Ben Murphey of Be-Mag posted up an in-depth interview of Buffalo, NY’s Dan Barnes. See the full interview where Dan talks about the western New York scene and his thoughts on blading below.
NAME, AGE, LOCATION, SPONSORS, YEARS SKATING?
My name is Dan Barnes, I’m 23 years old from Buffalo, NY. Current sponsor is Razors and I’ve been skating for 13 years.
HOW’D YOU START SKATING IN THE FIRST PLACE? WHAT’S KEPT YOU SKATING?
I’m a product of the mid/late 90′s. All of my close friends started going to a local skatepark and they were constantly raving at how much fun it was so I decided to check it out. I grabbed my Bauer hockey skates, took the middle wheels out after doing my first step on soul… everything else is history! I went through a little phase where I BMX’ed and skateboarded and just didn’t get that hyped off of either. Then in 8th grade, Coup De Tat and Brain Fear Gone came out and it was there where I solely dedicated myself to rollerblading… more importantly street skating.
DESCRIBE THE SCENE WHERE YOU’RE AT. HOW DO YOU SKATE YEAR ROUND WITH ALL THE CRAZY WEATHER?
The scene in WNY (Western New York) is really a tight knit crew. Between Buffalo and Rochester we have a real solid group of skaters/friends who are always pushing each other, going on skating trips/make-shift tours, hanging out, getting into trouble… the normal stuff friends do. As with most scenes, it’s getting more difficult to get together on the reg and have large sessions due to the growing up and real-life responsibilities. But when we do, the sessions are full throttle and tons of fun. Year round skating is definitely an obstacle in WNY. The springs, summers and falls are priceless but the winters are very harsh. I try to get out with a shovel and street skate as much as possible in the winter but when it’s too cold or snowy we’ll hit up the local skatepark Xtreme-Wheels. It’s a unique park with an awesome owner who is always on board to support rollerblading so we try and revamp the park every year to give it a new feel.
WHAT’S YOUR APPROACH TO SKATING? ARE YOU A BIG COMP/PARK GUY OR MORE INTO STREET? HOW COME?
110% street. My approach to skating has always been about hitting the streets with your friends and skating obstacles that are absolutely not intended to be touched by rollerblades. Growing up my crew of friends and I lived for street skating. There was nothing better than going out in the sun/warmth or snow/cold and sessioning. Street skating gave us and blading an edge because we were at spots where we clearly weren’t supposed to be skating but didn’t have a care in the world. As I grew up with skating I always found myself appreciating street skating more for the the experiences you encounter, sights you see, unique spots, laughs… list can go on and on. Rollerblading was founded on the streets and I want to keep it that way.
HOW’D YOU GET PICKED UP BY RAZORS? THAT’S NO SMALL GIG; HOW’S IT BEEN?
I had skated Salomons for years to the point where I was scared to switch skates. Sounds lame but it’s the truth. I had skated Razors in the past and I loved them so I tried a pair on and was blown away at how confident I felt in them. They are an extremely functional skate. I then contacted Mac at Razors and asked If I could get hooked up and he said yeah and sent me out a pair of blades. I can honestly say it was been awesome and way more than what I was expecting. Always getting phone calls/emails about skates, comps or tours is great. Razors is definitely providing a solid team feeling and that is critical for a company to thrive. It’s all about making the team into a crew of friends so they can rep the product and image to the fullest. Razors is nailing this down and especially with what they have planned for 2010.
WHAT’S GOING RIGHT IN ROLLING RIGHT NOW? WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE?
There is a lot of positive in Rollerblading right now. Skater-owned companies are an absolute must for the long-term of rolling and it is good to see legendary skaters stepping up and taking control. Companies seem to be touring more which is crucial for the product and riders to get exposure and growth. You are starting to see many “OG’s” older skaters come back and I think this is extremely important and a very good sign for our culture. I think what needs to change for rollerblading is for the rebirth of organized street contests. The IMYTA was one of the most exciting events to be at and it represented rollerblading at its truest form. I think currently it would be good if all the companies worked together and developed a plan on how to organize/run/support these contests… then take that plan to cities/colleges and professionally presented the idea of having a contest on their property. There are certainly going to be many logistical hurdles to get through but with all companies working as one and with all the talent of the riders, we present a solid product. I can only envision rollerblading booming from this because we would work with the cities/schools and use them as an outlet to spread rollerblading to outsiders. Just an idea, but I would really like to see street contests come back.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AND ROLLING?
I just finished filming for a Razor’s podcast and it should be up online relatively soon. I’m going to be focusing all my attention this summer/fall filming for Game Theory and hopefully traveling a lot and skating new, unique spots. Aside from that I’m just gonna keep skating with my friends in Buffalo and Rochester.