There are two kinds of roller skate available - inline skates with all of the wheels in a straight line and quad roller roller skates with two wheels side-by-side in the front and two wheels side-by-side in the back. Many people assume that inline skates represent the newest skating technology, but inline skate history and quad skate history timelines prove that while inlines appeared in the 17th century, but quads were not actually invented until the 19th century. The quad skate used by roller skating enthusiasts today are the result of many decades of development.
Quad roller skating styles include recreational, fitness, social and competitive disciplines, and quads are sometimes used as transportation just like inline skates. Quads - sometimes called traditional or old-school skates - have been around for a long time in roller skate history, often share indoor skating facilities and trainers with inline skaters and are always in demand by roller sports enthusiasts. Quad equipment with outdoor wheels can be used on most smooth paths, parks, courts, driveways and trails that are used by inline skaters. But, most quad activities are usually done in roller rinks and sports centers, gymnasiums or other indoor locations where the surface conditions are easy to control. Both quad and inline roller skating provide a good cardiovascular workout for anyone who uses them regularly.
Because the skating surface needs and physical skills are so closely related, many quad skaters also inline skate and vice-versa, many instructors at RSA and USARS rinks teach basics for both disciplines in the same classes, RSA and USARS tests have been developed for both styles, and roller speed and figure skating practice sessions and social activities often include skaters using both quad and inline skates.
Each type of skates has advantages, but some feel that roller skating on quads adds stability. Many ponder over whether it is easier to roller skate on quads or inline skate on rollerblades. The kind of skating that really interests you will determine the exact type of training (if any), style of skates and other gear you will need for your chosen roller sports. Take a look at some of the activities that can be done on quad skates:
- Recreational and social quad skating includes a variety of activities for skaters of all ages and skating levels.
- Quad fitness skating combines serious skating for medical, mental or physical benefits with fun skating for pure pleasure.
- Quad speed skating is still a recognized competitive discipline – even though participation has significantly declined.
- Quad figure skating is a type of figure skating that is often called artistic skating.
- Vertical roller skating is just as exciting as aggressive inline.
- Several styles of dance, gymnastics and skating blend to create the jam skating style.
- Rhythm skating is a soul-based skating style that emerged along the same timeline as the Motown sound experience.
- JB skating originated in Chicago with skating to the soul music sounds of the legendary "Godfather of Soul," James Brown.
- Jam skating is a newer style in the history of quad skates that blends several styles of dance, gymnastics and skating.
- Quad roller derby has taken the sports world by storm and appears to be the fastest growing roller sport today.
- Quad rink roller hockey is a popular year-round sport at amateur, scholastic, and professional levels.
Use this guide for a brief overview of quad roller skating sports, then take a look at the inline sports opportunities. If you are not sure that your interests will be dedicated to a specific skating type, start by building a good foundation in recreational or fitness activities and training. Most rinks allow you to rent traditional or speed quad skates in beginner skating lessons, so you can find out which type of skate you prefer.