Intro by: Aaron Wheat Interview by: Olli Nermerich Images by: Chris Wedman
I would like to think most of you know Sean Knight from his past year of amazing monthly edits, his A Chosen Few day in the life, and for skating in shorts even during the harsh Calgary winter. I, however, have known Sean for most of my life and will never forget the first day I met him.
The year was 1994. I was rolling through my local downtown in my first pair of brand new skates, Rollerblade Tarmac CE’s. I heard someone yelling at me, and turned around to notice Sean rocking a pair of Lightnings with the middle wheels out and rigged up with hand made juice plates. It was, and will probably be, the only time he was jealous of me; not to mention my full frame metal grind plates. A week later Sean took me to some ghetto rails, and taught me how to do my first grind. It was the beginning of a great friendship in and outside of skating.
Fast forward 16 years and Sean seems to progress his skating ability daily. Although he is now 1/2 a country away, I still see him as having a bigger impact on my skating than anyone else. I cannot thank him enough for his insight, his dedication to the sport, and for being such a good friend. Sean continues to amaze me with his skating and I cannot be happier that the rest of the world is finally seeing him as I always have.
A last note, to you, Sean: I hope you know that I will never let you forget that one fateful day in the late 90’s, where I placed higher than you in a skate comp. It is sure to never happen again, but I will always relish it.
ALL RIGHT SEAN, THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN A LONG TIME IN THE MAKING; TELL EVERYONE ABOUT YOURSELF!
I’m Sean Knight and I’m from Guelph, Ontario. I’m 28 years old and currently reside in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I’ve been rollerblading for 15 years and I’m fortunate enough to have IDFA, Shop-Task, The Conference and Xsjado helping me out as sponsors.
LAST YEAR YOU COMMITTED TO MAKING AN EDIT EACH MONTH. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO DO THAT?
Well, I bought a camera and a car, found myself living in a new city, and began teaching thousands of kids how to rollerblade. Owning my first GL2 and a car changed everything. I was finally able to film for the first time in 13 years and skate anywhere I wanted. I wanted to take full advantage of my new situation.
Being surrounded by hundreds of new spots I skated something new every day. I started collecting a lot of footage and realized that I could make edits in Calgary and never have two edits look alike.
The goal to finish a year of monthly edits was awesome. It forced me to skate more than ever, push myself and always hit new spots. It was a great way to discover Calgary and challenge myself at the same time.
The students I teach really motivated me to keep going once the edits began. They love watching the footage and it’s a great way to show a different outlet for rollerblading.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM DOING THE MONTHLY EDITS?
I learned that I love pushing myself and finding different challenges. I found myself thinking more creatively each month and finding any way possible to skate each object I could find.
I realized rollerbladers have the potential to hit almost anything and that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to skate everything I could find even if it required a launch or a board setup.
WHAT BENEFITS CAME OUT OF THIS EXPERIENCE?
I made some awesome contacts over the year and actually enjoyed a Canadian winter for a change. My students now have a bunch of footage to watch of their instructor. I found lots of spots in and around Calgary. I roll with more confidence now and think more clearly and creatively on my rollerblades.
I HEARD A SAYING THAT IN CALGARY THERE’S 11 MONTHS OF SNOW AND 1 BAD MONTH OF SKIING. WHY DO YOU SKATE IN THE SNOW? I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE IT’S FUN SKATING IN THE FREEZING COLD!
I really have no choice! Calgary doesn’t have an indoor park, Canada’s winters are extremely long, and I can’t just put my skates away for the season. When it’s -20 to -40 outside it’s terrible, but if the weather’s somewhat decent then it’s great. With a few boards and a shovel you can create so many spots and make the winter season enjoyable.
There’s definitely not 11 months of snow but we do receive snow in September and odd months like that. We actually get these chinook clouds in the winter which create a warm blanket over the city. So a winter in Calgary can vary between -50 and +15 temperatures, so you never really know what’s next.
YOU’VE BEEN KILLING IT IN CANADA FOR A LONG TIME NOW. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS CAUSED YOUR RECENT INTERATIONAL EXPOSURE OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS?
Well, first, thanks. I really just started filming my tricks, editing, and pushing myself more. If anyone knows of me outside of Canada, it’s just due to the people that supported my rollerblading and hosted my edits on their blogs.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONE SECTION FROM A VIDEO TO BEST REPRESENT ROLLERBLADING TO AN OUTSIDER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Chris Haffey’s ‘Drip Drop.’
So many people make rollerblading look incredible, but to the untrained eye so many technical aspects of rollerblading go unnoticed. Spots, tricks, switch ups, spins, and things like illusions are in no way fully understood. To those with no knowledge of what we do, it’s almost impossible for them to comprehend the difficulty of each trick.
