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Skate School Keeps Novices In Line

April 08, 1993|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition. and

In-line roller-skates continue to be one of the hottest retail items in recreational sports, but the truth is that the first time out can be a little intimidating.

The skills involved are actually closer to ice-skating than to using the traditional "quad" skates, according to Kon Ammossow, owner of Inline Rollerworks in Costa Mesa. In-line skates, as the name suggests, have four or five wheels arranged in a straight line; the quad skates most people are familiar with from their roller rink days have two pairs of side-by-side wheels.

Skate School, a side business connected with Inline Rollerworks, offers beginning skaters a chance to learn the basics before heading out on their own. In addition to private lessons, a group session is offered each Sunday in Newport Beach.

"It's a great way for people who don't have much confidence to get into it," said Gary Liss of Inline. One lesson is usually enough to get people up and rolling, although further instruction can help with the fine points.

The group lessons teach beginners the basic skills of starting, stopping--even falling down safely. "Once they learn that they can fall in their protective gear and it doesn't hurt, they're ready to try anything," Liss said.

Learning the basics right away will enhance the enjoyment of skating, Ammossow said. For first-timers, "just picking up the skates and going out does not teach the real mechanics of using these things," he said. "The smartest thing is to learn how to actually use them."

Stopping on in-line skates is one big difference, because the brake is on the back of one skate rather than on the front (as in quad skates). Beyond that, the main thing is to keep the knees bent, as in skiing.

"All the good things that happen in skating will happen from this position," Liss said.

Cost of the Newport Beach lesson is $10. In addition to a beginner segment, intermediate and advanced segments are offered during the Sunday session. Interested skaters should call ahead for reservations, so the school knows how many instructors to send.

Most people who take part in the class already own skates, Liss said, but participants can rent a pair for a discounted rate of $5 from the Inline Rollerworks rental outlet in Newport Beach. Also, the shop will provide safety equipment as part of the lesson (pads and helmet must be worn during the lesson). Again, call ahead to reserve equipment.

Skate School also offers a group lesson at UC Irvine each Saturday at 10 a.m.

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