Vertical Rollerskating > People > Brian Wainwright

Brian Wainwright

Brian is one of the most successful vertical roller skaters. Enjoy the photos of him and the interview. The photos are published with permission and copyrighted by their respective photographers.

Rider: Brian Wainwright<br> Trick: 540<br> Spot: Camp Woodward<br> Photographer: Chris Hallmen<br> Date: 1999
Rider: Brian Wainwright
Trick: 540
Spot: Camp Woodward
Photographer: Chris Hallmen
Date: 1999


Where do you live?
This has been the first year in about five years that I have really lived anywhere in particular. I live in Wilmington, NC because North Carolina is home and Wilmington has 4 pretty rad skateparks to ride, before that I lived in my truck, an RV or Tour Bus, under the Farm Ramp or just on some friends couch or floor.
How long have you been skating?
I started skateboarding in 1977 and tried rollerskating on ramps for the first time in 1980, so I have been rollerskating for almost 22 years
How did it start?
It started in the roller rink when I was 5, or maybe when my mom used to roll me around the neighborhood in the wagon, I have loved to roll ever since
Rider: Brian Wainwright<br> Photographer: Geoff Graham<br> Spot: StoneEdge<br> Date: 1990
Rider: Brian Wainwright
Photographer: Geoff Graham
Spot: StoneEdge
Date: 1990
When did you start with transitions?
1980, at a skatepark called Twin Rinks, roller-rink on one side and skatepark on the other, started on rental skates with narrow trucks.  Soon purchased a pair of skates from a friend at the skatepark, also with narrow trucks, shortly after I purchased some Independent plates with Indy 88mm hangers.  I was definitely stoked after that, my introduction to stability and grinding on rollerskates
How where the half pipes back then compared to now?
Many did not have any flat at all,  the ramp at the park I used to skate allot was 12' high, 12' wide and had 4' of flat, the transition size was pretty progressive but the lack of flat bottom made it tuff.
How did roller skaters and other ramp users (boarders, bikers) get along?
At my home park here in NC everything was cool,  bikers really had not started riding the parks at that point. In 1981 when I went to California and skated Marina Del Ray I think there was a little bit of Biker Hating going on, although I am sure that the park owners where happy because they just needed business no matter what you where riding.  A few years later I went to a back yard skateboarding contest (1984), it was a really heated session, I was snaking in where I could and some of the dudes where heckling me a little, but not enough to make me want to stop skating,  I have always been a part of the skateboard scene around my area so I guess they just all got used to it.  Now I find that most boarders are stoked, they have not seen too many guys riding rollerskates and they can relate to it, especially when riding side stance.
Rider: Brian Wainwright<br> Trick: Layback<br> Spot: Münster Bowl<br> Date: 1989
Rider: Brian Wainwright
Trick: Layback
Spot: Münster Bowl
Date: 1989
Can you describe the history of vertical roller skating in America?
The history I learned was from old Skateboarder magazines,  Kenny Means was the originator, a skateboarder who decided to try his rollerskates out in the backyard pool he and his friends where riding, he could already side skate and that was the approach he used.  Rollerskating really caught on for a while when all the skateparks where in effect, Fred Blood and Duke Rennie where big hero's of mine, just from what I saw in the magazines. I kept skating in my backyard after all the parks closed and several years later I met Jimi Scott (the last of the California rollerskaters), we started keeping in touch and went to our first World Cup in Munster Germany in 1987.  There are plenty of other names and places let me know if you want more and I will try to break it down further.
Are there any other of the american roller skaters left? I hear of some Tim Altic sightings from time to time ... What about Jimi Scott? Is he still skating?