However, Chris Haffey’s Drip Drop section is undeniably amazing. Anyone watching would agree that rollerblading is incredible. Most of Haffey’s gaps look like he’s doing motocross because he’s literally flying through the air and every grind and wallride is laced on such a ridiculous spot! Even the tricks he doesn’t land just show what’s to come in the future of rollerblading.
WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO IN ROLLERBLADING? WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE SKATER – HAVE THEY ALWASY BEEN YOUR FAVORITE?
Most of the people I looked up to in the 90’s are done with rollerblading and doing other things now. Ryan Jacklone, Tim Ward, Erik Burke, Aaron Feinberg and Bryan Bell are a few names that stand out. These guys did everything they could to push rollerblading and made it look really fun. I just look up to anyone trying to push themselves and push rollerblading on the regular.
These days, there are so many diverse styles and types of rollerblading. I like watching different people roll at different times because everyone brings something original. I get juiced off watching so many different sections that I can’t pick one favorite rollerblader.
I HEARD A RUMOR THAT YOU DON’T COMPETE IN A LOT OF COMPS BECAUSE YOU’RE AFRAID TO LOSE… IS THAT TRUE?
No, that’s not true. I’ve competed in every competition I could since 1996 and enjoyed them all. I’ve always enjoyed competing. The energy that exists at a competition always makes you throw down and I love that!
When I lived in Guelph I was really close to Buffalo, Michigan, Toronto and Montreal. I attended all the annual events because I could easily drive to them. Since moving to Calgary I haven’t had the same opportunities to compete. Calgary is so far away from everywhere else, it’s in the middle of nowhere.
I’d be stoked to attend even one huge competition because I’m jealous every time I see the footage from them. I miss attending the Montreal Classic and the old Airborne Skatepark events, they were always a great time.
WHY DID YOU MAKE THE MOVE FROM TORONTO TO CALGARY?
Actually, I was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario. It’s a 50 minute drive west of Toronto and packed with awesome people, amazing skate spots and tons of bars.
After rollerblading southern Ontario for 13 years, I wanted to surround myself with new skate spots, different challenges and new job opportunities. I always wanted to move to Vancouver but my ride stopped in Calgary and that’s where I ended up staying.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT CALGARY?
My job and a few chill friends. I really look forward to living somewhere else to be honest with you.
OK, SO IF YOU HAD A FREE PLANE TICKET TO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD – AND YOU COULD TAKE 2 FRIENDS WITH YOU… WHERE WOULD YOU GO AND WHO WOULD YOU TAKE?
I’d take Megg Wright and Aaron Wheat because we’d make the trip awesome. I’ve always wanted to visit a number of countries in Europe, so that’s where I’d fly to.
I really enjoy experiencing different cultures and sightseeing, and Europe is perfect for that. There’s so much history there. I’d also like to skate a lot of the spots I’ve seen in different videos. I love to travel and Europe is definitely next on my list.
WHY DO YOU ROLLERBLADE? FUN? GIRLS? RECOGNITION? DO YOU THINK YOU’LL EVER FIND SOMETHING THAT CAN REPLACE ROLLERBLADING?
I just really enjoy rollerblading. Nothing else is like it. I got hooked back in the day because of the challenges and enjoyment it brought to my life. Now, fifteen years later I’m hooked for the same reasons and I enjoy it even more.
I love being on my skates and putting my creative thoughts into action. I get juiced off every new spot I find and I love the satisfaction associated with every trick.
HOW IS THE SCENE IN CANADA DEVELOPING? DO YOU THINK IT’S GROWING, AND HOW CAN IT BE IMPROVED EVEN MORE?
The scene in Canada is great. There are so many talented rollerbladers in each province and everyone knows everyone. People begin rollerblading each year and it’s slowly growing in popularity, but it’s still pretty small.
Canada would really benefit from more national events. With only a few large contests each year it’s tough to show people what we do and get new people involved. It’s crazy how many people don’t even know about what we do. The CAT Tour brought events across Canada from 1996-2000. At that time, so many people rolled in Canada.
More indoor parks would also help. Kids need places to roll in the winter. Most provinces lack indoor parks which makes it difficult for people to get into rollerblading. By the time a new rollerblader gets hooked, they have 5 months of snow ahead of them and nowhere to continue rolling.
Montreal has always had amazing indoor parks and I think it has had a huge impact on their rollerbladers. Two X-Games champions, an ASA Am champion and so many talented rollerbladers. If the rest of the country had similar indoor parks and could roll year round, I think more people would get into rollerblading and the scene would grow larger and stronger.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SKATING EVENT IN CANADA? WHAT ABOUT OUTSIDE OF CANADA? I DON’T SEE YOU ATTENTING A LOT OF EVENTS OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY…
The Montreal Classic is definitely my favourite. Montreal is the best! The park is incredible, everyone shows up, the after parties are awesome, and the rollerblading goes off.
