Could one teenager change the face of rollerblading and renew outside interest in the sport? Wake Schepman is one of the most marketable assets we’ve got and he’s determined to try.
Wake Schepman is not like most 16-year-olds. While many teenagers are content to daydream their way through the average school day and spend the majority of their free time hanging out with friends and playing video games, forfeiting any notion of figuring out what to do with their lives after high school ends, Pennsylvania’s most promising blader is hard at work creating numerous online edits, beating skaters many years his senior at major competitions and performing demos with a travelling extreme sports collective. Yeah, that is a lot to take in.
Earlier this year, Schepman was added to the Razors amateur team and while many message board naysayers condemned the decision to add such a young skater to the roster, he quickly silenced any detractors by romping his way to third place at Bitter Cold Showdown XIII, overpowering industry icons such as Chris Haffey, Montre Livingston and David Sizemore. He also put in a solid performance at this year’s Pow-Wow before destroying himself going for a bold bowl-to-bowl 1260 transfer.
After first coming to our attention through various YouTube videos back in 2008, it seems like Schepman is about to deliver on all the promise he showed when he first introduced himself to the industry. He currently boast a healthy stack of sponsors that include some of the most respected brands in blading, and his wholesome American image and good looks make him a sponsor’s dream. Hell, he is essentially blading’s equivalent to Ryan Sheckler; a formidable talent packaged as a teenage girl’s fantasy and he possesses the drive and professionalism to go all the way.
Considering the transient nature of rollerblading and the fact that many of our most recognised professionals are gradually gravitating towards other interests, it seems inevitable that, sooner or later, we are going to have to look to the younger generation to take up the reins and lead our culture towards a brighter future. It’s only logical that Wake Schepman should be given an opportunity to take on that responsibility.
Wheel Scene: What events have you been to this year?
Wake Schepman: So far this year, I have been to Bitter Cold Showdown in Michigan and Pow-Wow Pro/Am in Florida.
Do you have any interesting stories from your travels?
I had one of my best trips ever this year at Bitter Cold. I drove out to Michigan from my house, which is about a nine-hour drive with my mom. I stayed with one of my good friends Kenrick and his mom, got some good pictures and a few clips before the contest. I did the trick I was planning to do and landed it in the finals of the pro round and got third place! After the contest, we went to get something to eat and it was at this place called Coney Island. As soon as I walked in, the whole place was filled with bladers and they started to chant my name and the whole restaurant was freaking out. It was awesome and funny all at the same time. It was a feeling I will never forget.
You seem to be putting in even more work than usual recently. How is the clip of the week series going?
I am always trying to push the limits in everything I do, especially skating for myself and everyone else. I started a clip of the week series on YouTube. My whole purpose of this was to encourage bladers and people that aren’t bladers to go out and blade at least once a week or pick up a pair of skates and try them out to see how fun skating really is. I always have plans for the future for new projects and edits that I want to do to push myself and the sport.
Have you managed to stay injury-free this year or have there been any bad falls?
Well, with new tricks and wanting to get better, there are always falls getting in the way. I’d say the worst fall so far that hurt the most was from Pow-Wow when I tried to do a 1260 over this 25ft gap from one bowl to another and got destroyed. Everything about the trick was bad. I didn’t take off right and I started spinning upside down in mid-air, which I usually don’t do. I ended up falling and scraping my entire back, hips, elbow and hands on the sand paper concrete – major road rash. If you have been to Kona, you know how bad it hurts to fall there.
What grade are you in at school now?
I just finished my 10th grade year in June and have only two years left to graduate high school.
Have you thought about what you want to do after you finish high school?
I plan on going to college and getting a degree in architecture or civil engineering.
Are you working on any video sections at the moment?
I am working on a new edit for Denial, stacking clips for another edit and always getting clips for my clip of the week.
Who are your current sponsors?
Razors, Denial, Roller Warehouse, Create Originals and Gorilla Workshop.
Now that you are amateur for Razors, does that mean they will be sending you to more events?
They have been sending me to events and I still plan on going to more events.
What would you like to achieve with rollerblading?
There are so many things. People talk about the future of rollerblading but not many people are doing anything. I am doing everything that I can to expose myself outside the rollerblading industry for outside sponsors to start representing our sport. Our sport has dramatically increased and changed in all aspects but no-one outside of our industry knows that. What I would like to achieve with rollerblading is to do my best to encourage more people to skate and help make this sport what it can become.
Are there any events you haven’t been to yet that you would like to attend?
I would love to attend Winterclash, Summerclash or FISE – they seem like fun and incredible contests! I’m interested to see how skaters are received in other countries, and the different styles and cultures people have outside the US.
Why did you decide to get rid of the ramp in your back garden?
It seems like that has been the question by a lot of people lately. Well, there were a few reasons. It looks like we will be moving soon. I’m not home a lot anymore, so I don’t skate it as much as I would want and, if anyone knows my dad, you would know he loves to build new things. So, with that being said, I would say check out my clip of the week series; there will probably be something new. That’s all I’m going to say – gotta keep some things a surprise.
What does an average week consist of for Wake Schepman?
Man, there’s a lot! I was gonna say school but it’s summer time now. Skating, of course, but I usually have my phone stuck in my hand and busy checking emails, Facebook, Instagram, tweeting and texting. I’m on the computer a lot editing clips that I have, planning for upcoming exhibition shows that I do with a show team, hanging out with my friends, yard work, playing some video games, working out, church, youth activities and Boy Scouts, always hanging out with the family, and having fun while doing all of those things!
Photos: Cameron Card, Kenrick Chiocca and George Holmquist
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