Aggressive Inline Skater  What They Do

Just the Facts

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dotBack in the 1970s, roller skating was all the rage. These days, in-line skating, a direct descendant of roller skating, is even more popular.

In-line skating is also known as rollerblading. It is a form of roller skating, except the skates are designed differently. While roller skates have four wheels, separated into two rows on each skate, rollerblades have anywhere from two to five wheels on each skate, arranged in one row. Sometimes, they also have a brake.

Recreational in-line skaters enjoy riding on their skates down roads, sidewalks or paths.

Aggressive in-line skating is in-line skating with tricks, similar to skateboarding or BMX bike riding. It is popular with people who enjoy thrills and like to push themselves to confront their fears. Sound scary? In-line skaters say it can also be a lot of fun.

Aggressive in-line skating can be broken down into three categories.

Vert riding involves riding on ramps, jumping in the air and doing tricks in the air before landing again. This happens at skate parks or on privately built ramps.

Street riding takes place anywhere out in the streets. Jumping down sets of stairs, hopping up rails and sliding down rails are examples of street riding.

Skate park riding happens in skate parks. This is like street riding in a simulated street environment. There can also be vert or mini-vert ramps in skate parks.

It's not easy to make a living being a professional aggressive in-line skater. In fact, it is pretty tough. But those who do it say that they love it.

Some ways aggressive in-line skaters make money are through contests, sponsors and videos, and by endorsing products.

"If you do have the skill level to be able to do it, and you are willing to trade job stability and money for life experience, I would absolutely recommend [going pro]," says pro aggressive in-line skater Chris Haffey.

In the United States, there are many levels of competition for aggressive in-line skaters. Although the sport was taken out of the XGames in 2005, other contests remain. One of the more popular ones is the ASA Action Sports touring competition.

There are no regular working hours when you're a skater. Most competitions happen on the weekend, so often you have to practice around another full-time job while you're on the road to becoming a pro. That means even more weekend and evening work. And as a pro, you may have to travel as needed.

Being physically fit is a must for skaters. So is buying safety gear. A helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and wrist pads are all must-have items. Shin pads help, too. The cost varies quite a bit on these items, but it's helpful to remember that you get what you pay for. Don't be cheap!

Aggressive in-line skates can cost up to $500, or even more, while more casual skates can be $100 to $200.

At a Glance

Compete professionally or promote products

  • It's hard to make a living through skating
  • Only a handful of skaters turn pro
  • Instruction is available, but this sport takes practice and determination