Your skates are your life! So you have to treat them as valuable parts of your life, otherwise they may break down fast, rot, and your parents will have to fork out more money (and skates are not cheap).
Skaters should have the following:
towel / cloth
A hand towel from home can be used to dry off the skates after completing a session
These go over the blades and protect them in storage; they get the residual water but should not itself be used to dry off the blades
Guards are made of plastic and also go over the blades to protect them when walking. The hockey kind work as well.
Fittings / Models & Brands
Shopping for skates can be quite the process. First thing is first:
Get a proper fitting!
Chaparral charges a small fee to get the fitting, but it’s worth it for the long-term investment in your child’s skates. You’ll be provided options for skate models and brands depending on your skater’s ability, size and general skating goals, and you’ll be informed of both the perfect size and appropriate growing room sizes. Getting a pair that has too much growing room is just as bad as having the junk rental skates as the stability in the skater’s ankles will be compromised.
It should fit like a glove and the skater shouldn’t be able to slide his/her heel up and down inside the skate. At the same time, we don’t want the skater’s toes to be curled up inside.
Used vs. New: What should I do?
If Basic 1-Freestyle 2, you could probably find a good used pair. When shopping for used, keep this in mind:
- quality and stiffness of the boot — if there are a lot of creases, you probably will have a skate as good as the rental pair. It’s too broken down to be of use for your skater.
- blades — have your coach take a look to make sure they’re aligned properly and the skater can glide straight both forwards and back
- eBay is NOT your friend. Don’t do it. But if you still do, make *sure* they have a return policy. You don’t want to get stuck with a skate you can’t return.
- If you’re Freestyle 3 and beyond, most likely you’re a more serious skater and will benefit from having a brand new pair of skates. If that’s the case and you wish to pursue skating beyond the basic levels, it’s time to get your own, unused pair of skates. If you simply want to go through Freestyle 6 and stop, you could perhaps find a good used pair, but they will be harder to come by.
When and how often do I sharpen my skates? The more skates are skated in, the more often they will need to be sharpened.
After about 30 hours of use, it’s probably time to sharpen your blades.
Here are some things to look for when thinking about whether your blades need sharpening:
- difficulty holding edges
- long skids
- numerous skids
- seeing white lines along the edges of your blades
- knicks and some rust (although these should be monitored for carefully in the first place!)