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Slalom Cone Skating Forum Discussions about slalom cone skating, high-jump, and other freestyle trick skating. (Note that vert, street, and park skating discussions should be posted in our aggressive skating forum.)

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Old April 13th, 2010, 08:56 PM   #1
Naomi
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Default How to get Started in Slalom!

Here are impartial answers to some of the most common questions asked by those new to slalom:


Where can I find lists of tricks, and videos of those tricks on the internet?

How can I find someone to teach me slalom?
Regular or local teaching is hard to get hold of in the US at the moment but here is a list of slalomers that I know also actively teach others in the US:

What skates do I need?
You can slalom with speed skates with a 4x110mm wheel setup - believe me, I've done it, so whatever your skates (please don't actually do this with speed skates though!), don't let it stop you from having a go. I used Rollerblade Tarmac aggressive skates for months, before switching to hockey skates, and then to Salomon FSKs for my first few competitions, so whatever you have on your feet can be used. EVEN with a heel brake, though you'll find it easier without.

If however, you want to make your freestyle skating better and easier, here is a very very brief overview of what is on offer.

Slalom Skates available in the US:
As far as I'm aware, there are three brands currently claiming to provide skates for slalom skating. They are:
  • Seba (www.skatecrazy.net, but ask your local shop if they can get some in for you to try out)
  • Powerslide (not sure if these are actually available in the US)
  • Rollerblade (Available across the US)

Skates that are not very specialized are great for all kinds of skating plus slalom, until control and response become more important.

Skates that are very specialized for slalom make learning slalom easier and allow the feet to move lighter and faster, however can require a breaking in period as they find an exact match to your foot and they can be less comfortable on rough roads due to their sensitivity.

Rollerblade range:
  • Rollerblade Twister

Seba range, from least specialized to most specialized:
  • Seba FRX
  • Seba FR1
  • Seba High/Seba High Delux
  • Seba Carbon
  • Seba Igor

Powerslide range, from least specialized to most specialized:
  • Powerslide Hardcore Evo
  • Powerslide S3

I won't comment on the above skates, since I am a champion of the Seba brand, however if any other users of the forum would like to offer advice on the above skates, please do.


What size wheels and what wheel setup should I use?
Most slalomers choose to skate on a banana rocker, for pretty much all of their skating infact. This means that the front and back wheels are slightly smaller than the middle two wheels – usually 4mm. You want the largest wheels that your frame can accept to be in the middle, and then use wheels that are 4mm smaller in diameter for the front and back.


Where can I get hold of slalom equipment (cones etc)?
Currently, I think that www.skatecrazy.net is the only place, but please ask at your local skate shop anyway and they might be inspired to get some stock in.
You can also use upturned IKEA picnic cups, empty drinks cans, yoghurt pots, random debris that you find on the ground... your mobile phone...!


How do I meet up with other slalom skaters in the US?
There are various meets happening around the US, but in the more active areas there are regular weekly meetups. A regularly updated list can be found on the US Freestyle Skaters Association (USFSA) website:
http://www.freestyleskaters.org/foru...hp?f=16&t=1825

I am also working on a state by state non-commercial contact database of those interested in slalom skating, so can pass your contact info onto slalomers in your area. Let me know if you would like to be part of that list – I am creating it not for SkateFreestyle or for SebaUS, but for the USFSA, so the information is not used for any commercial purpose, just for promoting and developing slalom in the US.


I hope that helps some of you that are new to slalom, and if there are any other questions that people think I have missed, let me know and I can edit this as time goes by. Also feel free to add your own tips to new skaters, and correct anything that I've written here - the 'which skates are available in the US' might be slightly out of touch and will change often!

Naomi
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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:49 PM   #2
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Oh cool. Thanks Naomi.

I really could have used a thread like this when I first started slaloming, as basic information is hard to find.

I would add one other piece of advice: when there is an option, shorter frames are preferrable. Meaning, all other things equal, a shorter frame will provide you more manueverability for slalom.

That doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a new pair of skates to try slalom - just start out with what you have. But if you have more than one pair, you might want to try the pair with the shorter frame first.

