Nath's Blade Set-up Series: Niko Salaman
Niko, give us the full low down on your current setup, skip no details...
- Seba CJ 2014 (now spray painted metallic burgundy) currently on stock Seba frames and Seba cj 60mm wheels, so the full Seba! With a few modifications, I have dremmelled the h-block in a fair bit as I prefer a much deeper groove as they come pretty shallow but I do this with all my frames. I have also modified the soul plate so I can fit up to 78mms in the outer wheel spots, this worked quite well but it's just not the same as a flat big wheel set up and grinds become really difficult.
I should mention when the photos were taken I was riding Create Originals CRS frames with BHC wheels. I mention the CRS frames, they are really good, I loved the material, shape and how they looked. Sadly they were a little too tall for my ankle and after about 3 months the suspension pads (80a) did get squashed smaller making it unstable and noisy.
I've seen you were riding Razors for a long time and I even saw you make a promo for the Aragon 5's. Why the change of blades?
Mainly because I needed a more rigid, higher profile boot to support my ankle. I loved Razors, and Remz from before that, mainly because of Aragon and Haffeys influence. I was really happy with both at the time, but after about 2 years on each I felt the need for change. I had always wanted to try the Sebas ever since they came out, but I was skeptical as I can't stand how USD Carbons feel but then I found a chance to try some and I've been in love ever since.
Are there any tricks you can or can't do in your new skates since changing companies?
Yes there's one currently, but I'm always going over all my tricks if they get rusty, I'm also limited by what my right foot can or can't do anymore and have been for over a year now. But I have noticed that I can't hold my allyoop topsouls so good anymore, I don't know if that's to do with the boot or how I used to use my right foots royale to lead the trick but that's what I've been working on recently.
What makes a perfect skate for you?
A few things, haha
- when you simply enjoy putting them on, even more so if you consecutively enjoy lacing them up and taking the first few rolls each time, say a few days or weeks in a row.
- when each time you put them on and blade them and you can feel them get a little comfier and more adjusted to your feet, as if they are becoming a part of you.
- holding long grinds and it feeling really comfortable and when landings just feel damn good and steezy
- and of course when you take them off and they just look so good.
Do you like to customise your skates?
Yeah, a lot. I like to be quite individual and love having a blades that no-one else, or at least custom versions. as previously mentioned on the Sebas I sprayed the grey parts neatly over in a metallic burgundy that works with the black of the unpainted highlights.
Which parts wear out the fastest?
Wheels, soul plates, frames, in that order.
What are the three best looking pairs of blades of all time?
In no particular order
- USD UFS Thrones Gold Sagonas
- Valo AB Golds (little pattern here)
- Razors genesys team 2005 (ones that Aragon skates in ego)
Runners up are the Seba CJ's, USD Carbon Franky 1s and the Ledoux pro boots and the white Remz hr. 1.2, Razors Sl Silhan - okay that's it, no more!!
I've seen you riding various wheel sizes? What other frame or skate setups do you have?
I had the flying eagle 80mm lazerwheelz which lit up red up and had magnesium for sparks but after 9 months and tonnes of epic t-stopping they are now more coned than the matterhorn. So I got some triblades, powerslide imperials - 110mms shiny red, of course. Now anything with three wheels is going to be a speed demon and it feels so incredible to go that fast but these lack serious support, especially for something so tall, whilst the liner is comfy enough they are too flexible yet somehow suffocate my feet for the first 15 minutes of getting warmed up but then it's okay. Have you ever come across that before?
Flashing/sparking wheels, what's up with that? Must get some attention skating through the city?
Yes they are one of my favourite things ever, it never gets old when you have those wheels.
Yeah when I went out on those at night I had 2-5 people asking me where to get some skates or the wheels
How often do you skate and how long can you keep your blades on for at a time?
2-3 times a week 'aggressively' and then 3-4 times for a cruise at sunset or at night(weather dependent of course) allowing time between to rest and rehab my ankle, I sometimes blade to work too if it's convenient.
Once I lace up I tend not to take them off unless I have to, so roughly 6-7 hours in the sebas maximally for a full day out is manageable but 4 hours is optimal. But only about 2 hours in the powerslides, after that the toes start to tingle in a bad way, just way less support.
Do you prefer aggressive skates with big wheels or a traditional recreational blades if your big wheeling?
Ideally if my ankle could handle taller frames and wheels on grinds then I would love to try the Oysi or BIGS but for me it's best to keep them separate for temptation and injuries sake. Besides now if I'm just cruising then I want to go fast; triblades all the way.
What are the best wheels you've ever skated?
With 'Aggressive' wheel sizes I've found BHC to have the best quality to lifetime ratio and exceptional grip in wet or raining conditions. although I haven't tried the new Dead or Go Project formulas which I would like very much. However the flying eagle 80mm were three times better than BHC in all the aspects and beyond of the qualities of a good wheel. So basically if Flying Eagle made a 63mm bullet profile fluorescent red wheel with magnesium inserts I would be set for life, essentially.
You do some huge gaps in both street and park, do you have special foot beds or shock absorbers?
Yes big gaps, no nothing special but I have implanted the massive razors inner heel pad(the one in the shell not the liner) into the seba boot as the stock seba shock absorber was measly in comparison and I couldn't get used to it.
However the real secret is socks, thick socks. Every time I blade, winter or summer, I wear two layers of skiing socks, this doubles overall comfort, support and control of any blade, triples length of time able to blade and provides the most ergonomic shock absorption, downsides are the added weight, the smell and that you won't want to blade without two layers of sock...
What is the ugliest skate you've seen?
Rollerblade bladerunner beginner, my first 'aggressive' skate that is.
But that also depends how you wear them, like a V13 or SL boot that's too big thus laced and buckled too tight just doesn't look good.
Thanks for your time Niko, Hopefully see you soon.
Words By Nathan Hadley and Niko Salaman
Photos by Sam Cooper
Niko Salaman - Disaster Backside Backslide in Bristol, UK