KRD jammer Smushella deVil is known in the roller derby world for her smooth moves on the track, however you might not be as familiar with her freestyle skate stylings. We’d like to change that! Smush is an avid aggressive quad skater, who frequents the Houghton Skatepark and other local sites in an effort to continuously improve her form and perfect some pretty impressive tricks. Here’s an interview where she tells us more about her love of skate.
Photo by Brockit Photography
How did you get started with park/aggressive skating?
I was introduced to the idea during construction of the Houghton Skatepark and knew I would have to try it. As soon as the park opened I began spending my free time learning the ins and outs of the park.
Where have you ridden? Any memorable rides you’d like to tell about?
Most of my skating has been at the Houghton park and around the Keweenaw. I’ve also skated at GBASO in Green Bay. It’s an indoor park with a lot of different features like a bowl and a larger half-pipe. My memorable moments mostly involve skating on new features. The feeling I get while flying around the park reminds me of jamming in derby. It’s the same adrenaline as in the moments between breaking free of the pack and approaching the reformed wall.
Who do you ride with?
I skate most often with my partner, Nate. He spent much of his youth skating aggressive inline and is a fountain of motivation and tips. I’d not be as good a skater today if not for him. He is not as shy as I am, and as a result we’ve made friends with other Houghton park regulars. I’ve found the majority of people that hang out there are very supportive and push each other to try new tricks and improve.
It’s not rare to spot the KRD crew if you hang out at the skatepark. Often, Tanner or Cael (Editor: KRD league member’s kids) are ripping it up on their scooters. With her return to the Keweenaw, Thimbleberry Slam has been a joy to skate with. Her motivation and zest are a welcome energy! Other KRD skaters including Kiko, Starbuck, Afro, Skatin’ and Fury have also tested their skills on the inclines.
Photo by T. Slam featuring herself, Kim Kong (L), and Smush (background) quad-ing it up at the Houghton Skatepark.
Can you recommend any resources for derby folks wanting to get more into park/aggressive skating?
The Chicks in Bowls crew website is a bountiful resource for anyone looking for more information. They have a collection of blogs and tutorials for new skaters, tips, and a “Tricktionary”. Since the owners of the company have roots deep in derby, much of their content is in the context of transferring over.
Do you follow any park skating social media accounts that you’d recommend?
Yes. Honestly too many to name. I love looking to instagram for trick ideas and tips. I’d start with @cibcrew for a central source, and our local chapter @cibupperpeninsula. Another central tap on the aggressive side of quad skating is the germany based Dog Days magazine at the handle @dogdays_magazine. Spanish skater @barbie.patin doesn’t disappoint. A couple other individuals I follow are @bomba_hache and @rollertravisreynolds.
Oh, and follow me! I’m at @smushelladevil.
If you’re interested in something motivational check out the all quad skate edit, Street Fighters. It’s 25 minutes of full fledged skating action featuring some really skilled skaters.
Any gear recommendations for these folks?
If you’re just starting out, put on your hardest wheels and go for it! Slide blocks are not a requirement. There are so many tricks, stalls ect to do, even without sliding. If you enjoy yourself, blocks are available for any plate. I still rock my roller derby set up in the park. (Standard Riedell 265) However there are definitely more ideal options to invest in such as Moxis or Antiks (made by Riedell). A high boot offers extra ankle protection and stability; Riedell has proven to make a quality product. If you’re serious about skating I would stay away from Powerslide brands such as Chaya.
Have you mastered any tricks? Any tricks that you’re working on?
I have mastered comfortability when it comes to the basics like dropping in, and moving around the park in general. It was an amazing feeling when I realized I could carve around a bowl without focusing on my feet. I’ve also got a decent repertoire of stalls and airs. Lately I’ve been working on spin tricks and inverts. I’ve been trying all the cartwheels. In the ramp, out of the ramp, into the ramp, over the hip, cartwheels everywhere!!
Any unique or funny stories from your time on wheels that you’d like to share?
I’ll never forget the last time I was at GBASO in early March (pre-covid). I finally got the knockers to sit into the large halfpipe and I did it!! Afterward, I had Nate go get the camera so I could share my wonderful accomplishment. Well, cue the beginning of a short video I made. It’s the first clip (editor: check it out at the start of the post!).
Your favorite joke?
My favorite joke is so nerdy that you need mathematics symbols to write it. So instead:
Q- What kind of shorts do clouds wear?
A- Thunderwear! 😉
Smush jamming in 2019, photo by Lost Creek Studios