Skate cross, sometimes called bladercross, is an extreme skating race that follows four inline skaters as they charge around a challenging ramp and obstacle course, a lot like other extreme "X-type" races. A skate cross competition is pretty simple. As many as four inline skaters start a race from the top of a narrow, inclined assault course ramp - dodging a lot of obstacles as well as each other along the way - and whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner. A skate cross course is usually laid out in a narrow aggressive skatepark style and includes a variety of turns, jumps, launch ramps, quarter pipes, flat banks, and steep and flat banks that are designed to challenge each skater's ability to skate fast, manage obstacles and stay under control.
Skate Cross Competition Format
Skate cross races are divided into two main event segments: individual qualification events and final rounds of events with groups.
- During the qualifying event, each skater makes an effort to achieve the best course speed timings possible in order to move into the final rounds.
- The series of eliminations at the beginning of the final rounds are skated in groups of 2,3 or 4 skaters. These athletes must finish first or second in their groups to progress to the next level.
- After elimination rounds have narrowed down the field of skaters to the top four, the final round is skated.
Skate Cross Equipment Requirements
All types of inline and roller sports skating equipment is allowed in skate cross. Participants can use any type of inline skates with 2,3,4 or 5 wheels or even traditional quad skates. But, there are some requirements for any skates that are used:
- Skates must be in good working condition.
- All skate parts must be secure, so they do not fall off and create a hazard for skaters.
- The skates cannot have any sharp or hard protruding parts that could injure other athletes or the skater who is wearing them.
The event officials are allowed to inspect all of the competitors' skates and can request repairs, modifications or replacement, if equipment looks risky or does not meet requirements.
The Ethics of Skate Cross
In spite of the aggressive nature of this race, all participating skaters are expected to show good sportsmanship and use responsible sports ethics when dealing with officials, organizers, other skaters and the spectators. No physical or verbal abuse of any kind is allowed and violators can be suspended from several events or even get permanently removed from the skate cross circuit. Judges can also choose to disqualify a skater who is not in physical or emotional condition to compete for his/her own safety.
Since this is a group competitive sport, involuntary contact is allowed during these risky races. It is not unusual for these inline racers to collide with each other and receive a few bumps and bruises. But, there are some skater-to-skater actions that are not permitted and can lead to disqualification:
- Pushing other skaters is not allowed.
- Pulling other skaters is not allowed.
- Opponents should not be held back by grabbing clothing.
- Blocking to favor another skater is not permitted.
- No skater can make opponents fall on purpose.
- Tricks that are dangerous to other participants are not allowed.
- Skaters cannot make obstacles fall on purpose.
The complete skate cross rules document gives the exact requirements for judges, officials, equipment needed and details of the track module layout.
Skate Cross Events
Skate cross has been around for a while, but the first official event of the World Skate Cross (WSX) series was held near Beijing, China, in the district of Beidaihe, Qindao, on May 1 and 2, 2011. In addition to attracting the best Chinese skaters, the event drew athletes from many countries including France, Singapore and Russia. WSX has taken the sport to many other locations in the series and will continue to do so to grow the sport.
Skate cross should not be confused with Nordic cross-skating which uses cross-skates (an off-road skate) and poles, either off-road, on paths through the woods or on streets.