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Q&A with Vincent Vuvankha about the all-new Crossfire slalom skate

The Crossfire is specially designed for slalom skating as well as any type of skating that acquires maneuverability and performance. The Crossfire allows fast and sharp turns, heel and toe lifts and an overall maximum response. 

Vincent Vuvankha is deeply rooted in the freestyle world. He competed, trained skaters, and developed the freestyle sport with the French Federation, the International Federation, and the International Freestyle Slalom Association (IFSA). Read more about Vincent and the creation of the Crossfire in the Q&A.


Q. Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in inline skating?
In the 90s I encountered the first "real" inline skates. I bought my first skates, the Spiritblade by Rollerblade®. I started to perform in shows, taking part in competitions in France (slalom & jump), then I entered a team and performed shows which was lots of fun. Then, I started to join international competitions in Lausanne, and Italy and Spain, Russia, and China. I got several awards in freestyle slalom skating.

I am a slalom skater; I have been competing since the 90's and stopped competing in 2019. I won many competitions including the World Cup of freestyle slalom twice and became French Champion seven times. I also did free jump and skated the fun box.


Q. Can you describe the challenges and joys of competing at a high level in slalom skating?
Slalom skating is very gratifying; you invent tricks, and you can be creative. A freestyle slalom line is always different. You perform and train with music. Competing at a high-level means meeting skaters from all over the world and learning different cultures. There is an all-around respect and love of the sport regardless of where you are from.

The challenges I experienced are that you need to train, train and train. You need time, a good place to train, a schedule and partners. You need to set goals and work toward these to ultimately be ready for the competition season. You also need physical training aside from skating to develop the strength and the flexibility, and to prevent injuries. Putting in this type of effort results in lots of improvement!


Q. What do you consider to be your biggest achievements in the sport of slalom skating?

  1. Winning my first World Cup!
  2. Uniting the skaters and officials into the IFSA (International Freestyle Skaters Association) and to host the first World Championship in 2007. 
  3. The tricks I invented.  Do you know these: NoWiper, DayNight, Kazakchok, Kazakchop spin, Toefootgun, Heelfootgun?
  4. All the people I met worldwide, each of them gave me the experience to grow and experience life -  thank you all, I will never forget you. 


Q. Working on the new Crossfire is a great achievement too. How did you get involved in this process?
I got involved because I love slalom skating, and everything about it. I have been on the Rollerblade® team since 2004. I have been involved into the development of the skates, as an athlete, for many years.  The Rollerblade® team is a big family of skaters, engineers, and designers. We’ve known one another for many years.

Working in this international atmosphere is great, as we are all focused on one goal - improving skating for everyone. I am happy and feel blessed to be part of the Crossfire skate development team!


Q. Please take us into the process of development?
I provided Rollerblade® input and feedback on the skate - from trying the first prototypes, to giving the pros and cons, advising changes, and helping to find solutions. This process went back and forward for quite a while until we could proudly present the Crossfire!


Q. What are the most important advantages of the new Crossfire?
The Crossfire is THE carbon skate developed for slalom by Rollerblade®.

The carbon upper optimizes energy transfer, making the skate more efficient.  The cuff has two settings. You can choose to fix it front or back, to improve your flexibility for sitting tricks, heel wheelings or to get more support for speed slalom. The extruded aluminum frame can be rockered; you can choose a flat setting or a rockered setting (front wheel up, back wheel up) to improve fast turns. The frame is short and low for more control and maneuverability.


Q.  How do you believe this new skate will impact the sport of slalom skating?
The forward flexibility is increased. Many carbon skates in the market don’t offer forward flex.  This feature will improve the heel wheeling for many skaters. It will make the sitting tricks easier for everyone (e.g., footgun, teapot, christie).

The Crossfire has a rockable frame and the rockering setting can be done with 80mm wheels. You don't need to find 76mm wheels anymore. Wheeling on 80mm wheel will be more stable.


Q. Can you describe the feedback you've received from other slalom skaters who have used the new skate?
First, it’s a great looking skate. Second, the Crossfire is comfortable from the very first moment, you don’t have to break in the skate. Last, maneuverability is exceptional and the frame works just as you want to.

Q. Any last words?
I hope you will enjoy the Crossfire skate and it will help you improve your slalom skating. Try the Crossfire and please share your feedback with me.