Nath's Blade Set-up Series: Matt Woods
What is your full set-up specification? I hear you have both an aggressive and a bigger wheeled setup so let's go over both of them including size, wheels, bearings, frames, liners any modifications you have to make etc.
I do have 3 set ups at the moment - One set of Burston SL which are basically a mash up of bits and pieces, a pretty much stock/fresh set up of SL3 and a set of Salomon Feinberg's with a full 78mm set up.
Main skate - Razors SL Burston Frankenstein
The Burstons i bought from the blade trade from another Bristol local (Another benefit of that group, finding new/other bladers). He had dyed them dark blue, so i didn't know that they were Burstons, i thought they were a set of Bambricks.
They have a set of black cuffs from an old set of Shima genesis I had (not the new style cuff) and all black base/backslide/soul set up. I think its pretty important that if your soul plate s one colour, then your frames should match, so i had matching GC featherlite 3's in black. Wheels are Eulogy Haffey wheels (59mm 88a large size wheels with a little bit of grep especially for ramps), because they had the best profile - love a well-rounded profile, literally wont skate a flat topped profile. Riding the Slaptap street bearings in there too for good measure.
The liners are actually Rollerblade Blank liners from a set of the new RB estillos.
Unfortunately i have flat feet so also have some orthopedic footbeds in there - helps with leveling my feet, but also help tilt my heels up a little as I often found I fall backwards without a raised heel)
Big Wheel set up - Salomon Feinberg
Literally a stock boot that i got again from the blade trade FB page. Bargain set up that was actually bought by my mate as they were advertised as a size 9. Luckily for me, they were a 12 so I was able to take them off his hands. The only thing I added was a set of Level 2 Kizer frames with 78mm Undercover wheels - genuinely couldn't tell you what model besides that they are black!
New skates - Razor SL3's
Stock set up, with a black base, waiting on a black set of frames to finish them off currently but not sure when the oysius frames are going to be widely available again. Rolling slaptap bearings and a set of prototype wheels which are 64mm, 90a from a possible new english wheel company, Again orthopedic footbeds (Scholl Orthoheel sports insole).
Are you sent skates by sponsors or do you buy all of your own equipment?
I buy most of my set ups tbh, but Obviously if I'm looking for a new set up then Chris gives me the slaptap deals ;) But i have been rather partial to trying and experimenting skates. This has made the blade trade FB pages pretty invaluable. Even down to trying some RB storm troopers, which i skated a handful of times before I retired to my brother to get around town.
I know you are a larger footed gentleman and I've seen Worner's Big Foot edit of you. Your skates never look that big though, what is the secret to that? Also what do you think about people downsizing and crushing their toes into the tiniest possible blades?
I am a size 12, have been for as long as I can remember, i used to have the old school tongues and socks stuffed under my laces but now I don't really do much to make them look any smaller. I guess one thing that I do that only really older bladers do is the jeans over the cuffs/buckles. Which helps massively. Plus I try to have thick liners which are laced. So although they're tight to my feet, they give that padded look. It also helps having extra footbeds in the base of my skate to add that bit of padding and I tend to throw in more than one set of laces in to all of my skates, One set tighter, for support and another just for show which are tied a little looser to hang free and create a bit of an illusion of smaller feet. But this is something that hasn't really bothered me since the early 2000's. I always used to try to cram my toes in to skates when i was younger but it meant for me that skating wasn't enjoyable, i had to stop regularly and deal with the pain. I stopped trying to do this when I realised that most company's skates are actually very tight on me even when I buy the biggest size (size uk12). I accepted my fate and just bought the skates that fit me the best, and were incredibly comfy! I'd rather be comfortable and let my skating do the talking :)
If you were offered a pro skate, what colour scheme would you go for?
If I had a pro set up I'd definitely have to have a Dark blue/brown colour way or the reverse. Almost like the old USD throne team skates (also were labelled as Randy Spizer pro models for a short while) that were blue with orange laces/features.
Are you into blade technology? How fussy are you with the details of your setup?
I'm not the fussiest skater when it comes to details (especially when you think of Matt Smith) but I am very particular about a liner. If it doesn't feel right to begin with, I find it difficult to deal with them at all. I also love a good set of wheels and have been pretty much sold on Eulogy wheels for the last 4/5 years without much change. Saying that though i'm much more of a base colour kind of person, if a skate has too much colour I won't really be interested - unless it's a dark/navy blue!
I'm not overly fussed on skate technology, but if something interesting comes around then I'll give it a go. I am quite keen on the Oysius frames as they are supposed to be a longer frame. Anyone with size 11/12 feet will know that 'powerblading' frames are one size fits all, which is a bit of a rip off for me as the wheel base is too short and means it feels like I am constantly tipping backwards. Thankfully this should be a thing of the past when these frames come in to the general market.
I love my big wheel set up, but i know it's not for everyone. I love going at speed so they're amazing for me and the added maneuverability is a huge benefit, especially as my usual frames are basically skis! I am not sold on wizard frames due to the lack of H block, but would love to see some kind of in between product being offered which again brings me back to frames like Oysius, the new K2 frames and standard Kizer/Kaltik/Bake frames. When I ride aggressive skates I tend to be an anti-rocker old school skater, but I do love the options big wheel set ups offer.
How long do your skates/skate parts last you and what are your thoughts on blade trade groups?
Generally I will go through skates every 3-5 months depending on the season! But i try to prolong them as much as possible by making quick fixes, or hoarding the best bits of left over skates and making Frankenstein style set ups - i generally find these are the skates that i skate the longest and skate them in to the ground. This was especially true with the 3 sets of Razor SL icon 2's of which i had 2 stock set ups, but must have made about 4/5 set ups over the period of a good 18 month period.
What were your first pair of blades?
Top 3 blades that you owned?
Current skates - Razor SL Burston frankenstein
Remz Haffey 3's - black and grey combo
Salomon Vinny Mintons
My ideal retirement skates are a set of Blue ST8's. As my first pair of skates were brown ST8's and on the way home in the car from the shop I looked in the free issue of DNA I was given to see someone skating a pair of blue ones. I've never been able to find a set in my size unfortunately so I'm still longing to have them!
Matt Woods - Wallride - M32, Bristol
All Photos By Sam Cooper
Words by Nathan Hadley and Matt Woods.