I hear stories from people about different roller skaters showing up at the new Combi pool (Vans Park) Orange County, California.  I have not really gotten any names unfortunately.  I know Tim Altic is still out there although my number for him is no good.  He has been active in building some parks in Colorado and I hear stories about him getting around. Of course there is Irene Ching still rolling strong up in NY and I have received some email from a few Rollerskaters who are just getting started. I have visited with Jimi several times during my trips out to Cali.  He is actively pursuing his snowboarding career.  A few years back he was spending some time on his rollerskates during summer camp at Mt. Hood.  He had an injury while rollerskating that took him out and he decided that he could not afford the risk while trying to make it happen with his snowboarding. We have some great conversations about rollerskating though and it is always good to see him.
Rider: Brian Wainwright<br> Spot: Turf skatepark (Milwaukee WI)<br> Date: 1988
Rider: Brian Wainwright
Spot: Turf skatepark (Milwaukee WI)
Date: 1988
In Europe a lot of the vertical roller skaters switched to inlines when inline skating became big. Did anything like this happen in Merica too? (I'm under the impression that the american half pipe inliners where mostly fresh blood.)
I think all of the American Inliners I have met where fresh blood, some of them where aware of Vert rollerskating and it has had some influence on them but the number of Rollerskaters was quite small here in the States when inline got big.
What influenced your skating most?
My trip to California in '81 because I got to see other guys riding rollerskates and riding them in sidestance. Skateboarding has always been a huge influence as well because once I came back home to NC it was a rare occasion when I got to ride with any other rollerskaters.
Where did you get the idea to go side stance?
An early Skateboarder Magazine included a trick tip with Fred Blood demonstrating park skating in side stance. When I went to Cali and saw it in person I knew I had to learn how.
Rider: Brian Wainwright<br> Spot: Camp Woodward<br> Photographer: Chris Hallmen<br> Date: 2000
Rider: Brian Wainwright
Spot: Camp Woodward
Photographer: Chris Hallmen
Date: 2000
Do you have names for all the tricks you do?
Most of my tricks are derived from watching skateboarding and I've never named them anything else.
How do you approach a new trick? Do you have a clear imagination of a new trick or does it develop when you work on it?
Usually I have a picture in my head, then I will try the body movements on my feet, I learned 540's jumping into a pool, as I start trying it on my skates it works itself out from there
What are your specials?
I like to go as big and as fast as I can, Frontside standup grinds, backside 540's, air to fakie, nose grinds
Your boots are very low-cut. I would imagine that this is more prone to injury.
I don't think so but I suppose I have one major injury that could have been prevented with a higher boot or maybe my leg would have just broken in a different place.
Rider: Brian Wainwright<br> Spot: Camp Woodward<br> Photographer: Chris Hallmen<br> Date: 2000
Rider: Brian Wainwright
Spot: Camp Woodward
Photographer: Chris Hallmen
Date: 2000
What do you think are the pros and cons of your boots?
Mobility is a definite plus; I think they work great for pumping, they enable you to keep a nice tight stance and that improves your style, having more range of motion in you ankle also lets you add additional style by tweaking your tricks that much more.  I think the rollerskate by nature of design with wider trucks, requires a bit less support than your average inline skate. As I attempt to design my new skate though I am taking into consideration the fact that these skates will not just be ridden on vert.  I expect they will be used to jump on rails and ledges which may require a bit more support
How important do you think the material is?
A boot needs to be tough,  I have spent a lot of time putting shoe goo on my boots to fix all the holes in them.
What are your favorite wheels (size, hardness)?
I like em hard and fast, I like to hear my wheels bark when I'm sliding and I like to hear them rolling under me.  I ride softer wheels on some terrain when neccessary but if the surface is smooth I will be riding 98A - 101A and 60mm to 62mm.  I ride Bones wheels and I really like their formulas, they make some cored wheels that are the fastest and longest lasting wheels I've ever ridden.  I ride Bones Swiss bearings and they are the best, just keep them clean and they will treat you right.
Can you tell us something about the roller skates you will produce?
This skate will be the first complete skate to be produced exclusively for this type of riding and it is going to be awesome.
What is the most important thing for a vertical rollerskater?
To go for it!

Other web resources

Last Update: