Intro by Billy O’Neill
Images by Jeremy Stephenson
Interview by various Be-Mag readers
What can you say about Rob G? Beyond skating, he is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. The way he lives his life is really interesting. Always traveling, always learning, keeping his mind open to change, pushing his own self, influencing everyone who he comes into contact with and constantly progressing. He’s been a great personal influence to me in many ways. His calm and collected approach to life is quite the opposite of how I approach my life and probably the reason why I’ve been able to learn so much from him. Having him stay with me for a while and skating with him throughout that time has taught me a lot. In regards to his skating, it is no different than how he handles everything else…always growing and focused on progression. His skating seems to be above the trends in skating…truly timeless. His thirst for knowledge and self improvement is unlike anyone I’ve ever known. One of the most honest people I’ve ever known and follows his heart above all else. Rob G is the man. He’s gonna be here for a while. The original nomad blader. The focused chicken. Rob Geeeeeezus! Holler.
– Billy O’Neill
Hovis: So I’ve always wondered. Your life seems to be simply travelling and rollerblading, where do you get the money for all of this?
I get the money from being sponsored, but mainly from not having things like rent, health insurance and car insurance. The majority of my money goes to food. I Love food and I love eating whatever I feel like eating.
Andrew Martinez: For a person who takes on rollerblading as a lifestyle as well as a profession, what do you see your skating being like in 10 years?
Hopefully smarter! ahhaa What is smart blading? Doing what I enjoy in an efficient way so that I can continue to blade with the maximum amount of pleasure and least amount of physical pain.
Jeffred: Best international skating destination?
I really enjoyed Holland. Sven Boekhorst, Randy Abels, and their whole crew were soo fun to skate with. New York is another favorite destination. I love how straight up and real New Yorkers are. Austin Texas back in the day used to be really tight.
Matthew Shannon: If you could be any character from any video game/book/movie/tv show/comic…etc who would you be and why?
Something ninja i’m sure. A ninja turtle because they can kick ass and they have good hearts…are you writing this?….dont type what I say that question is for you!…….and eat lots of pizza and are party animals….PARTY ANIMALS!” – my girlfriend’s answer after reading this question to her.
Stefan B: It’s a pretty well known fact that you’re an extremely healthy individual. The first time I met you in Philly you opted to eat the grapes in me and my dads cooler instead of eating with everyone else at Taco Bell. What is your daily regiment to keep yourself healthy, and what are the best tips you can give others to have a healthy body for blading? (eating habits, specific foods, vitamins, specific yoga positions, stretches, etc..)
Wow I totally forgot about gettin those grapes. I remember being super hungry though and you coming through with those. If you are looking to change your diet to a more healthy one I would say change in moderation. You don’t always have to begin with cutting things out of your diet, but sometimes just substituting certain foods for healthier version i.e. almond milk for regular milk, whole grain breads for white, organic for non-organic.
When you restrict yourself in terms of what you eat and don’t eat your body/mind can rebel and you can end up with bad habits like over eating or binging with the very foods you are trying not to eat. I tend to do this with sweets which is why I bring it up haha. Right now my diet is vegetarian and basically vegan.
Everyone has a unique body with specific needs unique only to itself. Your best bet is to experiment with what your body agrees with and find out what it needs and doesn’t need in order to perform at the level you want it to perform at. What do you want out of your body? If you want it to perform at a high level (which blading basically requires) then you have to feed it high performance foods rich in life giving energy (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, etc.). Eating cooked and process foods only slows your body down by making it digest food which in the end is empty because the life giving energy has been killed by its processing (cooking).
A great book for stretching and Warming-up is “Dynamic Strength” by Harry Wong. Not only does it help with loosening up and lubricating all the major joints, but when done correctly as read, it can give you great awareness of your body which comes in handy with blading. There are MANY times where I get SOOO frustrated because I can’t land a trick, only to realize that all I needed to do was make a minor adjustment in my body positioning, or become more aware of where my legs are at.
One tool I have just picked up is a Foam Roller. Its a cylindrical piece of foam you use to work on knots and roll out sore spots on your muscles. This is a definate must have for all bladers. I found that using this before and after sessions while filming helped me skate longer and with less pain. Using a tennis ball to massage your back, legs, feet, etc. is a must have. You can also use a golf ball on the bottoms of your feet. When you use these tools you will be surprised to find where you hurt and how working on these areas can have unthought of positive affects.
NickL: When someone asks you “what do you do for a living?” What do you tell them and what is their reaction?
