Like a Kazuyoshi Miura or Teddy Sheringham in football (that’s soccer for you Americans), Craig Parsons might be the oldest blader to receive a pro product. Be-Mag asked him to talk a bit about his routine and motivation.
Words: Josip Jagić
Photography: Colin Batu
So, I have a few friends in their late thirties that still skate. How do you cope with it physically, and how do you cope mentally? Can you skate with younger kids or do they annoy you? I’m asking cause sometimes, when there are teen kids at a session with us, it just seems we can’t even connect on the basic level, talking just about blading.
Physically usually everyday after I get out of work I go to the gym and do strength training with free weights and full body workouts. I usually try to mix it up everyday and work a different part of the body everyday so I have time to heal each day. I usually skate on Wednesday so that’s my day off in the week to rest from the gym.
I love to skate both street and park and I have no limits. Usually when we skate out here in Ohio everyone is all mostly 18 years old and up. When I skate I don’t let my age of 42 get in the way I feel like I fit in everywhere I go because I don’t skate like an old dude I do all new school tricks and love to spin. No one ever says anything about my age because I give the glow through my skating of a younger persons ability and not as an older guy. I am usually the guy that is teaching the others about tricks and industry news to keep people updated on what’s going on. I have a very strong young soul!
You mix chemicals, what exactly does that mean?
I work from 6AM til 2:30PM everyday. I take different percentages of chemicals mostly all flammable and make different blends for different companies. I also fill a lot of bulk chemicals from different companies into selected drums and totes to resale. My job mostly consists of chemical material handling. I’ve been with my job this year for 20 years and enjoy my career, it’s very challenging!
You recently got your first pro wheel from Zeus wheels, what can you tell us about that? Zeus seems to find fairly unknown or less known skaters and give them pro wheels, it’s an interesting business model when even the bigger companies like Dead don’t produce pro wheels?
Recently my sponsor Zeus wheels put my name on the new 59 wheel which is amazing. I’ve always dreamed of getting my name endorsed on a skate product. This dream has now been filled and I owe it all to Emilio Barillas, who is an amazing guy that really knows the industry well and loves skating. Emilio has put together an amazing team and I am very grateful to be part of an amazing company and family!
I’ve seen quite a few of your edits and it’s really nice to see you skating so well at your age. What do you think is the reason most former pros, that are relatively close to your age, don’t really blade at all anymore? I am sure blading at such a high level demands a lot of effort, but it’s interesting to see older skateboarders, in their 40s and 50s, still ride park or even have pro contracts. In your opinion, does blading take a bigger toll on the body than skateboarding?
I think the reason I am still able to skate at a high level is mostly because I exercise and stretch and try to eat right when I can. I pretty much started skating when I was 22 years old and this was when everyone else was getting out of blading. I’ve always enjoyed roller skating and was always very good at it I think I just took it to the next level by going to aggressive skating. I think rollerblading and skateboarding are both very hard sports, but I find rollerblading is a lot harder because the person doing it is strapped in and when you miss a trick you go down and that is where the toughness comes in. Don’t get me wrong, skateboarding is also very hard, but at least if you skateboard and miss a trick you can run away from the board when you bail. Rollerbladers have to learn to fall and prepare their bodies for the aftermath when missing a trick. I tell everyone that falling in our sport is an art because you have to learn to fall with ease and make it look like you didn’t fall and it didn’t hurt!
You say that you have been blading for almost two decades now. You started relatively late and were a formed person even back then. Looking back, what drew you into blading, and what do you think is missing now to bring in bigger numbers? There was recently an article about falling sales numbers in skateboarding, due to the newest generations’ lack of ability to focus on a single activity that demands so much time to master. As the same can be said about rollerblading, do you think this could be a part of the problem?
What got me into rollerblading was watching the x-games I believe it was one of the first ones to air with Chris Edwards doing a frontside on a kinked rail and, Arlo doing a soul grind on this real long down ledge. After seeing that I knew that was what I wanted to do . It was amazing and I knew that was gonna be next level for me to take from my roller skating days.
I think to get blading more popular we need more people to reach out like Jimmy Hake and Jaren Grob do with their around the world extreme shows! By them doing these shows they capture the audience of a younger crowd and get the younger generation interested in our sport. We need to get the youngsters interested in our sport and through these shows our sport is more noticed and appreciated.
When I first started rollerblading I started to visit this lil skatepark called roller world which was a hockey rink by day and a roll out the skatepark from the closet at night . They didn’t really have that much to learn to grind on but we managed . That was when I first met Andy Benish he was amazing and was riding Roces which I had never ever heard of or seen before. I was rolling on a pair of Rollerblade Zetra Blades that had three wheels. He showed me how to grind by taking out the middle wheel and then the rest was history. After I figured out how to slide a pvc rail I was hooked. I then went out and purchased my first pair of Chris Edwards tarmac skates. I started to get pretty good and started to get a lot of friends. When I first started I would skate with Ron Copeland, Nik Horvath… We then started to compete in different contests around Ohio area that’s where we met Omar Wysong and Tri Rudolph and Aaron Pinky Entsminger and would start seeing them more and more often at contests. I don’t really see these guys anymore but they do come out and roll on occasion. I usually roll with my dudes from Ohio roll with the likes of Jimmy Spetz, Jose Alexis, Colin Batu, Dan Ruyf, Nik Horvath and Bradley Wilson’s crew from Columbus.
I want to thank Be-mag for this awesome interview and all my sponsors Zeuswheels for keeping me rolling ,Kato Mateu for always hooking me up with Remz skates for the last 7years, Firstandlexington for there awesome limited edition clothing, and a big shot out to Chenga World Skatepark for always being there for me , also a huge shot out to my beautiful wife and my two beautiful kids Bella and Jett who you will see skating soon! Age is just a number, passion is from the heart!