wetware: Naomi Grigg - champion inline-skater

Looking through things that had appeared in Radar mag a while back we came across this nice interview with a champion inline skater that had not appeared in Mstation as well. Naomi Grigg had won a slalom championship in Paris a few months before and was the first English female to win a title overseas. Nowadays, she's a travelling pro who runs her own clinics - check out some of the videos on her video page. Read on and drink in the enthusiasm.

How did you get started in inline skating?

I was a bored 15 year old! During the school holidays I ended up visiting the local ice rink in Swindon. I loved the gliding sensation so much that when I moved away, I continued skating off ice.

Being a Slalom champ must take some practice. How long have you been inline-skating and how much time do you spend on it per week?

I've been skating for about 10 years now, including 8 on inlines. The amount that I skate has varied considerably over the years, and I've been known to hang them up for 6 months, but now I skate more than ever and this summer I was skating every day and between 20 and 40 hours each week. During the run up to the French Cup I had such an insatiable hunger for skating and learning that it was all I could think about and even found myself bouncing out of bed an hour early in the morning to go skating!

interview continues below

Was there a particular thing or event that got you started in comps?

Vincent Vu Van Kha, one of the French slalom champions who are working to develop the sport in Europe kept inviting us in the UK to join in the competitions within Europe. We had never entered before and viewed them as way out of our league so kept ignoring him, until one day myself and another UK slalomer, Steve Runyard decided to enter for a laugh, both expecting to come last.

I practiced non-stop for two months, entered the French Cup, and became addicted to meeting and sharing the skating of the other European skaters.

What do you like best about skating?

This is a very hard question to answer! Here are a few:

The gliding sensation - it has been described as the nearest you can get to flying without leaving the ground. Really, the feeling is amazing as you cruise through streets, on and off the roads.

The feeling of accomplishment as I progress a trick is truly addictive.

The adrenaline release from near misses with traffic and pedestrians when racing through the streets, but I shouldn't really confess to that

The meditative release of all types of skating - when I put on my skates, all thinking, other than about what I am doing, becomes unconscious. My mind becomes clearer and calmer.

Actually, scrub all that .. it's the guys.

Where is your favourite spot in London? Away from London?

In London, it is without a doubt a place nicknamed "The Beach". It is at the west end of Serpentine Road in Hyde Park, and is where most of the non-aggressive skaters hang out and learn.

(John: Aggressive skating, as you will know is a type of skating .. don't know if it needs elaborating or not for readers .. they may think I mean skaters with baseball bats?? Ed: heh heh, Yikes! ... to elaborate - aggressive skating involves skates with smaller wheels and cutouts for sliding on banisters etc. Aggressive skaters can usually be found around ramps, staircases and such.)

Away from London, when I find somewhere I prefer to The Beach, I may well move there, but in the meantime it would be Les Invalides in Paris. Some of the best skaters in the world skate there and being there reminds me how much I still have to learn!

Has your win in Paris made any difference to your life?

Yes! A huge amount. It has opened up so many new opportunities, and most notably encouraged me to see how far I can take my skating. I ended up travelling abroad for half of the weekends this summer for various opportunities .. its been like a childhood fantasy for me, if a little expensive....

Having spent the summer competing in freestyle I am now working on aggressive skating again - an area where I have so much more to learn.

Thanks a lot Naomi

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