March 2022

20 Pages
Broadsheet newsprint

Ryan Benner
Zachary Cummins
Eric Comeras
Layne Weatherford
Reed Huston
Tessa Del Castillo
Elliot Feltner

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Nothing is certain and everything is changing.

Hard to believe it’s been almost two years since I revisited Roll Zine with the issue of excerpts from the first nine issues. It was the beginning of the pandemic and, like many of us, I had some extra time on hand to devote attention to projects long since placed on the back burner. I wasn’t sure at the time if putting that issue together was a way to encapsulate the Roll Zine project with the proper send off it deserved, or if it was a start of making something new.

If anything I feel like the pandemic reconnected people to skating again and even started attracting new people to blading. I haven’t seen this kind of energy in the blading community in well over a decade.

The pandemic did really put a damper on sessioning with my usual crew (the Flavor Crew of Dayton/Cincinnati/Columbus) and halted any ideas of filming for a video in 2020. But heading into 2021, Ryan Benner announced he was wanting to make a full-length video again, and dedicate the whole year to filming it. I think we’d all fallen into the social media hustle of instant gratification and making short edits or posting clips within days of filming. It was nice to slow things down a little and save our best footage for what would become Great Value.

Throughout our sessions filming for the video I found myself shooting a lot of more photos thanks to the purchase of some new lighting equipment. As we began generating more and more content it became clear I might have enough material to make a new issue based around the skaters featured in Great Value. As the editing for the video neared completion at the start of this year, it gave me the necessary motivation to undertake organizing and designing this issue.

If the last issue was a reunion tour of the greatest hits, then this issue is a comeback album. And hopefully not a lousy one! I couldn’t pass up the coincidence that this is Ryan’s 10th video, the 10th issue of the zine, and 10 years since I’ve put out an issue with actual new content.

It was also great timing that Reed Huston started his own company, appropriately titled the Flavor Skate Company. He enlisted the help of Tessa Del Castillo and Elliot Feltner to help with design and artwork. It became obvious that the theme of this issue was community, and should feature the interconnected works of each member.

Being a completely local focus, it was easy to again start enlisting collaboration and contributions to the zine. Eric Comeras did a great job helping with the writing and interviews, as well as a color-coded Google Doc for tracking changes. Tessa was a huge help in lending a design eye and hand, especially in the Flavor Skate Company feature. For some reason I’ve never put a skate photo on the cover of Roll Zine, and I wasn’t about to start now. So it was super exciting to showcase Elliot’s fantastic artwork collaged into the typography as well as throughout the issue.

In his interview on the following pages, Ryan goes deep on his history of making videos, the friendships involved, and the long process of finally achieving your own vision for your skating as he describes his section for Great Value. As you read along (and hopefully watch the video) it becomes clear this vision was shared on some level for each skater profiled. Maybe it’s the common ground of being in our 30s and 40s and accepting our limitations as we age, though it actually refined our skating and pushed us into new directions. I got to give Ryan credit for realizing this potential not only in himself but as a filmer pushing us as well.

So as we find ourselves still in the midst of the pandemic I’ve quickly learned that nothing is certain, and everything is always changing — even our skating.

I also couldn’t be more excited about what is happening in rollerblading right now from the level of artistry and creativity both on and off skates. There really is something for everyone and if the pandemic has solidified anything for me it’s the value of relationships and shared values.

Rollerblading didn’t need saving, it just needed to be comfortable being itself.

– Brandon Ballog