Well, my answer seems to vary with each person but most of the time I say something like ” I Rollerblade…like….slide down rails and stuff” hahaha I don’t ever get negative responses like I hear other people get. If anything most people become even more interested after I tell them MANY of them say “I used to rollerblade!” hahhah It seems like EVERYONE at some point in their life has rollerbladed before.
Formerly galenaskater: What was your last permanent address?
My Father’s house in San Jose is my permanent address. I am only there for a few months out of the year but its the address that is on my liscence, bank card, etc.
Ian from tampa: Tell us a story about something memorable from your first few years skating aggro.
The first time I discovered you could slide on stuff with your rollerblades which forever changed my life in all areas…discovering that I didn’t make up the X grind and soul to alleyoop soul…getting my first pair of Rollerblade Lightning’s that made soul grinds possible…watching Mad Beef and it having a drug like affect on my brain forever changing the way I see possibilities in my world….scribe plastic/metal grindplates…spending hours and hours in Rollerblading chatrooms on AOL starting off conversations with “yeah…i was in vg6”
My favorite years of blading were in the 90’s. Nothing will ever match the excitement I had when getting off BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to find over 30+ bladers EVERY friday night. I don’t think there is anything in this world that was (is) as righteous as the Friday Night skates that went down in San Francisco. It was the highlight of my week, every week.
Village Idiot: Can you still do 270 front torqueslides with both feet?
DAMN! Calling me out…Well, I can’t really say. I would have to go try them to find out. I should though huh. I have been asking myself why I stopped doing tricks I used to do and there really is no good answer. I used to feel like if I did something that that had an impact like those tricks did I should stop doing them because I did them already in a video. I don’t think this is the right way to think and is limiting my skating so I will start working on that…..maybe you will see them in my next section?!
Smiley: What inspires you to push yourself skating? Why is bombing hills one of the best things to do?
Have you been practicing your juggling?
The 1990’s inspire me to push myself. Watching old skate videos on youtube and remembering why I do it and what it felt like and can still feel like. Remembering tricks I used to do and wondering why in the hell I stopped doing them inspires me. Jayson Reduta, Randy Bernal, Erick Garcia, Kevin Dowling, Lonnie Gallegos, Ariel Surun, Dave Paine, Frank Stoner, Tom Hyser, B-Hardin, Billy O’Neill, and Jeromy Morris are a few names that inspire me.
Man, bombing hills IS one of the best things to do! I havn’t done it in forever, but I remember after watching the movie “Airborne,” finding all the biggest craziest hills in San Jose and spending weekends going up and down them with Jason Howard for hours on end. You owe me a hill bombing session the next time I see you!
No, I havn’t been practicing my juggling. Don’t have a lengthy answer for this one sorry. haha.
Fast eddie: If you had absolutely no time constraints and a backpack full of wheels and other random parts, where would you set out for a long-distance skate adventure? What would your setup be?
Wow, this is a great question. I think some day I will go cross country on blades. I think its only a matter of time. My uncle Tweeto who has been a big inspiration in my life rode his bike cross country from ocean to ocean for charity and told me its not very hard to get some sponsors to back you up on it. I think it would be cool to just crash peoples couches spending time in every city you go through taking your time.
My skates would have to be some carbon fiber custom molded super comfy skates with some 110mm wheels. I have a pair right now that are soo fun to skate around the neighborhood on. Being able to go so fast so easy is really a different experience. It makes you want to zoom around streets pretending your like…knight rider or batman or something.
Muppet4Eternity: What are your theories on switch and natural? How does the whole system work in your eyes?
I don’t really have any theories on switch and natural. I know that It is usually “harder” to do switch then natural so when one does a trick switch its level of acceptence is higher but the actual trick for the individual may not be harder and may not even feel switch. I think switch and natural were more pronounced when grinding firs began and there were only a few grinds. I don’t think people care about it as much as they used to back then.
I compare doing switch tricks to writing with my left hand. I taught myself how to write with my left hand, and in doing so found out that my style of writing with my left is completely different. Then that of my right. I like the way it feels when I write with my left, and actually prefer the style to that of my right.
I think it is good to experiment with switch tricks and switch spins. Trying something switch may actually lead you to find out that it was your natural the whole time. This is what happened to me with True mizu’s, 360’s, and farside alyoop soyals. Spinning natural to switch grinds can sometime be easier then spinning switch to natural grinds. I think that is how a lot of my switches became naturals.
Teh Nap: 1. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the solo boot not factoring in the switch frames/big wheels…also do your parents have the best hair in the world? Because your hair is pretty sweet.