If, at some point, you decide to buy a new pair of skates specifically for slalom, I'd suggest you try to get a pair with very short frames, I talking the 231mm-243mm range. That's the size that most slalom "pros" appear to wear. Of course, if your foot is huge, frames this small might not be an option.

And I definitely suggest rockering your skates for slalom. It might take you 2-3 weeks to get used to but the tricks should become much easier afterward. Rockering guide:

1) 231mm frame: - 76mm middle wheels. 72mm outer wheels
2) 243mm frame: - 80mm middle wheels. 76mm outer wheels

But, I want to repeat: you don't have to buy a new pair of skates to slalom. Just watch some videos, strap on your skates, and give it a whirl. And then come back and post your questions on this forum.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #3
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Here's a link to a really good article that covers a lot of the basics for starting up with slalom skating. It's a few years old now, but I think most of the information is still accurate.

http://www.skatejourneys.com/index.p...284&Itemid=114
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 02:31 AM   #4
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Thanks Naomi, and I think your video's are helpful for learning

Tim
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Old April 25th, 2010, 08:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetdog View Post
Thanks Naomi, and I think your video's are helpful for learning

Tim
Thanks!
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Old May 4th, 2010, 02:46 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the great info!

I'm still trying to get the basics down and this gives me some direction (and purpose) for banging up my pads.

I do have a question about removing my heel brake as I'm not ready to buy new/specialized skates. Do I have to replace the axle with a standard width one? The rear wheel with the brake seems to have a wider axle. If so, are axles manufacturer specific or frame specific or have some other spec I'm unaware of?

Sorry for all the questions, but I find the more I learn about my skates and different types of skating the more questions I end up with.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #7
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Hi kuosher34,

Welcome to freestyle. I think you'll like it.

Yeah, most brake axles are longer than the other wheels' axles. Often, the skates ship with an extra axle of the normal size. Just in case you want to take the break off.

Otherwise, you might need to go to a local skate shop to buy one, or order one off a website. They are usually cheap, but you have to be sure to get one that fits your exact skate, as many vendors change the axle design often. If you live in a town w/ other skaters, someone might have an old one of the correct type that they could give you.

Slalom will definitely be easier without the break, so I say give it a try. If you have any more questions, feel free to post them.

-greg

greg
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Old May 5th, 2010, 02:15 AM   #8
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I haven't had much luck finding any axles that fit my skate, though many seem to be specifically for Rollerblades. Perhaps my model (CY33) is just that far out of date. Any insight on where to look? Perhaps I'll just contact their tech support and see what I can find out.

I've had no luck finding a skate shop around here. The only place that I know of has a wall of board stuff but that's about it.

Maybe I'll talk to some of my friends in the Atlanta/Athens area for some insight.

Thanks for the info Greg!
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Old May 5th, 2010, 04:47 AM   #9
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And thank you for all the videos Naomi. My brain boggles at the skill there!
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Old May 5th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #10
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If you can't find a replacement axle, go to the hardware store and buy some washers to make up for the thickness of the brake attachment. Or you can cut off the ends of the brake attachment and use them like washers to make the original axle still fit. Does that make sense?
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Old May 5th, 2010, 01:47 PM   #11
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Makes sense Rink Rat! I'm about 8 steps ahead of myself so no rush to get my brake off. I also emailed Rollerblade to see if they could match it up with one of their more current models.

Speaking of being way ahead of myself, I got a size chart here http://www.i18nguy.com/l10n/shoes.html for folks that are looking at SEBA skates but aren't familiar with Euro sizes.

Also, I've read of the Rollerblade Twister being available in a 231mm frame, but they only list a 243mm frame. Was that a limited run, a custom build, or some other thing that's simply unavailable now?

I know I need to spend less time looking at gear and more time on my skates, but bench skating is all I'm getting done with this rain.

Thanks again for all your answers!
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Old May 5th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #12
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I think Twister 231 frames are available only in Europe and/or Asia. And I don't know why. I'd buy them in a heartbeat, if they offered them here!
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Old May 5th, 2010, 02:29 PM   #13
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Of course they're only available in Europe! Would it be a possibility to get the frames and attach them to the boot? I'd imagine that solution, even if possible, would be terribly expensive.

