Skates brands are battling for the same coveted millennial audience with their own version of the rollerblade: rollerblades.
But with the rollerblading craze growing as the popularity of skateboarding continues to skyrocket, the skate brands are trying to make a point that the skaters they represent are no strangers to rollerbladed rollercoasters, not just the ones who ride them.
“We have to be the pioneers, and not just skateboarding’s original pioneers,” said Chris Bunn, president of the American skates brand Skates for Kids, which sells skateboards to children and teens.
“We’re the first to come up with the idea that we can bring a skateboard and a roller coaster together in a way that makes it fun for kids to do, but also makes it easy for adults to do it.”
Bunn said the idea for the skateboards came about after he heard his daughter play a game with her friends when they were young.
“I was like, ‘Hey, you know, we should make rollerbladers,’ ” he said.
“And my daughter was like ‘Mom, what’s this?'”
He said the two had been playing the game “for like a month” before finally coming up with it, and they were inspired by the idea.
“It was a game about being the first one to skate,” Bunn said.
He said he had no idea at the time that his daughter would become one of the most famous skateboarders in the world.
“The rollerblade was one of our first ideas, and I think she thought we had a cool idea,” he said, referring to the roller derby style of skateboarding.
“I thought it was so cool, but we didn’t know how it would work.”
The rollerblader style is a way for skaters to ride with other skaters and other people at the same time, and Bunn was quick to note that the skateboarding craze has a lot of parallels to roller skating.
“When I was growing up in the ’80s, it was all about the roller skating,” he recalled.
“Then, in the 1990s, you had a lot more rollerbladers, and it was a lot different.”
Bunny’s first foray into roller skating was a roller derby.
“My dad was a big roller derby fan, so when I was really little, I wanted to skate, too,” he explained.
He did eventually become a rollerblade skater, though he only played for about a year.
He is not the first American skater to be involved with the skateboard craze, but he said he has more to offer than just his skateboarding skills.
Bunn is a big advocate of the skate industry and believes that skateboarding has become an industry that can provide affordable and fun skating options to people.
“There are kids who are at the beginning of their careers and who don’t have the means to afford to do rollerblade, or they don’t want to have to buy an expensive skateboard, or whatever,” he noted.
“So there’s so many kids out there that have nothing to skate to, and there’s people like us who can do it.”
But skateboarding, for me, is really the beginning.
I’m not just a skateboarding guy.
I want to create the next wave of skate culture, and the next generation of skate riders,” he added.”
The skateboarding industry is still in its infancy.
The way skateboarding is designed right now is not designed for the 21st century.
“Skateboards and rollerbladeshikes.
“A lot of the old skate brands, for example, are getting old. “
This is my fourth year with the company, and we’ve seen a lot change in the last two years,” he admitted.
“A lot of the old skate brands, for example, are getting old.
And it’s been a good time for us because we’ve got some new brands that are taking off.”
Bun said he is looking forward to seeing what the industry looks like in five to 10 years.
“Hopefully we can see a lot greater diversity, and a lot higher participation and more brands coming into skateboarding,” he predicted.
“It’s not just about one skateboard or one brand,” he continued.
“If we can come together and build the skate business as a whole, then we’ll have a whole new wave of skaters.”
Skates for kids has been selling its skateboards for over a year now, and although Bunn does not know exactly how many skaters are actually skating with them, he said they are in the thousands.
“To get into a million skateboard sales a year, it’s pretty amazing,” he remarked.
He added that his company is currently selling about 300 skates a day and