The solo boot is very stable and comfortable. Keeps your feet locked in really well and is especially good for those with wide feet like myself. The cross buckle/strap keeps your foot in your boot nice and snug. Yes, my parents do have the best hair in the world.
2. Do you ever get burnt out/depressed on being a pro blader?
Sometimes I get burnt out and depressed but I don’t think that has to do with the act of being a pro blader so much as getting lost in mental habits that come along with being a pro blader such as being extremely harsh and self-critical of myself, having external expectations of myself, lack of 90’s vibe in the session.
3. What are your theories on theories?
I think of theories representing tools/models that you can use to break through a pre-existing model that you hold that defines how you experience the reality you live in. They are fun to come up with because the act of having one makes you question the way you live your life and makes your mind think in new and interesting ways.
4. Shampoo or conditioner? You can only pick one.
Charlie Hustles: Ganja?
Chris Fortune: Colorado road trip 2010?
FOR SURE!!!! Team RB Roadtrip goin down!!!
NickL: There are many positive aspects to rollerblading (it gets you off the couch, you meet cool people, you travel, etc…). What do you think is the biggest downside to rollerblading?
The side affects it has on your body. Street skating just destroys your body, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t absorb impact efficiently with your legs and core when you skate. I’m just now trying to fix this problem but after skating for soo many years a certain way its hard to change. My lower back is feeling the affects though.
DK2 rolla: 1. Who is your favourite philosopher?
I would have to say Alan Watts has had the biggest impression on my style of thinking. He does a great job of relating all religions and philosophies, showing how they are all just different expressions of the one reality we all share and experience mentally, physically, and spiritually as human beings.
2. Do you have a favourite quote?
“Nature is much more playful then purposeful, and the probability that it has no special goals for the future need not strike one as a defect. On the contrary, the processes of nature as we see them both in the surrounding world and in the involuntary aspects of our own organisms are much more like art then like business, politics, or religion. They are especially like the arts of music and dancing, which unfold themselves without aiming at future destinations…the point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them, we may forget altogether to live them. The musician whose chief concern is to make every performance better than the last may so fail to participate and delight in his own music that he will impress his audience only with the anxious rigor of his technique.” – Alan Watts
Boris from Russia: Hello Robert. You seem to be really positive dude all the time. Do you have moments when you HATE on people for no reason? Tell us one story of such situation please!
Hey Boris, for the most part I am a pretty positive dude. I try not to spend my energy consciously making others feel bad about who they are who or who I may think they are. I would much rather use that energy on making my life a more pleasurable experience and I find that in doing so it often has a positive effect on others without it being my direct intention to do so. It seems like the easiest way to be for all parties.
The biggest person I hate on is myself. When I do find myself “hating” on others I often turn those thoughts inward instead of outward and ask myself what it is about myself that I am disliking or hating on. If I am honest with myself I often find that the person or situation I am observing is simply mirroring my own self hatred. In this way I try to use my mind as a tool for self reflection. Any thoughts, feelings, or emotions which arise from what comes into my field of vision I try to be aware of and learn from. If you practice this awareness you can learn a great deal about yourself just from what you observe in your every day experiences.
MoLesta: Rob, has skating influenced your wellness habits or have your wellness habits influenced your skating? I am more or less curious which came first in your life I suppose, and how the progression has developed your abilities as a person and as a skater.
I would have to say skating has influenced my wellness habits. Skating in one way or another influences everything I do. Once you reach a certain age, your body does not respond as quickly to your minds commands as it used to. You learn that in order to maintain a certain level of satisfaction in your blading (or go beyond your current level) there are certain demands on your body that must be met.
I have learned that if I consistently eat healthy foods and participate in such activities as stretching, yoga, meditation, running, bicycling, etc. the more precisely my body reacts to the demands my mind puts on it. There really is no better feeling then thinking of a trick or movement, then executing that movement with mental and physical ease. It can give you great confidence in yourself that affects your state of mind on and off your blades.
My progression lies in the consistency of my wellness habits. There is a part of me that wants to be disciplined and structured in my wellness habits and practice of Rollerblading, and then there is that rebel side of me that wants nothing to do with discipline and structure. Balancing is my biggest struggle in life.
Mahmoud Jalloh: Who is your favorite skater to watch?
As of late, my favorite has been Billy O’Neill. The level of confidence that he exudes is remarkable and something I envy. He also has become one of my best friends so that plays apart in that.
Which of your full sections is your favorite?
