Fritz Peitzner has been a staple in the Dallas and Texas aggressive skating communities for the past 19 years. Fritz has recently opened an inline skate shop serving the Dallas Metroplex. I talked to Fritz about the Dallas scene, traveling the world, rediscovering his love of skating through big wheel blading and the opening of Carriers Skate Shop.
How did you get interested in skating?
When I was 13-years-old and on my first day of seventh grade I met this kid, Scuba Steve, who is the person that got me into inline skating. I saw he was drawing a rollerblader on his notebook and I ended up becoming friends with him. We used to put trombone grease on the bottom of our shoes and grind on the lower part of bike racks He introduced me to a group of rollerbladers at my school and they were all really cool. They also told me about Soap shoes, so that year I ended up getting both Soap shoes and skates.
You grew up in Plano, where the legendary Eisenbergs Skatepark was located. How far was the park from your house?
I was pretty lucky; it was only about a ten-minute skate from my house. The first time I had heard about Eisenbergs, I had a friend describe it to me. In my head I had a whole different idea of what was actually going to be like, I pictured it being more of an Arena. When I finally went there I realized it was really a skatepark, like what I should have imagined. I fell in love with the park that first day I walked into it. I can still remember what it smelled like. After a year I started giving lessons there. I was there all the time. I was a super part rat.
How many rollerbladers used to skate at Eisenbergs back in those days?
The majority of the people at the skatepark back then were rollerbladers.
So what happened to them all?
Dallas at that time was made up of small crews and cliques of skaters. There was a lot of rivalry between the crews about who was better then who at skating. As members of these groups started fading away, the remaining members combined into a single group. This is basically what we have in Dallas today, one group of guys who never quit skating. The crew rivalry and how cliquish the scene was back then is what killed aggressive skating in Dallas.
Does anyone from your original crew still skate?
No, the people I still skate with are from the third group that I got into, which would be Troy Maimone, John Sullivan and Josh Navarifar.
What is Dalitude?
Dalitude! Oh my god. Dalitude, it’s the Dallas attitude, we are the best!
How often does Josh Glowicki make it back to Dallas?
He has been traveling the globe since 2011 and comes back to Dallas once or twice a year for a short amount of time. He is currently in town for four months, which is the longest amount of time he has been here in years.
Didn’t you used to travel with him in the beginning of his journeys?
We did nine months in Europe together and two years later we did seven months in South America. I love traveling and I love touring, it’s awesome but it gets to a point where I need a home and my own space to unwind and relax. The idea of traveling 2-3 months is really cool, but you are also really pushing it because a lot of times you are sleeping on couches, on floors or you don’t even have a place to sleep at all. Josh on the other hand embraced the vagabond lifestyle and absolutely loves it. He is a hippy, he spent two weeks just sleeping on a beach. I don’t know how he does it. But I also think that is why he is back in Dallas now and staying for a while. He is trying to get something more solid going with Blading Camp. This requires his own space to have an office and more importantly a solid Internet connection. If Blading Camp really takes off, I can see him coming back to Texas more often.
That means you guys can get some things done while he is in town.
It is awesome because it helps solidify what we are doing here in Dallas. Everyone here is now adults and have realized they need to help push our sport in the right direction. Josh with Blading Camp, myself with Carriers Shop, Jason Reyna with Them Texas (and before that Valo Texas), Troy Maimone has started a clothing brand called Verizon Hues and John Sullivan is documenting everything through photography and videos. It is an awesome time in Dallas and everyone is pulling together to make great things happen.
Did you take a break from skating in the past couple of years?
I wouldn’t say I took a break, but I did slow down. At my lowest point I was only skating two or three times a month. I was trying to get my life together. After each trip, when I came back to Dallas, I had to start over at zero. I was getting pressure from my parents and friends asking me what I was going to do with my life. Reaching my thirties and not even having a car was a scary thought.
How did you get into skating big wheel blades?
I started skating 9.5 miles on the trail at White Rock Lake in downtown Dallas. At first I skated it on my Razors with Ground Control BIG frames and 72mm wheels. I was doing the loop around the lake once or twice a week. It was fun in the beginning but it really started to suck after a while skating through one part of the trail that is in complete disrepair. Every time I skated on that portion of the trail my feet would shake and it was a very uncomfortable feeling. I thought to myself there has to be a better way to fitness skate then using my GC Bigs. At the same time I had never even thought about getting fitness skates, until a friend showed my the Flying Eagles tri-skates. I saw them and thought to myself, “Those wheels are huge! Those would be perfect for what I want to do!” So I hit up Ricardo Lino and I told him I was interested in fitness skating and wanted to know if he could help me out with getting a pair of skates. Two weeks later I had a pair of skates at my house. I didn’t even know he had sent them to me! I put them on and immediately felt exactly the same way I did when I first started aggressive skating. Like, THIS is so fun again! I put big wheel blading on the same level. I enjoy them both equally!
