Fancy Italian Footwear, Part I

When I had originally started this blog, I was intending to mostly post about my adventures in sewing, with occasional updates and news posts about the goings on of the artistic skating world, and a few book reviews.  I had not planned on detailing my daily or weekly triumphs and tribulations at the rink.  Honestly there are many more exciting blogs about adults starting to skate, or parents trying to understand the sport their kid is participating in, or people discussing rink life and culture.  I really don’t think people care if I practiced brackets today or how many times I did that awful counter on the Pacifica Foxtrot (seven, by the way).  However, in my personal skating life, it is the start of a new era, as there has been a mass exodus and major change of location for a large chunk of our former skating club.  We recently had a meeting.  It was good.  Everyone was in high spirits and people were really happy.  This past year has been very draining on everyone, and it has been a long time since anyone has felt really comfortable at the rink.  And, despite the new location, most of those present were from our former club, so it really felt like home.  This past year has been one of discouragement, disappointment, lies, and just plain ol’ shit.  Today, for the first time in a long time, things felt like they could be good again.  This change has been a long time in coming, and I am really hoping things are going to work out.

In any case, in addition to changing rinks, I will also be changing part of my skating equipment this year.  I have skated on the Atlas brand plates almost since I began skating, but lately the Roll Line brand has really been taking hold of the artistic skate market.  With Atlas trying all sorts of new things on their line of plates, and parts not being interchangeable between models, I have had some issues acquiring parts this past year.  So I have been thinking about this switch for over a while, and it just felt like the right time to make the investment.  What with the recent economic craziness, I guess I was right.  I can only imagine the prices going up from here.  Both companies are based in Italy, and manufacture their goods there.  The Roll Line plates are truly works of art though.  The craftsmanship is just lovely.  Now I only hope the skate as pretty as they look.

So I, of course, must show off the goods…

Roll Line Ring – My new figure/loop plate.
Roll Line Novita/Dance – My new dance plate.
I have been doing this too long to expect new equipment to make me into a new, fabulous, amazing skater.  However, I am hoping it will help with some of the more tricky, difficult maneuvers and deep curves I have been trying to skate in recent years.  Pretty much all the things I have heard about these plates have been good, so I am really hoping the results will be worth the cost of the upgrade.  I do expect a bit of a transition phase, and I plan to document my skate trials and tribulations here.  Sorry to those readers who are here for the sewing.  I will be doing sewing posts as well though, so hopefully it won’t get too boring.
I want to apologize in advance, though, because I expect to be doing a lot of cushion combo posts.
Extra cushions!
The cushions are the rubber (or urethane) bits that go into the plate and allow it to curve and create edges.  Different compounds have different levels of softness or hardness, which allow the skate to curve more or less.  Height and weight of the skater and intended purpose of the skate determine which cushions are best for the job.  In addition, rubber and urethane can have different feels, and different hardnesses can be mixed and matched to get a very tailor-made skate.  Since I have only really skated on Atlas, I don’t have any idea which cushions or cushion combos would be best for my new Roll Lines.  Luckily, I was able to get a lot of different types at the national meet, so I will have a lot to play around with.
Of course, that will have to wait until after the plates are mounted on my boots, which should hopefully happen in the next few days.
In any case, at the end of al of this, I hope to have a detailed Roll Line vs. Atlas, rubber vs. urethane, cushion combo post and a better feel and understanding of the two different lines of skates.  I hope these posts won’t be too dreadfully boring.

EDIT:  Update as of 11pm.  They are done!  This guy works fast.  In any case, the experimentation should commence tomorrow.

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