Where are you from? Where do you live? Years skating? Age?
My name is Javier Rosa, but many people in the in-line scene call me Khali. I am a thirty-five year old skater from Barcelona and have been involved in inline skating since 1994, mostly doing aggressive. Now I work for Powerslide as a graphic designer and am still skating many disciplines.
What is your skating background?
I started aggressive skating twenty-three years ago and competed nationally for six years. About fifteen years ago I became bored of aggressive skating and started freeskating with a powerblade setup. Through freeskating I discovered that the whole city was one huge street plaza. Now twenty-three years later I do it all, aggressive, distance, downhill, freeskate and mountain blading. You you can see a feature from back in the day with me skating aggressive (named as kali) below.
How long have you been off-road skating?
I’ve been skating off-road for almost a year now. Six years ago I became interested in the BMX scene and was envious that they could ride so many different kinds of spots on different terrain. I started to fantasize about being able to do the same thing as them on off-road skates. This peeked my curiosity into SUV skates, but the people I asked about them told me the skates were crap! This did not stop by desire to try them out, so I talked with Kenneth Dedeu (brand manager for many Powerslide brands) and Víctor Cáceres (Powerslide distributor in Spain) about the different possibilities of skating the SUV skates. This past summer I had the opportunity to finally try a pair at a bike park and I fell in love with them!
What off-road set up are you currently skating?
I’m skating the Kaze SUV Tundra with some wheel modifications. The Kaze SUV Tundra comes with six 150mm tires by V-Mart. I happened to have four spare tires from a company called CST. The CST tires are about two millimeters smaller than the V-Mart ones. I use the V-Mart tires in the middle and the CST tires in the front and back, which creates a slightly rockered set-up. This has significantly helped with turning on such a long frame.
Did you ever skate the original off-road skates, the Rollerblade Coyote?
I tried out the Rollerblade Coyotes fifteen years ago at an aggressive inline competition. Rollerblade had a booth there with Coyote demo skates for people to try out. I tried skating them, but I didn’t like how heavy they were or how hard to manage they felt. The brake was painful to operate and not too effective. I’m sure if I tried them today I would have a completely different impression of them.
Have you skated both the 125 and the 150 off-road skates? If so what are the major differences between the two?
I jumped from a powerblading freeskate setup to the off-road 125mm skates and then to the off-road 150mm skates. Each setup is completely different from each other. It takes time to get used to skating SUV tires when transitioning over from skating regular inline skates. They are slow, have a lot of grip and a taller and longer wheel and frame base. The 150mm SUV skates are even less agile and heavier than the 125mm SUV skate. When skating they feel more like regular inline skates, which definitely makes up for the loss in stability and agility. With the 125mm wheels you can easily get stuck in soft dirt, sand and puddles. It took me several face plants to start paying more attention to the trail surfaces. The beauty of the 150mm wheels is that they are wider and larger so, they are less likely to get stuck in soft dirt, sand or mud. I recommend the 125mm wheels for dirt bike parks, packed dirt trails and all-around smooth surfaces. They are easier to do tricks in and don’t affect your style. The 150mm wheels are better for skating long distances. They do affect the way you skate and while you can do jumps and some other tricks in them, they are not the idea skates for doing this with.
What is the furthest distance you’ve skated with off-road skates?
Not too far, just around seven kilometers. It is quite exhausting on the 125mm setup. Here the 150mm wheels make a big difference.
What is the scariest thing you have skated with these skates?
The downhill in this video. I skated it with the Powerslide Metropolis SUV 125 skates. I skipped the big jumps and in some parts of the trail I had to walk instead of skate. It rained a few days before, making the soil very wet. I ended up sticking and face planting twice on this trail. I’d like to go back when it’s dry and skate it with my 150mm setup.
What terrain / conditions do you recommend not skating?
Don’t skate on wet or moist soil! Water is not a problem on paved paths, but on unpaved surfaces the wet soil can make your skates get stuck, which could lead to serious injury.
How is loose gravel? Mud? Shallow Water?
Loose gravel is ok, the grip is awful, but you can cope without too much effort. Mud is unpredictable, you can pass a puddle without any problems but eventually you will get stuck at any speed! I haven’t figured out yet when this could happen, so it is best to avoid any wet spots all together.
Do you recommend people to get into off-road skating? What should they know before they start?
Definitely! Off-road skating is similar to mountain biking, it offers you the possibility to enjoy skating in the wild, which is awesome, but also opens the door for dirt jumping, freeride, cross country and more. You should first consider what you want to do with them, then wisely choose the skate to do that with. Second, take time to get used to how they perform on braking, turning and jumping on different surfaces. Lastly, wear protection! Gloves and a helmet is a must, then you might add kneepads, glasses for the dirt, and so on. Long sleeve shirts and pants have also saved me from many scrapes.
What do you call this kind of skating?
Mountain blading… I was talking with Kenneth and Victor about this. Previously I was calling it mountain skating, but we all agreed that mountain blading was more likely to be liked by in-line skaters, and also, a bit more accurate.