I have a buddy stationed in Korea. Maybe he can get a line on the 231 version (if I'm in the market for them before he leaves, and if I decide to go Rollerblade).

Is the US market more aggressive skating focused? That would explain the lack of variety in selection. Too many questions from me.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #14
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Well, the short answer to your questions is that slalom skating has yet to catch on here, although there are several small groups of skaters, sprinkled across the country. Another place you can connect with them is at this site...

http://www.freestyleskaters.org/forum/

I guess until there's a bigger demand for slalom-style skates and products stateside, our choices will remain limited.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #15
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How much of a difference is there between the 6000 and deluxe frames? Do the crossmembers make that much of a difference, or is that something that'll only come into play at very high skill levels?
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Old May 11th, 2010, 04:50 PM   #16
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I have Seba 231 frames on my Twisters because I wanted the increased response and maneuverability they provide versus the original, longer frames. That said, I also like their sturdiness (less flexing) and all the axle bolt heads being oriented toward the inside. The latter feature enables me to easily change wheels with the skates still on my feet.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 05:40 PM   #17
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I originally had the standard 6000 frames on my 2008 Seba Highs. I liked the frame, but, through "off label" use of the skates, I broke some of the internal support structures about a week before last year's BattleUS. At that point, the frame was still skateable (I used them for the competition and one of Naomi's week-long slalom retreats afterward), but noticeably flexy.

Luckily, Stacy brought me some new Seba Deluxe frames in her luggage for BattleUS. I immediately noticed a marked improvement in stiffness with the new frame. However, I had been skating in compromised frames for two weeks, so I can't be sure how much of the difference was due to the older frames being broken, and how much difference was actually due to a superior design.

Either way, I now love love love my Deluxe frames. The are very stiff and the ride just feels buttery smooth. I am hardly an elite slalomer, and I don't really do technical tricks, but I do like flowy tricks, and I believe they are also helped by using a quality frame.

Whether the extra money is worth it for you is hard to say. I think both frames are good for slalom. If you hold both frames up at the same time, the Deluxe frame definitely does feel more solid/durable. A better design. I really do think the crossmembers make a significant difference. Therefore, the Deluxe frame will probably hold up to more abuse. However, if you stick to freestyle and don't try stalling on walls with them, this durability may not matter much to you.

I also think the Deluxe frame just "feels" better. Like I said before, however, I was switching from "broken" 6000 frames to "brand spank'n new" Deluxe frames, so opinion my be skewed a bit.

Conclusion? Dunno.

Has anyone else out there done an A/B test on the two frames?
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Old May 11th, 2010, 07:32 PM   #18
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Oh, I see now. You're talking about comparing two Seba frames, the 6000...

http://www.skatecrazy.net/products/6000frame.html

and the Deluxe...

http://www.skatecrazy.net/products/deluxeframe.html

I'll defer to Greg and others, since my experience is limited to the 6000.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:16 PM   #19
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My experience with frames is with cars so I can only assume the crossmembers increase responsiveness and translate every little bump you skate on to your feet. Does that sound about right?

I'm still trying to get used to crossing my feet over in a straight line, nevermind with cones in the path.

I'm really trying to figure out where to go next with my skates. My old skates seem to work well enough, but I'm also interested in taking advantage of a decade of skate development that I've missed out on. I'm guessing it'll be easier for me to find Twisters to try on, but I understand the Seba High (Deluxe) is the way a lot of slalomers go.

Or I guess I could get a pair of each and call it a day.

Greg - What skate shops up in the ATL area carry the Twister so I can put hands on?

Rink - How do the Twisters hold up with the Seba frames onboard? Easy enough to take the old ones off and put the new ones on, or was there a lot of rigging involved?

Thanks again for all of your answers. Glad someone is listening.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:50 PM   #20
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The Seba 231 frames easily mount to the Twister skates, but there is a trade-off: you'll have to decide whether you want to mount them slightly forward or backward of center. Mine are mounted toward the back, which means the rear wheels extend beyond my heels just a bit. Because my style involves some extreme backward leaning, this still works for me.
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