Friday, September 26, 2008

Hobby #1 - Skates!

Yeah.. I absolutely love inline-skating.

in case you were wondering, inline-skating is also commonly (and mistakenly) known as rollerblading. Rollerblade is a brand of inline-skates that had initially started it all back then, and the term 'rollerblading' was coined due to the brand association of the product with the sport.

It all started when my family were living in the States. Tulsa, Oklahoma to be exact. I was still very little that time, and our apartment overlooked a park. Everyday I will be gawking at groups of skater playing there, and that's when my passion ignited. I told my dad bout it, and that weekend we went to the nearby Toy R' Us and he bought me a pair of roller skates. Every evening after work he would help me on my skates, but i started at a tennis court for 'safety'..hehe..anyways, when we returned to Malaysia, and when me & my siblings were young, and my dad insists that we take up ice-skating.

My dad had even bought me, my younger sister, and my younger brother a pair of inline skates each, complete with all the gears to 'train' for ice-skating. He asked us to play (practice) at least to a point of being able to stay upright. Soon, we're all set and hit the ice. That time, it was at Mines. Needless to say, it became a passion for me. I was particularly interested to play hockey - on ice, or roller hockey. Blame the media for airing movies like the Mighty Ducks and Brink!..hehe.. Sadly, we all have to grow up, and i have to study and 'abandon' my skating passion for awhile.

Now, dad is working in Doha, Qatar and my family stays there with him. I'm a university undergrad, and every sem break I would stay for a month there in Qatar. The have this mall called Villagio with an ice-rink, and upon my first discovery of it, I hit it at once, figuring that the ability to skate (properly) is like riding a bicycle - you never forget - but as you might guessed, I fell flat in the next five minutes. But, that won't stop me from re-learning. Since currently I'm doing internship at KLCC, I have an independent financial source, and with my first measly pay check, I bought the pair of K2 Aspire inline-skates and the K2 protective gears as well. After years of being rusty, I skated every other day at my condo parking lot. Whew! The feeling's back, and it felt great.

My skates are of the K2 brand, the '08 K2 Aspire, with 80mm 82a wheels and bearings rated at ABEC 5.

In lay man's terms, my skates are perfect for recreational/fitness skating - differing from the styles in the like of Freestylin'/Slalom skating, Speedskating, and the extreme Aggressive skating. I don't mind, since my proficiency is that of intermediate-level - meaning that I could do little of those fancy tricks.

I am a member of Skateline, a frat of skaters that meet up and share their same passion for skating. Skateline currently has a couple of store that retails a wide selection of skates and equipment (protective gear is an absolute must - it may not look cool on, but there's nothing cool about being injured, crippled, and/or dead) for men and women, and for people of all ages who still has the balls (or ovaries) to zip on eight relatively small rubber wheels. Anyway, since I won't be paid for endorsing the store, I'll just provide you with the link to their site - click here

Twice a month, Skateline holds an event called the Saturday Nite Skate (SNS), and like the namesake, on every 2nd and 4th Saturday nights of every month, skaters converge at a selected location nominated by the members at the forum. These locations vary in accordance of difficulty levels where the members had skated from the 'easy' level of low-traffic, relatively flat terrain at parks in and around KL, right up to the 'absurd' level at newly-constructed, hilly highways & flyovers that hasn't opened to the public traffic yet. Crowd favorite is Putrajaya boulevard.

FYI, every SNS is not just a bunch of skaters burnin' some rubber on some roads - the marshals, or the skating instructors of Skateline (yeah, they have Skating School) has planned the route in advance, noting every potential hazards that could pose danger to skaters i.e. heavy-traffic, uneven roads, sands, debris, etc. During the event, the marshals skated back and forth along the column of skaters along the route, and are ever vigilant and on the lookout for skaters that could be in trouble. They each held blinking light-batons (those thing the police wave to guide cars at night) to guide skaters, and with all these measures in place, SNS is truly a fun and safe event especially to new skaters.

To commemorate their 3rd anniversary, Skateline held an SNS closer to home - around TTDI near Damansara and the meeting point was the Skateline main store there. The skating route was about 10km long, and rated at 'moderate' difficulty, perfect for advanced-beginner & intermediate-level skaters. We met up at 8.00 pm and Skated off till 10.00 pm where we ended our event with a makan-makan (free: sponsored by Skateline)at Pucuk Paku Café beside the Skateline store.

Below are some pics of the event.

Meet-up at Skateline TTDI for pre-skate briefing

Banking right downhill..Drift! Whee~

Never listen to the hot girl daring you to go down a steep hill. Ever.

This was a lesson for me to always remember to bring my helmet before tumbling (almost) head-first in a wipe-out

Posing with skaters of MMU Cyberjaya


Overall, it was a blast of a time, and I've met new friends, and learnt valuable lessons in honing my skating skills. I'm certaintly looking forward for more rubber-burning sessions on my skates.

By the way, the new road leading from the roundabout to the Chancellor's Complex is what skaters call 'black ice'. C'mon people..the road's new and smooth. Let's skate up and rock UTP!

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