Outside of Canada I’ve competed in Australia, Las Vegas, Michigan and New York. In 2003, I was backpacking Australia’s east coast and attended a comp in the surrounding suburbs of Sydney. That was such a fun event.
In 2000, I qualified to skate the ASA event in Vegas so I had the chance to go there for a weekend. Then the competitions in Michigan and New York were the annual Airborne and X-Wheels competitions.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE SKATE TRIP SO FAR? WHERE’D YOU GO AND WHY WAS IT SO GREAT?
One of my favourite skate trips would be the Ramp Update weekend, sponsored by IDFA clothing. It was a 7 hour drive through BC’s rocky mountains to spend a weekend skating a brand new mini ramp in Kelowna, B.C.
This ramp was perfect! Pvc sub box across the entire deck with a shed to stall on the opposite side. It was in my friend’s backyard next to the BBQ and swimming pool filled with ice, beer and liquor.
We spent the weekend rollerblading, hanging on the beach, BBQing, having a mini ramp competition, consuming cold drinks, floating down the Penticton river, hitting the bars, and getting stitches. It was a really chill weekend and I got to see friends from all over the west coast of Canada.
PEOPLE OFTEN SAY THAT SKATING IS THE WAY THEY EXPRESS THEMSELVES… IS THAT WHAT SKATING IS TO YOU? HOW ELSE DO YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF?
To some extent rolling is about that, but not totally. I skate because I love the feeling of having rollerblades on my feet. I prefer skates over shoes any day. Rollerblading has always distracted me from the negative aspects of life and keeps me balanced and happy.
I definitely express myself through rollerblading though. We all do. The tricks I do, spots I skate and clips I choose to capture express my thoughts and ideas while rolling.
Outside of rollerblading, teaching is another way I express myself. I really enjoy working with kids and developing their skills. I’m able to do whatever I want with my rollerblade program and I use this to express my own thoughts of how enjoyable I believe rollerblading can be.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW?
The most important thing in my life is being content. I just try to live a positive life and enjoy each day.
IF A DOCTOR TOLD YOU THAT YOU COULDN’T SKATE ANYMORE, HOW WOULD THAT EFFECT YOUR LIFE?
If I couldn’t roll, I’d have no hobby or job. I’d spend my time travelling, teaching in different countries, learning about other cultures, and seeing as many places as possible.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING NOW? WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM JOB?
I attended the University of Waterloo after high school and received an honours degree. After university I was back to rollerblading every day. I now teach rollerblading for a living in Calgary and teach Grades K -12.
My job is really rewarding and every day is great. I take my skates to work with me and play games for a living in my Xsjado skates. It’s pretty good for the time being. There’s nothing more rewarding than passing on your passion for something.
DO YOUR PARENTS SUPPORT YOUR ROLLERBLADING CAREER? WHAT ARE THEIR EXPECTATIONS LIKE?
My parents have always supported my rollerblading. They allowed the 25 foot p-rail in the basement when I was growing up. They let me have a mini ramp in the garage and parked their cars in the driveway so it would fit. They always went out of their way to help me out and I’ve always appreciated that. They’re awesome.
Their only expectation was that I finished high school. They just want me to be happy, healthy and enjoying life.
YOU’VE REACHED THE RIPE OLD AGE OF 28 AND YOU’RE STILL SKATING HARD… HOW MUCH LONGER CAN YOU KEEP THIS UP? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF DOWN THE ROAD?
To be honest, I’ve never felt better! My job allows me to stay in great shape and feel young. It’s like physio when I’m injured and I’m in the best shape of my life at the moment. I’ll continue rollerblading for as long as possible.
I’m not sure where I’ll be in a few years, hopefully Vancouver or Toronto. If I end up in another country that’s even better. I’d just like to be teaching in some type of setting and living somewhere new.
My only expectation for the future is to be happy.
DO YOU WANT TO HAVE A FAMILY SOME DAY?
For sure. But I don’t see that happening soon.
DO YOU STILL HAVE THE AMBITION TO REACH SOME NEW GOALS IN ROLLERBLADING?
I try to reach goals daily. I constantly try to improve my rollerblading and skate challenging spots. Every new trick I learn and every tough spot I skate is another goal accomplished.
COOL. ANY SHOUT-OUTS?
I’d like to thank a lot of people! My Family, Megg Wright, Leon Basin, The Conference, Xsjado, IDFA, Integrated Distribution, Alien Inline, Olli Nermerich, Quinn Feldman, everyone who has hosted my edits, and everyone that makes edits for me to watch. I’d also like to thank Be-Mag for this opportunity and their dedication to rollerblading for as long as I can remember.