As so many things that involve skating and my friends who skate, Roll Twin Ports, or RTP, felt like a blend of a reunion, an inside joke, a vacation, and a public spectacle. It’s pretty easy to fall into a glory-days state of mind when thinking of past RTPs. The contest started in 2002, took a long hiatus in 2013, and is back this year for the first time since.
RTP is traditionally a contest, but with so many things being scaled back on account of a pandemic and every one being adults, this year the organizers opted to throw a ‘non-test’. We just—skated.
RTP takes place in Duluth, Minnesota, which is kind of the San Fransisco of the midwest. Almost all of Minnesota is super flat, but the north shore of Lake Superior has giant hard rock cliffs that plunge into Lake Superior. It’s truly the Minnesota Riverina. Duluth is not a huge town, maybe 100,000 people or so, and it’s pretty much the last large city until you cross into Canada. I have been all over the country chasing skaters with a camera, and I think Duluth may be the best city to skate I have ever been to.
The non-test was long — 10 spots in all. Most of the spots were along the Lake Superior shore, in an area called Canal Park. This part of Duluth is one of the biggest tourist destinations in all of Minnesota (really the midwest), which gave us ample spectators who were pretty excited to see a group of middle-aged men wearing shin pads, grinding ledges and rails.
For as old and fragile as we are (and feel) the level of skating was high. Duluth home-town hero Brad Magnuson threw down on a rail that leads from a huge ship (seen below). The vessel used to haul taconite around the Great Lakes and has now been converted into a museum. Jay Davis’ 270 back farfegnugen to soul comes to mind, if only because he promptly took his skates off for the day. Seth Anderson’s roll to roll to fall that I didn’t take a picture of is another story…
If all skate events were exactly like RTP, I would be extremely happy. The vibe was laid back, supportive, and best of all, fun the whole time. We were skating spot to spot in a beautiful town, on a beautiful day, with old and new friends — what’s not to love?
Thanks as always to Mike Lufholm for organizing with the close collaboration with Brad Magnuson and Lucas Pauken. Thank you Rollerblade for sending some swag and to all the folks who came out! It takes a village!
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