Under the Radar: Vashti Rufus Wilson

by Marta
Vashti Rufus Wilson

Vashti Rufus Wilson is one of the most inspirational quad skaters out there. The Brisbane local started skating in 2019 and has since developed a very technical style. Her blading inspired tricks often leave us open-mouthed. In our Under the Radar interview, Vashti shares her skate journey, tells us what hardware she prefers for her technical tricks and and what tips have helped her evolve.

How long have you been roller skating and what inspired you to start? 

I’ve been roller skating since the end of 2019 – so coming up to 5 Years. I started around that time because a few of my friends decided to get roller skates. Jade (@optimuslime_) and I were close friends so when she got some skates for her birthday, we both started skating together. First at the local tennis courts and then eventually at the skatepark.

You do a lot of creative and blading inspired grinds. The shape of the Chaya block offers a bit more options. Are you intentionally trying to use the block for tricks like unities, royales, etc?

Yeah, I really like learning those kinds of tricks. When I started grinding Mistrials that got me wanting to try more of those tricks that use different foot positions, more on the sides of the block – so I started skating the Chaya Block which made it easier for me to learn and balance on those grinds. 

Vashti Rufus Wilson
Rocket one foot axle – photo: @thenameshaun

Have you always ridden with a Chaya setup or have you also tried other boots and blocks?

I started off by skating some Impalas, then I skated Moxi Lollies and added a Disco Block for grinding. About a year after that I started skating the Moxi Jack Boot and a year after that Brunny Hardcore released their blocks, so I started using them on my setup. I skated that setup for the next 6 months, but I wasn’t happy with how it all felt. I had been researching Heeled Roller Skates vs Flat ones and I was curious to try a flat setup, eventually I decided I wanted to try the Chayas because I wanted to try their grind block too. Now I continue using the Chaya setup because that’s what I enjoy skating the most and works best for how I skate.

Where do you get the inspiration for your tricks?

Well, I met the inline community in Brisbane @brisbanerollerbladers about a year and a half into skating – so I get a lot of inspiration from watching them skate. Most of them have been skating for many years so there is always something new to learn and they’re always happy to support and give advice.

There’s so many talented rollerbladers in Australia but the ones I skate with in Brisbane and inspire me the most are: @winkinsss @mitchell_macrae @jamiecsims @robkellett @jm.in__ @huxerosa @unique.kingdom & @itsjoshnielsen

My partner @natogden_ is a part of that community, so we watch a lot of rollerblading sections too – some of the sections I’m inspired the most by are from Chris Farmer, Jeff Stockwell, Eugen Enin, and Josiah Blee.

Nat is my biggest inspiration though; his skating is very creative, and he does everything with a style I am in awe of. He has a lot of knowledge and he’s normally the one giving me suggestions of tricks to try.

Also, I kept forgetting tricks or combinations I wanted to try so I had to start making a list on my phone. I write down every time I see a trick, think of something or someone suggests something, the list has gotten long over time so now if I want to try something new, I might look at that for inspiration.

Do you have a tip for skaters who want to try these more advanced grinds?

What helped me the most was talking to and getting advice from someone with more experience than me to learn about the grinds, body position and movement of the trick from start to finish and how it may be different depending on the obstacle.

Nat and I act out how a trick might be done too, not necessarily in skates just on flat ground somewhere – it helps a lot for me because I can better envision the trick I want to learn.

I think it’s also helpful to learn how different tricks relate to each other, understand how you skate and where or why the body needs to be in a certain position. This all helps me breakdown tricks and their barriers.

Tell us a bit about the roller skate scene in Brisbane.

I’m sure there are people I don’t know about, but there are at least 20 of us. Some don’t skate every week or as often as others and it can be hard to find another person to skate with sometimes.

There is a women’s & queer skaters’ night weekly at Paddo skatepark that @miljabubba runs, it’s always good to see a lot of the skaters there. I wouldn’t really say I have a particular ‘crew’ I regularly skate with Jaycee @bbby_skates and Kiz @bowlbabyyy though. Some roller skaters In the Brisbane scene I see more often are among:

@jailbreakthegeo @mockingbird_lne @skitsosalad @its.sez @miljabubba @spaghetti.skates @stabstheimpaler @stellasawus @fr0zen.m4ngo @lily.jeda @emmgloo @itsmollycowan @smokinghotmf @babykitttii @piggy_magu @layla_the_cat

I hope this year I will be able to contribute more to the Brisbane quad community by generating meetups, events, resources, or whatever our community needs to help it grow.

50/50 – photo: @thenameshaun

What skaters from Australia should we watch and follow?

I think you should follow all the skaters in Australia but that’s probably too many to list so I will list just a few who I always enjoy watching:  

@roller_spoon @rubyd00m @fr0zen.m4ngo @bettyorworse @sashpants @bowlbabyyy @bbby_skates @the_moljitov_princess @cowboy_crooks @zozzlebee @zebbybliss @spaghetti.skates

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

I haven’t skated in many parks apart from the ones in Brisbane and surrounds. To be honest I’m not fond of many parks but I skate Paddington Skate Park a lot, it’s my Local and I like to skate the practice rail and ledge there. I go to @rampattak every week too it’s a good indoor skatepark.

I don’t know much about street spots in Australia either but in Brisbane a good one can be hard to find – mostly if I go with the rollerbladers we look for spots in schools.

What does your skate-travel wish list look like?

I travelled to Europe last year and skated in Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Barcelona. I really enjoyed skating in all those places, but I got sick while I was away so didn’t get to skate as much as I would like to and would go back to any of those cities. Especially Barcelona, it is known for all its street spots, and it was the most fun getting to explore them and the city. I didn’t get time to meet any roller skaters in the community there so that’s another reason I would want to go back. I would just be excited to travel anywhere where I would get to meet more roller skaters in the community. I would like go to more of the skateparks in Australia too. I got to meet a lot of skaters from Aus when I travelled to Newcastle for the @concretewavesinvitational, that was heaps of fun. Melbourne would be one of the next cities in Australia on my bucket list.

Favorite food on a trip abroad?

It would probably be Ramen or any Vietnamese dish.

Anything else you want to say to the skaters worldwide?

Just keep skating, learning and doing what you enjoy. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to skate/meet with more of you throughout the years 🙂

Trip to Barcelona 2023 – photo: @robkellett

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


Interview by Marta Popowska
Top image: screenshot from Glow

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