In 2005, Graeme Wilson realized he was a loser.
“I had no idea I was so lame,” said Wilson, 28, looking back.
The problem was his hobby, rollerblading. In the 1990s it was huge, everyone was doing it. In his hometown of Moscow, people were gliding down the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail instead of walking. He got his first pair of skates around age 8 or 9, but just skating wasn’t enough. He starting looking for things to jump off of. By age 12, he’d obtained a pair of aggressive rollerblades. Made for tricks, aggressive rollerblades have smaller wheels, no brakes and spaces to lock onto a ledge or rail. He met other kids with the same interest: Ian Engerbertson and J.D. Morrow.
Around the time they got really good at jumping staircases, doing 180s and grinding rails, rollerblading became uncool.
“Right when rollerblading lost all of its exposure was when it hit a huge point of maturity,” said Wilson. “People figured out how to skate with style, but nobody could see it, everyone had quit.”
Wilson and his friends didn’t quit, though. They loved it. In the following years, they endured taunts and harassment from skateboarders, who labeled them “fruit booters” and shunned them at parks.
Instead of getting mad, they embraced it.
“We decided you just have to own it. We call ourselves fruit booters to this day,” Wilson said.
“Icons: Fruit Booters of Moscow,” is one of a dozen videos they’ve made showcasing their stunts. Wednesday they’ll screen their latest video, “Last Try: Part II,” which features tricks by Wilson, Engerbertson, 26, of Moscow; and Morrow, 28, of Lewiston. The video was filmed over five years, mostly in Moscow, Pullman, Lewiston and Clarkston. It also includes footage of about 30 other rollerbladers, skateboarders and BMX bikers.
“The title is a bit of a joke,” said Wilson. “There’s often a trick you want really badly. You’re trying it over and over again. You think you’re going to do it, and the words ‘last try’ will come out of your mouth 50 times.”
In one of the clips, Wilson skates a long rail attached to a wall. He calls the maneuver an alley-oop soul grind. The alley-oop is a 180-degree turn onto the rail. The soul grind is sliding backwards for about 30 feet.
“That was a difficult trick,” Wilson said. “It’s not huge. It’s not jumping off a roof. There’s stuff like that, but not on this video.”
In another clip, Engerbertson gaps a double set. A double set is a staircase with a flat section followed by another set of stairs. Engerbertson jumps the stairs, does a 180 in mid-air and lands backwards.
“Ian is most certainly the hammer dropper,” Wilson said, explaining, “if you have a big trick like that, it’s called a hammer. You drop hammers, you throw hammers.”
Copies of the DVD will be for sale for $10 at the Kenworthy showing. Besides the main feature, it includes two hours of bonus material, like a slam section filled with tricks that didn’t go as planned.
This rollerblading video might be the last for Wilson, who is now married with two children and working full-time with the video production company Small Media Large. He doesn’t skate as much as he used to and, at 28, foresees his stunt days coming to an end.
“If you want to perform at a level that is progressive, you kind of have to have two to three days in a row to skate and get back up to that level. Twenty-eight is not old, unless you’re in the action sport world.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Last Try: Part 2”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24
WHERE: Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 S. Main St., Moscow
OF NOTE: DVD copies will be available for $10