What made you want to start fitness skating?
At that time aggressive skating wasn’t doing it for me. I would still sometimes go on a street session or to the skatepark, but I didn’t have the drive anymore. At the same time I still wanted to skate and stay healthy. I don’t have anything else in life that I enjoy doing. I don’t like going to the gym, I do like riding my bike sometimes, but I really just wanted to be able to skate without having to go to the skatepark or busting my ass street skating. So that is why I started going to the lake. I really love the lake, skating around it is one of the most peaceful experiences.
What is the furthest you have skated so far?
The most I have skated so far is about 36 miles from Plano to downtown Dallas. I’ve done that skate three times now. It is a fun way to spend my time and explore the city.
Two years ago you rode your bicycle from Dallas to Austin, would you ever want to do that on skates?
I would love to do that, the only thing that would get in the way is road conditions. Some of the roads on my bike ride from Dallas to Austin were in very bad shape and would be difficult to skate on. Doing a long skate is something that sits in the back of my head. I have seen other people do crazy skates from coast to coast and in different countries and it looks so fun. If I could find a route with mostly decent roads I would love to dedicate a year to skating throughout the country.
Have you skated any marathons?
I skated a half marathon in Peru. It was my first one and it was right when I started getting into big wheel blading. I was on Facebook and came across a flyer for it. I just happened to have time off work and decided right then and there that I was going to compete in it. I showed up to the event with too much confidence and too much dalitude. Having skated 36 miles a few times in Dallas, I went there with the mindset that I would totally win this thing. I didn’t realize the level of competition involved in skating marathons. When I got to the race I noticed they were all in different groups and teams. There was team called Coyote, which was made of the really pro skaters. They all had massive thighs; they build their bodies up for this. Everyone there was stretching and doing warm-up exercises, while I went there with three hours of sleep and all this confidence. I was like, “Wow”, this is what this scene is like. It is a real big change from aggressive skating. All these people were professionals and I could tell that they did serious training for these races. Shortly after the race started both guys and girls were lapping me. One of the girls ended up winning the whole race. At one point I was getting so frustrated about getting lapped so much, I didn’t think I would end up finishing the race, but I did. I obviously didn’t win, but placed 18th out of 40 competitors.
Have you been aggressive skating more again?
Yes, I’ve been aggressive skating a lot more. Big wheel blading rekindled my love for skating and got me back into skating aggressive again. I feel like I have double the energy that I used to have since I’ve start big wheel blading. I can stand by that, it is no joke, it’s no promotional gimmick, it is for real. Some days I can go skate 10-15 miles and then head to the skatepark and skate all night. This might be a little bit biased, but I feel like at the park I end up skating a lot more then everybody else does. I’m not saying that I do better tricks, but I feel like I have more endurance and do not stop.
Has your approach to aggressive skating changed at all since skating on big wheel blades?
Yes, definitely! I’ve discovered that I REALLY love getting air. I’m not into grinding as much anymore, but I love trying to catch big airs, doing gaps and hitting wallrides. I see these types of tricks now in my mind, when I never saw them before. Before I only visualized grinding. Expanding the kinds of tricks I do has made skating a lot more fun for me.
Have you done any tricks on your big wheel blades?
I have just started playing with doing tricks, I did a pretty cool wall ride recently. When I first got my skates I tried this big 720 but didn’t land it. I was going so high and so far it was crazy! If you want to do urban skating and not grind, it’s still fun, you can do little gaps and you can do huge wall rides.
Have you tried to grind on your skates yet?
I tried to grind on some Powerslide Imperials and it’s hard, you have to get deep. It’s possible if you have some really flexible ankles, but I don’t have that. I don’t see how people grind on them, but doing gaps, wallrides, huge drop ins, or bombing hills is way more fun on these then doing it on some little Flintstone wheels.
Like that hill we bombed in Dallas?
Yes! I can go up and down that hill all day long. It is such a blast. So many skaters though would be like, “Oh we have to go back up that hill!” but you and I don’t think that way! We just think, “Oh shit we get to go back down that hill! Let’s go up it real quick”. That is what I love about these skates, they are so much fun that I don’t think about it as working out.
Are there any social skates in Dallas?
Yes, there is a group here called DFW Inline Skate Club and they have put together a pretty solid skate. They meet on Tuesday Nights, no matter what, even if it’s just one or two people, someone still shows up. We skate about 12 miles, half on the Katy trail and half on roads in downtown Dallas. The group is cool, they are not competitive, they don’t skate too fast, and everyone is just having a great time.
