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Flashback: Nel Martin

Rollerblade® has opened the team archives and wondered…  “What are they up to now?” In the Flashback series of interviews, we catch up with former Rollerblade® team riders and creative minds that helped grow the brand. We talk about the past, present, and future. This time we Flashback with Nel Martin who is now 37 years old living in Spain.

Nel you started skating in 1994. What was your introduction to the sport?
Well back in 1994 all my friends used to skate, and my nephew got a new pair of skates. I decided to give them a try. As soon as I tried them, I knew that skating would be my thing! I got a pair of Rollerblade® fitness skates for Christmas and that was it!

How did you switch from just skating around to vert ramp/transition skating?
Yes, I started just playing street hockey.  This lead to jumping stairs and just playing around on the streets. But then we found out we had a skate park nearby, Bowl‘s Skate Park, so we decided to go there.  We wanted to try dropping in on the bowls. It was so much fun! After that I just got addicted to the feeling of skating transition.

At what point did you start competing? When were you picked up by Rollerblade®?
I would say that my first big comp was in 1996 at the Spanish Championships. Not long after that competition I joined the national Rollerblade® team! It was like a dream come true! One of the best days in my life!

You were part of the team with big name vert ramp skaters such as: Taig Khris, Sven Boekhorst, and Tobias Bucher. How did that influence your progression?
Well I truly believe that back in that time period the level of vert skating was amazing and all the skaters were really talented. It was such an honor to have the opportunity to skate and tour with all those skaters. I have always tried to learn from all of my teammates and other vert skaters.

You still skate often (instagram). After traveling the world for competitions you made a decision to leave Spain and live in Las Vegas, Nevada in the USA. What motivated this move?
Well for sure I’m just trying to skate almost every day. Actually I’m skating everyday because I have two shows a day as my job. I enjoy skating so much that even during my free time I try to skate as much as I can.

One of the main reasons why I left Spain to work here in Las Vegas is because this job gives me the opportunity to skate daily, and also the chance to live close to many good skate parks like Woodward. In the end, working for Cirque du Soleil here in Las Vegas, was one of the dreams that I had left to achieve in my professional career.

Now you are a part of the world famous Cirque du Soleil show. How is that?
It’s awesome. This company is such a big company, and they treat my colleagues and me in the best possible and amazing way. It is like being in paradise everyday. I just love going to work every day.

Do you select the tricks for your performances with Cirque?
We have a choreography that we have to follow.  We put all our energy in every single show. Together with three super talented skaters performing the best possible tricks. All of our tricks combined with an amazing lightshow, music, and the rest of the show team. The final result is a very impressive and beautiful act to watch. It’s a must see show!

Any future plans in mind you would like to share with us?
I want to stay involved with skating somehow that’s for sure. I have some ideas. The main goal for me is to keep skating as much as I can. I also want to keep my event company and skating school in Spain. I am still doing the European championship vert skating. I have some projects here in USA this coming year lined up. I would love to help skating continue to grow.

Thanks Nel for this Flashback. Best of luck this year and keep on doing what you love. Any last words? 

Thanks for the Flashback! I will keep doing what I love the most: skating! I wish you the best.  Let’s see each other on skates soon ;) love to roll!