will offer a layer of protection without restricting movement.
You can never go wrong with wrist guards when inline skating. Wrist guards will not hinder your slalom skating progression.
Although safety is always your first priority, slalom skating is performed preferably on flat and smooth surfaces so you may not need additional padding (this depends on your skating skill level of course).
You will not need any particular clothing to start slalom skating, if it feels good and looks good you are good to go!
How to get into slalom skating
To get into slalom skating all you really need is your skates, some slalom cones and a nice patch of concrete.
There is also a mass of informative videos on Youtube with instructions on how to begin through to the most technical moves possible.