Interview & Introduction by Kevin Chow
Photography by Isaac Oltmans
You’ve recently released your new line of wheels. What has the reaction been so far from your riders, shops and customers?
Well during the testing phases of the new compound they were coined the “crack wheels” by Robert Lievanos and several others. The reaction to the new wheels has been great. We are constantly striving to produce a quality wheel for the quality conscious skater, and we are still hoping to evolve the product as well as the Brand.
The new graphics look amazing. I believe the artist, Kyler Martz, is a friend of Bailey’s. Is that how you two got connected?
Erik hit me up about Kyler asking that his wheel be done by him. I liked it, asked him if he wanted to do everyone’s and if everyone was fine with that. Glad it all worked out, and I am happy with the outcome and the response we’ve been getting.
The team right now is probably one of the most well rounded and diverse mix of skaters. How did this evolve? Will there be any new additions to the team (pro or am) in the near future?
Well my goal has always been about diversity. A good well rounded team has to be. I’m trying to cater to a diverse market, and you’d be surprised at other pro’s that ride and rep our wheels without having a signature wheel.
For people who don’t know, you’re running a rolling distribution arm at Skate One. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
Skate One has been making roller skate wheels for decades. In order to grow that market I suggested that all the Roller Brands should be under their own umbrella and that’s where Roll One Distribution came into play. I have my own sales reps and brand representation under that umbrella. It’s slowly coming around, definitely keeping me busy.
You’re also taking more time to get involved into Derby wheels. Should bladers start to support their scene, and perhaps the same will happen vice versa?
It’s a growing market, another niche we can support with the quality products we produce. It’s a fun scene that’s for sure. Support your local team, get your girlfriend on skates and get her doing Derby!
Chris Haffey wheels in the middle of production
Rollerblading is starting to get more and more “skater owned” companies in various different areas (frames, boots, wheels) what’s your take on it?
I’ve always been dissed as for working for “the Devil”. But I tell you what, I feel the exact opposite. I sit in a position to where I’ve learned from an already established industry. I feel it’s helped with my professionalism and I’ve learned from the best. I get an inside perspective of the sport that has knocked us down over the years, and I get to show them clips of my team and show them our side. What do I think about skater owned? How deep do we delve into this? I mean do my competitors own the machines to pour their own wheels? No. Do their formulate their own chemistry and own the proprietary rights to that formula? Do they own the molds, or any of the tooling? I’m happy where I am at. I wanted to make the best wheels possible so that’s what drew me here. I am thankful they have allowed me the opportunity to do so.
We’ve started to go back to the roots of skating, going fast and rolling on big wheels. As someone who did it back in the day, what ‘s your opinion on the FSK/Powerblading scene?
I feel it brings back the feeling of fun again. The whole reason why we got into this was for the love of rolling. It’s just adding to the skating quiver and allows us to broaden our horizons. I mean in my hay day we had it all, hockey, speed and aggressive. It’s all fun to me, and that’s what keeps me going.
You’ve leaked a few pics on your facebook a while back about your “Cozmo” type wheels. What’s the scoop?
We have been playing around with a high energy core for 4-5 years. It’s nothing new, but something new to us. I take my time with the development of goods for 2 reasons: one being I have no choice, they’re constantly developing new technologies downstairs and it is all done based on priority. Two, I don’t want to release anything out there that will be just hype and a piece of shit. I want only the highest quality goods we can make to go out that door.
I see you’ve been jumping out of planes these days. Skating not enough of a rush for you anymore?
Well after all the knee surgeries I’ve only got 10% of my muniscous left in my left knee. I need my adrenaline rush just like everyone else. This is the next way for me to remember the feeling of a competition. You get the nerves and butterflies before the jump and the rush when you’re back on the ground. There is no other feeling like it. The first time jumping without the instructor holding on was surreal. The analogy they used is perfect. Leaving the plane is like sliding down a slide backwards on your belly. Best adrenaline rush ever.
What kind of input does the team have on their selection of wheels? I.E. Urethane hardness, shape, graphics etc.
They have full input on the overall wheel. They can tell me harder or softer and all that. I’d like to offer more shapes and sizes but the cost of tooling and the availability in the machine shop is hard to come by. Soon I hope to have a 60 and 59mm wheel.
I mentioned your amazing team, any thoughts of a team video?
I’d love to do a video. I’ve talked with Vinny Minton and Juan Mosqueda, hopefully we can get something together in the future.
Do you think actual physical skate DVD’s are a dead medium? It seems like most consumers these days want to see video footage online.
I think the physical DVD is close to dead, but I know most people still like to have a hard copy to share and trade.
Blood wheels circa 1998
You’ve been around for many years combined as Blood/Eulogy. How is the volume of wheels being produced compared to the heyday of blading?
I just had my 17 year anniversary on 7/31. The volume is much less obviously, but in the past 2 years we have grown. I know the team has helped with that exposing the brand to other countries. I’ve expanded to well over 25 countries world wide.
Speaking of the heyday of blading, how did people get started into skating and how do you think we could attract a new wave of young skate kids?
Well from my perspective I see both surfing and skateboarding as generational sports. We are getting to the age where people in our sport are going to have kids and hopefully they will introduce them to it and get them pumped. That’s what I see has helped with surfing for decades. Gypsy Lucas, is bringing back the demo van concept that got a lot of people on skates at parks all around the nation. She has started up the the skate truck in NYC. I hope more people franchise this idea and do it in their neck of the woods.
Any shout outs?
I’d like to thank my wife for putting up with me and my travels. My team for supporting the brand and spreading the word. Everyone I work with, and to loyal customers.