How Do I Determine a Skater's Age?
Use the skater's age as of January 1, 2015. For the Southern California Area League (SCAL), our
year begins Sept 1, as it always has in the past. For USARS, the year begins Jan 1. SCAL has no plans to change when the year begins. Therefore, for all SCAL contests, the skaters "Age" is the same from Sept 1 through Aug 31.
What Footwork is allowed in the local contests?
See the Freestyle Draw on the home page. The rule is that for the first freestyle contest, you may use last year's footwork or this year's footwork. In subsequent contests, you must use this year's footwork (ie, the footwork which is required at Regionals and Nationals).
What is the best way to start learning how to skate?
Check your rink for group classes. Most rinks offer group lessons on Saturday mornings, and they usually include the session afterwards as well.
What kind of protectors should I buy?
Knee and wrist guards are your best bet if you want to buy protectors. Get them at a sporting goods store, such as Big 5. This is especially important if you are an adult just starting to learn to skate. There are many more kinds available on the internet.
What Kind of Skates Should I buy?
Consult your coach. Your coach is an expert on skates. Buy your skates at your rink. If you want to shop at Big 5, don't buy skates there.
What is a Plate vs a Boot?
The plate is the part of the skate mounted just below the boot. Each quad plate has two Trucks. Each truck holds 2 wheels. The boot holds the foot, and on competitive skates, you purchase the Boot separately from the Plate.
What is a Truck?
A truck holds 2 wheels onto the plate. The King Pin holds the truck onto the plate using 2 cushions.
What are Cushions?
Cushions are the pair of shock absorbers on the bottom of your skates. They come in different hardnesses. Lighter skaters require the softest cushions, but if your skater has damaged a cushion, you probably should use a harder one. Cushions should be replaced about every 2 years. Otherwise, they will become compressed (change shape) or loose their elasticity.
How to Adjust Cushions?
A light skater, such as a child, needs a very loose action. Grab the two front wheels and try to rock them left and right. For a child, it should be easy to do this. For a 200 pound adult, it should be quite difficult. The heavier a skater is, the tighter the action must be. Repeat the process for all 4 trucks.
An exception is Figures. For Figures, the action should be even tighter, and for Loops, even looser. You can tighten the cushions using the nut or nuts on the King Pin.
How good are my bearings?
Roll each wheel. The longer the wheel turns, the better. You can give the bearings a grade as follows:
A - 30 seconds
B - 15 seconds
C - 5 seconds
D - 1 second
F - 0 seconds
Naturally, the longer the wheel rolls, the better. You should replace "D" and "F" bearings as soon as possible. For Figures, bearings are extremely important. For figures, consider buying "microbearings" to get the best possible performance.
How often should I oil my bearings?
Every 2 months. Use three drops of oil per bearing. Quad skates have 16 bearings - 2 per wheel. Make sure you oil all 16.
What happens if bearings run out of oil?
The bearings could sieze up. The skater will feel a vibration when skating fast. If you touch the nut, it may be hot. The wheel will barely turn. Once this happens, the bearing must be replaced.
The bearing might also continue to turn, but get so hot that it attaches to the axle. In this case, you might have to use a hammer to remove your wheel.
How often should I clean my bearings?
Every 6 months. Here is my favorite procedure.
My wheels are stuck on my axle. How to remove them?
This can happen if the axle is bent, or if the bearing overheated, or if there is a burr on the axle. If the axle is bent, you must straigten it. If still stuck, use a hammer to remove the wheels. Note: this will probably destroy the bearings, but they are probably already shot.
What are Spacers?
Spacers are a metal piece like a washer. They protect the bearings. Without spacers, you might ruin your bearings when tightening the nut too tight. With spacers, the bearings are protected from this damage.
Freestyle skating especially puts a lot of stress on bearings. Spacers can extend the life of your bearings by many years.
All Roll-Line wheels use the same exact spacer. For other wheels, make sure to buy the correct spacer, as the size of the spacer is critical. Contact the wheel manufacturer to get the right spacers.
What is a King Pin?
The King Pin holds the truck onto the inside of the plate. Modern King Pins use two cushions: one on top of the truck and one below. The King Pin can break if the Pivot Pin is not properly adjusted.
What is a Pivot Pin?
The Pivot Pin connects the truck to the outside of the plate. On rentals and cheaper plates, the Pivot Pin is not adjustable. On better plates, they are adjustable.
An adjustable Pivot Pin has a big Retaining Nut, and a little pin with 2 flat spots so you can use a wrench. The Retaining Nut should be tight to prevent the Pivot Pin from adjusting itself.
What is a Nylon Cup?
The Nylon Cup goes into a hole in the plate. The Pivot Pin is supposed to go into the cup. Nylon Cups should last for many years. If yours are wearing out, it's probably because the Pivot Pins need adjustment.
How to adjust a Pivot Pin?
The Pivot Pin should exactly touch the bottom of the Nylon Cup. It should not be loose. Rock the truck left and right. If you hear a "tap-tap" sound, the Pivot Pin is too far out from the cup. Also, you can rock the truck up and down to check the adjustment of the Pivot Pin.
To adjust the Pivot Pin, first loosen the Retaining Nut with a "big wrench". Then, use the "little wrench" to turn the Pivot Pin until it just touches the bottom of the Nylon Cup. Then, holding the Pivot Pin with the Little Wrench (so it doesn't rotate), tighthen the Retaining Nut with the "big wrench".
Why is the Pivot Pin adjustment important?
1. An incorrectly adjusted Pivot Pin can cause vibration when skating (it may feel "squirrely").
2. It also makes landing jumps difficult - and results in more falls. If you see a lot of falls, check the Pivot Pins.
3. You could break your King Pin. This is common in freestyle, but it can also happen just if you skate fast and hit a little bump. Every landing or bump puts all the stress on the King Pin, and with enough stress, the King Pin will break. This is the most common way to break a King Pin.
4. You could destroy your Nylon Cups. The tap-tap of the Pivot Pin will damage, and eventually destroy your Nylon Cups.
You can adjust a Pivot Pin at any time. However, be cautious about replacing Nylon Cups. To replace the cups, you must completely disassemble the trucks. Then, you will have a different cushion adjustment. That cushion adjustment could throw off the skater. It's better to adjust the Pivot Pins temporarily to be "metal to metal" for a few days until the competition is over, and then replace the cups.
What is a Flat?
Wheels should be round. Any flat spot is called a Flat. Some flats are worse than others. To avoid flats, use your toe stops to stop - and avoid T-Stops.
What kind of wheels should I use?
Ideally, you want 2 sets of wheels, with bearings, so you can quickly adapt your skates to different skating floors. Some skaters have even more than 2 sets. Some floors are more slippery than others. Some skaters will even use a mixture of wheels for freestyle, with certain "spinning wheels". Also, in Figures, there are "pushing wheels". The placement of these wheels should be determined with the help of your vendor and your coach.