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Skate Love Chat with Mo Sanders

by Mel Blackwood @roller_girl_gang



Hiya! It’s Mel from Roller Girl Gang here. Roller Girl Gang is based in Leeds, UK. We have a pro shop, offering a carefully curated choice of roller skates and accessories, (including tricky-to-get products this side of the Atlantic) as well as run events and classes.


I’m also the Skate Love team member who has been liaising with the amazing masterclass and workshop teachers all heading to Skate Love BCN.


Ahead of the festival, I’ve been able to catch up with some of them.



Mo Sanders

Meet Mo Sanders aka Quadzilla. Mo owns Good Foot Skates in Dallas, Texas and is the creator of Von Merlin roller skate products.



Enjoy Mo's story!



 

Mo's tip for enjoying Skate Love BCN:


Yeah, for Skate Love, my number one tip is PACE YOURSELF.

You will want to do all the things, all day long. You will get so burnt out, and you won’t have any gas for the remaining of the days. So take it in, observe what’s going on, and then take little bits of this and that. Take some time off and allow yourself to recharge.



 

Video Interview



Our Skate Love chat happened over Zoom, so I apologise for any inconsistency in sound or video quality. Everyone is busy in the run up to the festival, and I'm glad we were able to co-ordinate time zones!



Video Transcript


Mel: Hi Mo, thanks for joining me today! I’m sat in my car, in rainy England.


Mo: It was actually raining in Texas yesterday!


Well, we need the rain, as we have had a heatwave recently.


Well it was actually triple digits here for the past month and a half!


Oh no! We are not built for that [in England]!

Anyhoo, I am chatting with the teachers ahead of the festival. As part of my role as ‘Teacher Co-ordinator’ this year, I thought it would be really cool to catch up with everyone, as we are now just over a month out until the festival!

Just in case folks don’t know you, please introduce yourself.


Hi, my name is Mo Sanders aka Quadzilla. I’m from Washington, just south of Seattle, but I currently live in Dallas, Texas.


Thanks Mo, I feel I know some stuff about you, as I’ve been following you quite a while, met you in person a few times and learned a tonne of stuff from you.

I’d like to know what made you start roller skating, and how long have you been skating?


I’ve been skating now for 46 years!

(Wow)

What made me start - it was just a family thing in the North west. My dad was a bigtime skater. My mom skated a bit. Where we grew up, it was just the thing you did. In the Northwest it was kind of overcast, and rainy, so it’s what you did. Family and friends would be there, at the skating rink. That’s what started the whole thing.

You do all the skating right?

Yes, all the skating, dance, rink, aggressive speed skating, skate park, ramps, downhill speed, short track ice…

I don’t even know what some of those types of skating are! Down hill speed?

Yeah, you just go down hill really fast!

What a history, and no wonder you are such a skilled skater.



Just thinking about Skate love coming up, what is your experience with big events?


I’ve been to skate parties, they go 3, 4, 5 days long. You have a day party, then you have night skating which goes anywhere from 10 o’clock to 4 in the morning; 11 o’clock to 5 in the morning. Everyone comes from all over the US and even outside the US. It’s a really big gathering together.

When you skate in the United States, geographically, everyone has their own style, so it’s a kind of meeting of the styles. If you come from Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Baltimore, Detroit, California, New York, New Jersey, you’ll have your own specific style of skating. When you go to the skate parties, you get to see everyone’s styles and you see what they bring to the table. What’s different from the way you do it.

That’s amazing!

Yeah it’s really good.

I need to plan it next year

The East coast is close, so just go up and down the East coast.


So what are you teaching this year at Skate Love?


This year, I am teaching ‘Edges Pivots and Spins’.

In previous years, I used to teach a little bit of everything. A little bit of group skating and individual stuff. But now there is so much going on in the general workshops with the general skating. I always see elements of things that people need to learn, fundamental things that will help people get to the next level or get those other moves down. That’s why I decided to start teaching this type of session. The little staples people can always use to just be better skaters rather than specific dance moves and tricks. Edging teaches you to hold the inside and outside edge. How to hold your spin for longer. How to turn and move your wheels and get around backwards easier, and forwards easier. How to move side to side laterally, without falling on your face. That’s what I taught last year, and I’m continuing this year. People ask me a lot [how do you do that move]. It’s not something people can learn when they’re in the music and in the groove. They say I just want to do stuff!

Or try and keep up!

So I just want to take the time to break it down for you out of the rink setting, so you can go out there and be mechanically sound.

That sounds like it will be a great masterclass!

I’m sure it will really help people with their technique.



Let’s think about the people going for the first time this year, as although we had Skate love last year, lots of people felt uncertainty about traveling, so maybe didn’t go. We saw a huge increase in numbers of skaters worldwide in 2020 too, and there may be a lot of people going this year, for whom it is their very first big skate event. Do you have any tips or advice for them?


Yeah, for Skate Love, my number one tip is PACE YOURSELF.

You will want to do all the things, all day long. You will get so burnt out, and you won’t have any gas for the remaining of the days. So take it in, observe what’s going on, and then take little bits of this and that. Take some time off and allow yourself to recharge.

Because the adrenaline is going to be running. Super pumped! You get around all these international skaters!. You see all this stuff! It’s like running into the toy store in the middle of Christmas! Your brain goes “Oh my gosh look at all the stuff!” The same kind of thing happens when people get there. You see all these people and all the different styles. You just want to go constantly, constantly. Sit back and take a look at things.

Think “Oh cool I’m going to go there for a little while.”

Take a break, actually eat some food, THEN get back in there, because you will get caught up otherwise. You will just go and go and go. And at the end of the day your legs will be dead. You will be back at the hotel and go “OMG what did I just do?” And your feet will be shredded because you haven’t stopped.


Most skaters out there, especially newer skaters, will be used for 2-3 hours at a time, maybe 4-5 hours max. For most average skaters.

So if you’re out there when we’re out there:

  • If you are out there first thing, you skate to the event,

  • then skate at the event for 8-9 hours,

  • then head to the beach and skate for another 4-5 hours, until midnight

  • then skate back to the hotel.

It takes it’s toll!


Pick and choose what you do, and have a little break to soak it in.


That is a fantastic tip, and one that I will also be heeding this year!

Thank you Mo, I will definitely get this information out to people as they need to know all these nuggets and gems right here.

Thank you for joining me and take care!


Cheers!


 

Join me for more Skate Love chat as I catch up with some of the other teachers before the festival. #excited!


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