You’ve been giving skate lessons, how is that working out?
Instructing has picked up and I am now offering private and group lessons, as well as free lessons through the DFW Inline Skate Club. Giving free lessons is a great way to help grow skating in your city. It helps beginners become comfortable on their skates and motivates them to join a club or attend night skates in their city. If they learn the basics then hopefully you can keep them on their skates for years.
What are you teaching them to do?
Right now I’m teaching people the basics of stopping, turning and slowing down. I try to discourage people from doing the t-stop because it wears down their wheels. I also try to focus on teaching people how to take long strides. Most new skaters take fast, short strides that are uncomfortable and look awkward.
You’ve been spending a lot of time in Lima, Peru the past couple of years. Do you have family there?
No, just some really good friends, that feel like family. Going out there is how this whole thing with Carriers started. The last time I went to Peru I was only suppose to be there for one month. The day I was going to fly back to Dallas, everyone decided to go to Machu Picchu. They convinced me to stay and go to Machu Picchu with them.
That sounds exactly like what you would do!
Haha, yeah, usually I either stay or I get left. So I ended up going to Machu Picchu with them, which was an amazing experience. At the same time, my friend Carlos Lora, who does the distribution for Razors Skates and Flying Eagle Skates in Peru and also owns Xtreme Shop Peru, told me that if I stayed he’d help me survive for as long as I wanted to remain there. I barely knew him and he barely knew me, yet he gave me this opportunity and I took it. I ended up helping him promote skates, sell skates and worked in his shop. It was the best decision I could have made. The more I surrounded myself with him and his drive to making rollerblading grow, the more motivated I became to return home and do my own shop. Before this trip I was afraid I was going to come back empty handed again. Carlos encouraged me to start something. He told me the time was right for me because I had been promoting myself and had a following. So I decided to make t-shirts and they sold out which got me to my next step of starting my own skate shop.
What products do you currently have available?
I have various Powerslide and Flying Eagle products in stock. I currently have a
small inventory but I feel like I have some of the best products at the best price points. I can also easily special order any Powerslide or Flying Eagle products that I don’t have in stock. It’s good for me, and the buyer isn’t forced to buy skates I have in stock, they can choose from any skate available from Powerslide or Flying Eagle. Once things start picking up, I will have more brands available.
How has selling skates been going?
It was a slow start but this past month has really picked up for me. I’ve had several friends buy skates and have sold skates to several old skaters who quit years ago and decided to get back into blading. I have a website but have only sold one pair of skates through it so far! It’s funny because I started my website and made a business Facebook page for Carriers but what’s really helped the most is my personal Facebook page and word of mouth.
Are you working any other jobs to help supplement you while you get Carriers Shop off the ground?
Yes. I am cleaning houses and also work for Josh Glowicki’s brother doing garage floors. Working both these jobs, while starting a new business is making me feel overwhelmed. I am hoping that if the shop takes off I can quit the cleaning job.
Do you have any plans for a brick and mortar shop?
I talked to a couple of real estate agents and while there were plenty of great places available for a shop, they cost too much money to justify having a storefront. I started brainstorming on what options I had. I thought that I could possibly sell them out of my house, but who really wants to go to someone’s house to try on and maybe buy a pair of skates. I then had the idea of purchasing a vehicle to turn into a mobile skate shop. I ended up taking out a loan and buying a Honda Element that I covered in window stickers and created my mobile shop. It also doubles as a moving advertisement for me throughout the metroplex. When I go to the lake or trails, there are always people skating or walking around that will be able to try on and even buy skates if they want to.
I saw some a picture that you got your girlfriend a pair of the pink Powerslide skates. How is she enjoying being on blades?
Our very first date was inline skating. She hadn’t skated since she was a kid, but I had her put on a pair of Razors with some GC Big Frames on them. I then bought her some K2s with 125s, which she loved, and it only took her a day to get used to them. She also skates the lake trail with me and has done around 11 miles on it. The thing I enjoy the most is that it is quality time with your girlfriend. We not only get to skate together, but we have cool conversations while doing it. We also have our little spot now where we go to skate around in circles. After I posted photos of her with the skates on, I had a lot of aggressive skaters contact me about getting skates for their girlfriends. Most aggressive skaters get their girlfriends aggressive skates, which are heavy, usually too big and are anti-rocker or have small wheels. They are just not fun to skate around on and deter your girlfriend from ever wanting to skate again. If they get a nice pair of properly fitting fitness skates instead, then they will have a lot more fun and hopefully also fall in love with skating. I have skated for most of my life and it is still a pain in the ass for me to skate with my aggressive skates over bricks, cracks or poor surfaces. It’s just not fun.
Visit carriersshop.com to order and support Fritz and Carriers Shop.
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