The Russian blading scene has had a significant rejuvenation recently and that is in part due to the hard word and dedication of a select few individuals that have worked to unite the country’s vast community of skaters and provide them an outlet for their amazing talents. Luckily there are brands such as Embily who have invested into the Russian blading scene and through their support have helped to develop their own inline skating team comprised of some of the best skaters in Russia. With the support from Embily, the team has organized skating competitions that push the amplitude of the sport, as well as camps that help to guide the next generation of bladers as well as organized tours that aim to engage the public and connect skaters from all over the country.
After the success of the 2020 Battle For Gold competition the team created the Embily tour and set course for some of the country’s best skate destinations, and documented all of their escapades along the way. Here is what Embily organizer Boris Gaisner and tour photographer Anton Seleznev had to say about their adventures on the road and their plans to showcase their experience in a way never done before within the blading world.
Embily tour is a unique event, and it was a big honor documenting it with a video-camera. But when the video is over, something has to keep you entertained, and in the case of a rollerblading tour it’s sure photos. Our tour photographer Anton Seleznev aka Selone, day-after-day carefully documented what was happening with the team on the streets of different cities. Shooting stunts requires a lot of attention to detail, and working with an experienced rollerblader is never easy – sometimes you need to shoot 10, 20 or more shots to perfectly convey the idea of the rider, and in this regard Anton has made a huge contribution. The result is something the world of rollerblading has never seen before – a 200-page hardcover book about the Embily Tour, with rider commentary in two languages and illustrations by street artist DEMOS.
I’ve been thinking about a Russian rollerblading book for a long time. I’ve been rollerblading myself since 2004, and surprisingly in all the years, no one has made a large print edition. One of my old friends, Boris Gaisner, in the summer of 2020 realized the long-standing dream of our entire small blade community, managed to organize a large project for many years of downtime. We gathered the strongest riders from different parts of our country in Moscow, and a month later went on a two-week trip to the south of Russia. I tried to shoot blading in 2007, I even have a publication on Be-mag somewhere in the archives, but somehow I quickly switched to something else, and stopped shooting skating. And then last summer I thought: “Why not start again?”.
If you compare the shooting of rollerbladers, it is very similar to fishing: you are looking for a good background, or some beautiful lines, and there you try to fit the plot with a trick. Of course, it was easier for me to shoot, because I skated myself and I understand what the key moment is. But it was even more important for me to shoot not the tricks themselves, but the whole life of the guys from the inside, because rollerblading is a very underground and unpopular sport. The result of our trip is a 200-page book with more than 500 pictures shot over the span of six months. Russian rollerblading lives and continues to develop.