Hm… I’m not sure I can pin point just one, but I continue to enjoy every section I have made with Lonnie Gallegos. Many of my older ones can be seen here (http://www.youtube.com/user/BlackFabric), and my newest section will come out next month in the third installment of the Fade Nation series entitled “Green.” Stay updated on that video by visiting www.fadenation.blogspot.com.
Gatsby: TOP 5 SCARIEST TRICKS YOU HAVE LACED SO FAR IN YOUR CAREER???
I think a lot of my “scariest” tricks have been done in my younger years when my focus was more on proving myself. Hm…lemme think.
1. Kind grind off roof in vg17
2….um…the kind grind off the roof is really the only one I can think of hahaha. I don’t really put myself in situations where my life and the results of what are to happen are questionable so I’m having a hard time recalling them. I just mostly skate now to do tricks that feel good and are in the general realm of my skill level. When you don’t have health insurance any false move could mean being in debt for life and a slew of other realities that are not conducive to happiness.
JonPOOLER: Do you ever worry that rollerblading is an inherently selfish activity?
I think it is one of those selfish acts that can yield positive results. I think focusing on yourself and doing what you love is one of the most efficient and positive ways to influence the world. There is nothing greater then hearing from another person that what you love to do is influencing them to do what they love to do. I think when being selfish yields these types of results it transcends the normal view of what it means to be selfish.
DeceptionRolla V.2.0: Would you tag team up with demolition or the legion of doom?
Legion of Doom look like my kinda dudes, I choose them.
Paulgarton: I met you at Airborne during one of the IMYTA’s and you were a true class act. You have been in the industry for quite some time through ups and downs and you seem to always keep an open mind and be in good spirits. I was wondering what are a couple of your fondest memories brought about by rolling over your career?
Wow, that IMYTA was probably one of my favorite memories! Winning that IMYTA was my first experience with consciously manifesting my dreams. Doing that fast slide down the rail. The only rail I had fastslide before that was the one at airborne the day before. Dustin looked at me and said “fastslide it.” I smiled, and then went and did it. Experiencing the confidence of just knowing you can do something even if you have never done it and then making it happen is one of the greatest feelings.
A lot of my fondest memories come from my pre-professional years. Back then there was a nice balance of going out, having fun, and being able to capture it on camera without it ever feeling like you were skating to get clips. You were just naturally getting clips as a result of having fun. I’m not saying that this is all that happens now, but once you go through the whole experience of being professional at something and having it be expected, you can create certain mental habits in yourself that go against your nature and make it hard to do the very thing that got you to where your at.
Uribe: 1. Why are you in the Rollerblade team? Is it for money? Then for what?
I am on the Rollerblade Team because they take care of me and support my blading and lifestyle.
2. How come you never have any pro models when you are really one of the most followed skaters in the world?
I haven’t had any pro models because up until a few years ago I didn’t have any sponsors, and besides Rollerblade I don’t have any other sponsors. Many people thought that because I was skating different skates like USD, Remz, and Xsjado before Rollerblade that I was sponsored by them but they were all just hooking me up with skates during a 4 year period where I did not have any sponsors.
3. Do you have any plans on sticking to the industry when your long skating career is over? What would you like to offer to the community? If not, what will you do with your future?
The only plan I have is doing what I love and following that love wherever it takes me. It has kept me in skating for this long, and may very well keep me involved in the industry for an even longer time to come. I can not tell. What can I offer? Who I am and what I do with my life is what has kept me involved and in this game for as long as I have so I would just say my life is what I have to offer. My future? Follow my love the best I know how.
4. Which is your personal favourite profile? And from someone else?
My VG 17 profile, and any section I have made with Lonnie Gallegos and Kevin Dowling.
5. What does it feel to be a rolemodel for oldschoolers and newschoolers around the world?
It’s truely an honor to hear that I have influenced another in a positive way simply by doing what I love. I believe it to be one of the highest honors.
6. Can we expect anything new from Rob G in the next months? Promodels, profiles, new RB gear?
Muppet4Eternity: Where do you think you would be if you never found skating?
NFL BABY! Seriously though. I’d probably be making lots of money, have a family and a nice home, scoring hella touchdowns.
NYCaNIMHal: What would you do as a career alternative if you ended up paralyzed from the waist down?
I would probably become a “philosopher” Much like Nick Riggle has done. I’m not exactly sure what that entails, but to me it would mean going around talking with other dudes who are interested in what you are interested in and coming up with new exciting ways to think about the world whilst understanding that no matter what label or equation you give this reality we share be it a religious, spiritual, or mathematical one it is all the same. Learning about all the different manifestations of this one reality we all share and live in and relating them to each other is exciting to me.