With six weeks of me flexing my legs about in my Seba skates it was time to actually learn some moves properly. I had signed on to a two day slalom workshop with the amazing skate slalom couple Megan and Tim, who work under the Skate Freestyle brand setup by world world-renowned skater Naomi Grigg. It was this video of Naomi which introduced me to the world of slalom:
The first time I watched this I was blown away, the whole thing was like witchcraft. On the next day I tried briefly balancing on my toe wheels, it was impossible at the time and I left it at that.
So now here I was in Hyde Park with about ten other skaters eager to learn the ways of inline slalom. There were people of all abilities that weekend. I was the newbie on the scene and I made that clear as I feel somewhat self-conscious when people are watching and judging me. What took me by surprise was that at the top of the class was Naomi. It was nice to see someone so amazing being so humble. She was there to learn from her peers. There are multiple areas of slaloming that can always be worked on and improved no matter what level your are. She encouraged us all to attend competition whatever level you are as you all feed of each other like some kind a of strange "skate osmosis."
At the start of the lesson we warmed up with the basic moves. Forward and backwards crosses. Snaking forwards and backwards. Megan emphasised the importance of working on both sides, so the trick with the left foot leading, then again with the right. You'll always have a preference on which foot to lead but to progress to the more advance moves you'll need to be comfortable doing the basics on both sides.
What took me by surprise is how close the standard distance of cones are. 80cm are standard competition spacing. (They also have 50cm and 120 cm spacing for other tricks). I found this particularly difficult given that my previous spacings I've made for myself were with chalk marking that were a lot, lot further apart. Plus now I have these plastic things to trip up on.
I remember Megan telling us by the end of this workshop you'll "all be able to do this." She proceeded by doing the 'Crazy.' (Might be called something else in different countries or skate groups). I had no idea what she just did, it was so cool. My thoughts were if I could do just that move in my whole slaloming life I'd be happy to stop there. Crazy is cool.
The steps were broken down, chalk marking helped massively. We were then left to try it ourselves. I struggled quite a bit trying to figure out where my feet were suppose to go.Tim pointed out right away that my entry foot was wrong. Switched my approach and I seem to be doing …...the crazy! It wasn't the prettiest looking thing but I was on the right path. I felt good.
That one weekend I learnt Mabrouk, Nelson, Backwards Nelson, Sun, Crazy and a Single Vault. All of the tricks needed a lot of work to get it looking sexy smooth but the grounding was there. I was very happy with what I learnt from Megan and TIm at their workshop.
A week later I couldn't quite remember how to execute the Sun, despite me taking a photograph of the chalk markings Megan had done. She very kindly sent me some extra notes plus uploaded this video for me to reference to:
"Any tips, reviews and advice are my own opinions and are not to be taken as professional view points. The information on this site is what has worked for me and is here for guidance only, but I hope you gain insight into the various activities I partake in." Jonathan Chen