Thursday, January 27, 2011
There is a time in every skater's life when she decides she wants new skates. Or in my case, another pair of new skates. But how to decide? I had already owned crappy entry level Labedas, crappy used Carreras, a nice, but somewhat boring pair of Wickeds, a custom (and ill fitting due to an orthotic measurement blunder on my part) pair of 965s mounted on Roll line plates, and a pair of stock 965s mounted on mediocre Triton plates. I wanted a custom boot and something.... different for my plate. So I started nerding out.
One lonely night as I was trolling various skate forums and skate shop articles, I came across an article discussing the benefits of 45 degree plates (vs. the more standard 10 or 15 degree) and another article on this page that covered short and forward mounting versus standard (stock plates). I, being me, was intrigued and immediately contacted the author of the articles, Geno Evil of www.leadjammerskates.com.
Geno is amazing. He coaches, skates merby, refs, and is well know throughout the derby world as a master skate builder, especially when it comes to short/forward mounting and the benefits of 45 degree angle plates. He answered all of my questions and walked me through all of my various plate options. I ended up going with a custom 126 boot (E/B last, no arch, white with black accents) and a Sure Grip XK 4 DA45 plate mounted short and forward.
You can see in my picture that I have no plate on the very back of my heel. It took me about a week to get used to the placement, but I immediately noticed an increase in my agility and (surprise!) endurance. Since there was less plate, my skates were lighter, and since all of the control was centered under the balls of my feet I was able to get more movement with less work. I tried my old skates on a few months after switching and could barely skate in them. I highly recommend this set up, especially since the plates are cheaper than most of the better Riedell plates and come with a lifetime guarantee (as opposed to Riedell's one year). The plates also have a boxed in toe stop (no more loose bolts!) so you can actually tighten the hole with an allen wrench, very high quality cushions (bushings) and come in 7mm or 8mm, so you have the option of not having to buy special lock nuts, tools and bearings (my main pet peeve with Roll Line plates).
As of right now, five other skaters have tried this plate, all but one went with a short/forward mount, and everyone is very happy. If you'd like to learn more, look up Geno and shoot him a message!