Aaron Langerman – Under The Radar

by Marta
Aaron Langerman for DogDays Magazine

Aaron Langerman is from San Jose, California. He grew up in the Bay Area most of his life and started skating two years ago. Wait? Just two years? Yes. And that’s why it’s time for another “Under the Radar”, a series where we feature skaters who don’t have a huge social media following but who simply rip. Aaron caught our attention with his clean grinds on handrails. Actually, he seems to be at home on every terrain. We reached out to Aaron to talk about how to progress safely, his favorite tricks, and what he does when he’s not skating.

Aaron, at this point I usually ask people how long they’ve been skating. But you document your journey on Instagram. You’ve been skating for just two years? What made you pick up quads?

I got into skating after going to the roller rink a few times. I got a pair of jam skates and told myself I would never do park skating: it seemed way too dangerous and I didn’t understand why people would want to put themselves in that kind of danger. But after being brought to the skate park by a few of my friends and being taught how to go down banks and drop in, I got hooked on the thrill and adrenaline the activity provided.

Aaron Langerman

You progressed impressively in these two years. What’s your secret? How much time do you spend skating or are you just naturally gifted?

Here’s my secret:

  1. Being obsessively methodical. Deep down, I’m actually a fairly cautious and risk adverse skater. Especially since I got into roller skating at the end of my 20s, I struggle with just tossing my body into a new trick and finding out what happens. Instead, I like to break down tricks into smaller parts: practice them on very safe obstacles first, drill it hundreds of times, and gradually build up to bigger and bigger obstacles. Usually the progression is to try it on a small flat ledge, then a slightly bigger flat ledge, then a flat rail, then down ledges, and finally a down rail. So even though online, it might look like I simply send huge tricks, that hides the thousands of times I practiced the trick on smaller obstacles. So much of my methodical approach is also about being consistent: I skate 5-6 days a week and often for 5+ hours each session.
  2. Skating with people who are better than me. I love getting to skate with roller skaters and bladers who are way above my skill level. Not only can they give me great pointers when I’m learning a new trick, they also inspire me to hold myself to higher standards: holding my grinds longer, coming out fakie, adding steeze to my style, and imagining good lines. I’m really lucky to have so many talented skaters around me here in the Bay Area.
  3. Being intentional about recovery. I do a ton of deep stretching and yoga after sessions, epsom salt baths, rolling out, preventative icing, and massage gunning. This recovery process keeps my muscles feeling limber so I can do lots of big skate seshes in a week while lowering the risk of injury.

Do you have any other sports background and how did it help you with skating journey?

While I hadn’t been involved with competitive sports in high school or college, I was very active in my 20s with long distance cardio activities: running, hiking, backpacking, cycling. I think all that cardio helped me once I started skating because it meant I had great endurance and could skate for 6-8 hours. And I also used to ski as a kid, which I think helped with the feeling of going down a slope and not leaning back. That said, I never took any athletic hobby this seriously and it’s been empowering getting to train my body so intensively over the past two years.

What does roller skating mean to you besides from the athletic fun?

Roller skating for me feels like so much more than an athletic endeavor: it taps into the same creative juices of self-expression that writing and making music do, except I get to use my body to express myself.

And getting to just go outside all day and play as an adult – to turn the concrete wasteland around us into a playground – feels so radical and liberating. It’s so goofy and silly to spend so much time learning to scoot around on little wheelie shoes, and to put my body is such immense physical danger in the process, but that’s what makes it so awesome.

Finally, to experience all of that joy and self-expression and creativity in a community makes skating so special. I didn’t realize how transformative having a supportive community can be but it’s made me so much more enthusiastic about life. And I’ve gotten to meet so many special people that are some of my closest friends through skating.

Aaron Langerman
"If the only trick I was allowed to do for the rest of my skating career was 50-50s"

Tell us a bit about the roller skate scene in Bay Area.

The roller skating scene is tight-knit, inclusive, and vibrant in the Bay Area. We have so many talented skaters here and I haven’t experienced any politics or drama. I attribute so much of my growth and passion for skating to this community. Not only do they help give me pointers for new tricks and inspire me to hold myself to higher standards of skating, they more importantly make me so excited to come to a sesh. We also have a great relationship with the bladers and skateboarders at our locals, which makes the skate parks feel very welcoming. I know it’s corny to say but so much of the reason I love skating is that every sesh feels like I’m getting to make core memories with my best friends.

What skaters from the Bay Area should we watch and follow?

Of course, there are some Bay Area skaters that I’m sure most of the skate community knows about like Alli (@allisk8s), Silvia (@silvkam), and Max Mead (@maxx_mead). Some of my other favorite skaters whose style really inspires me are Katie (@kt_flexing), Mo (@sport.modeee), Tamara (@lil_miss_fiasco), and bladers who decided to quad skate like Challe (@challejo.roller). All of these people are incredible to sesh with and inspire me to improve my skating.

Which skateparks and street spots in your area are your favorites and a must visit?

Newark and Milpitas are my favorite two iconic skate parks of the Bay Area, though Red (Mayfair) in San Jose is my favorite street park. For street skating, one of my favorite places is downtown Oakland: I love street skating the most when you can cruise around a city and feel the sense of excitement of finding ledges and rails everywhere you go. There’s a huge gritty C-ledge right on one of the main downtown streets that’s one of my favorites to hit and try to hold a grind through the entire ledge.

Favorite tricks you go for everywhere you show up?

50-50s are my favorite trick: ledges, rails, and coping. If the only trick I was allowed to do for the rest of my skating career was 50-50s, I would be okay with that fate. And most recently, I’ve become obsessed with kind grinds — they’re scary to throw on bigger down ledges and rails but the lock-in feels magical.

What does your skate-travel wish list look like?

In the past year, I was very lucky to be able to do so many skate trips within the US: LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, and New York. So my skate travel wish list is now a bit more international: next summer I would love to travel to Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico and visit the skate friends I’ve made from those countries. I would also love to do a skate trip through Europe. But in the meantime, my next goal is to lean into skating in the Bay Area and make a full length street edit here.

What do you do if you are not skating?

Outside of skating, I’m a high school English teacher and the director of a speech and debate program. I see lots of parallels between coaching speech and debate and skating: both are about growth and empowerment, and the process of getting there involves the same journey of consistent dedication, breaking skills down into smaller components, and drilling relentlessly until you become confident. At home, I also do a lot of journaling and reading and reflecting. But honestly, I’m an all or nothing person and so for the past year, I’ve leaned heavily into skating as something that structures most of my day: after work, I often go straight to the skate park and stay there until closing, then spend a few hours of my evenings on recovery, eating healthy, and spending quality time with my skate friends outside of the skate park.

Anything else you want to say?

Paint your nails, toss some glitter on your face, and enjoy the short time we have to exist in our fragile bodies.


Make sure to follow Aaron on Instagram. And check out more “Under the Radar – interviews”


Images by Charles Rinn 
Interview by Marta Popowska

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