Amanda Lee
photo + video + travel

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What I Know About Rollerbladers


I don't think it's any coincidence that all of the Rollerbladers I've ever met are funny, strong, smart and good hearted. Especially my husband. In fact, when I called him to fact check this info he asked me why I was even writing something like this. The truth is, the blading community is always supporting each other and I have to support in any way that I can. So here are a couple of things I've learned about bladers. 

 

Their friendships never die. 

Their friendships never die. I found this the most interesting. For me, if I don't see you regularly, it's a stretch to say we're friends. However, Bladers can go years without seeing a friend and when they meet up again, it's like no time has passed at all. This also goes for friends they've never actually met. Maybe it's someone who always watches their edits, or rides the same set up or someone who supports their overall endeavors.

They're generous with their support. 

It's the reason, Austin and I had a place to stay in Dubai with Sam. He skated years ago and he's still well involved in the skating community. When we were planning our trip to the UAE although I had never met Sam before and neither had Austin but Sam opened his home to us. Where else does that happen?

blading

Another example of this, Kazu Mori, skater from Japan, quit his job to fly to the US and do a cross-country tour of skate locations, people from all over offered him and his wife a place to stay. Skating has no bounds. Ray Mendez threw a little party that showcased Kazu's photography so that people could purchase prints to fund more of Kazu's trip. 

I've had the honor of catching the tail end of a couple of skate trips, once in Arizona and the other in Puerto Rico. I had countless laughs and I would always opt in to a trip with any of these guys. They're just fun to be around. In Arizona, I met Awall, a past skater but now full-time Photographer who let us crash at his place the night a winter storm completely canceled our flight home.

 Racing at F1 

Racing at F1 

People matter to them

The Puerto Rico trip is where I met Jon Ortiz he took us all over the island and introduced us to Abdiel Colberg who hosted a last minute barbecue for a bunch of people he hadn't met in person before. Jon Ortiz is still extremely active in blading and him and Ray Mendez have brought the sport to the youth through Go! Sports USA, they even converted Abdiel into a New Yorker this past year who has bringing a whole new flavor to the NY Skate scene. 

They are loyal

The blading community is small but loyal. They're genuinely good friends to eachother, offering rides to and from airports, helping eachother move, sporting each others clothing lines, investing in their businesses. Jon Julio formally of Valo had to cut ties and create a new brand. Throughout social media, handles that were tied to Valo previously changed their names and handles to support ThemSkates as soon as he announced the change. ThemSkates, that were never even tried on were sold out same day of pre-order release.

They have big hearts

When a friend dies, a bit of the community dies along with them. Swarms of skaters flock together for memorial sessions, create edits in their honor and even set up GoFundMe campaigns for their family.

keaton.jpg

                      Keaton 

GoFundMe

Overall, I'm happy to be a part of the community, even if it is just through extension. I'm lucky to have my husband Austin, his friends who have become my friends and the family that it is. Part of what gives them such a sense of camaraderie is the fact that this is a sport with no winning or losing, so you can enjoy it without too much competition. If I could leave you all with one last thought it's that you're all loved for the talent and life you bring to everyone. 

xx 

Amanda Lee