We’ve wondered for some time now why nobody has taken the normally sequinned world of ice skating and made it a little more rad. We’re not talking about the near decapitations of Blades of Glory here.
We mean board-sport influenced freestyle action. Misty Flips, Disasters, Hurricanes… Imaging a rink of icy kickers and frozen-in rails. Shit, half pipes are pretty much 22 feet of ice anyway, so why not stick on of them in there for good measure.
But wait! It looks as though somebody has already got there. Kind of…
Freestyle Ice Skating has been around for about twelve years now, starting from just a few friends messing around to being a slow-burn phenomenon that looks set to take the world by storm. Some are even talking about it making an appearance in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
You may be new to Freestyle Ice Skating, but there’s no need to be left behind. Just like any action sport, there’s a very specific set of tricks, and language used to name them. Here are the must-know moves*, and the right way to name them.
The Boon is where a skater rides one footed, swinging their free foot into the air, with the blade of the free boot arcing around in a semi-spherical motion.
The name ‘Boon’ is thought to derive from the haircut once enjoyed by British inde-pop keyboard player Clint Boon – as though the ark of the skate had cut somebody’s hair, giving the famous bowl-like appearance.
The Justice Grab
The staple of many a Freestyle Skate line, a Justice Grab is when a skater leans down with their favoured hand, and grabs the blade of their top boot.
Caution: This is not to be confused with a Tinder Grab, where the lower boot is grabbed. A Justice Grab with the right hand grabs the right boot. A left handed one would grab the right boot.
The Tinder grab sees the right hand grab the lower, left hand boot, or left hand grabbing the lower right boot.
The Turn-Away Bluto
A Turn-Away Bluto is similar to a regular 360 over an object, where the hand furthest from the spin is brought to head height in a Freddy Mercury style. Without the hand-raise, the move is just as a regular 360, and will result in judges actually penalising the skater for a lack of Bluto.
Named after legendary US Freestyle Paulo-Bruce Rasonclor, this is an old school flatland trick that’s not regularly used between hits to rack up style points rom judges.
Done correctly, it involves the skater riding backwards or ‘switch’ and weaving their legs in and out of each other.
The very best skaters are now dropping PBRs while incorporating rotations, leading the 180 and 360 PBRs and, what is quickly becoming the unicorn of the Freestyle Ice Skating world, the 540 PBR.
The Venereal Stall
One of Freestyle Ice Skating’s high risk moves, the Vernereal Stall calls for the skaters to lower themselves onto all fours, before transitioning onto their elbows, and wrapping one leg over the other.
When done correctly, the skater takes on an appearance not dissimilar to a crab, hence the ‘venereal’ reference in the name.
While difficult to get into, the Venereal Stall is incredibly hard to get out of without falling. As such, it’s often used at the end of a skater’s run, although it can be used mid-run and always scored big with the judges who reward the high risk.
The Chilltern Crailway
Not dissimilar to a ‘Boon’, a Chiltern Crailway is another one footed move, but that requires a lot more commitment to pull off. The skaters head has to touch the floor, which in turn raises the non-contact foot higher in the air.
Not only does this call for knife-edge balance, but a sustained Chiltern Crailway can lead to ice burn and, in extreme cases, brain freeze which, as any experienced Slush Puppy drinker will confirm, can be fatal.
The Kommunity Service
A move made famous by the controversial Kraków Clash Collective – the bad-boys of Freestyle Ice Skating – the Kommunity Service is a somewhat destructive move. It involves a skater traveling at speed leaping into the air and pointing their blades at their target.
The skater then clatters into their target, blades first like a footballer going in for a crunching two-footed tackle.
It was first performed by KCC founding member Bogdan ‘Thunder Dump’ Obłój during a 2011 comp. Judges marked him down for what they saw as a poorly executed Look-Away Bluto.
He clattered his skates into their marking table, leading to the new move being created, and the advent of judges now being in protected zones called Docks.
The Front Flip
Completely counter-intuitive, as this looks for all the world like a backflip, but in Freestyle Ice Skating, the rules are a little different. Taking the cue from the skijourning, the flip is called by the proximity of entrance to the rink.
If skates land facing the half of the rink where the entrance is, it’s a front flip. Pointing anywhere else, it’s a backflip.
This is a fundamental Freestyle Ice Skating move, and one that often trips blaggers up, so it’s important to know your flip orientation.
* A percentage of these moves may be fictional.