Flavor of the Week: An Interview with Ryan Benner

 Interview by Daniel Nodzak photos and gifs courtesy of Ryan Benner.

Interview by Daniel Nodzak photos and gifs courtesy of Ryan Benner.

The sixth installment of Ryan Benner's Savor The Flavor series made it's debut today on vimeo and we got a chance to chat with the Ohio native about his video series and the midwest blading scene. 


This is the sixth installment of the Flavor series documenting your corner of the midwest scene so let's get everyone up to speed. When did you start this series and what inspired you to document the goings-on in Ohio blading?


Ryan: I created a video called Upgrade before the first Savor the Flavor in ‘06. This new video was originally going to be called Downgrade because we're all older and I just thought it was a funny degrading joke, haha. The first Savor the Flavor came out in ‘08.

I’m not exactly sure what inspired the series to get started as a whole. We have always had a very long and interesting history here in Dayton with rollerblading that I don’t think a lot of people are aware of. A lot of great skaters have come from here (Ben Schwab, Richie Velasquez, Mark Rittenhouse, Omar Wysong). I think after that era of rollerblading was done I was just so in love with skate videos that I wanted to start a series that tried to be as fun as possible and really made people want to go out and actually skate.  I also think at the time we were doing a very different type of skating that you see a lot more nowadays and I wanted to show that type of stuff to people. I had a hard time connecting with rollerblading throughout my early 20’s and the first couple videos in the series are sort of a reaction to that.

 Tim Sloan | Fishbrain Heel Roll

Tim Sloan | Fishbrain Heel Roll

The Flavor series spans a the better part of a decade and in all that time trends have come and gone, blading was almost saved half a billion times, pros quit and companies folded but regional scenes live on. Looking at blading through the lens of your series what sort of changes have you noticed personally?

Ryan: I have always used the Flavor videos as a way for me to personally try and connect with what I originally loved about rollerblading and friendship, so nothing has changed there. Obviously a lot has changed in the past 10-15 years. I think rollerblading is at an AMAZING point right now. The variety you see in the sport nowadays, I mean, it’s just…incredible. I feel like I get inspired consistently on a daily basis by the stuff I see. Best of all I actually connect and relate to the skating going on these days! Sometimes I say to myself, “Whooooa, shit! I could maybe try what he did there.” I rarely had that kind of reaction 10-15 years ago. The scale of the tricks were just so large and intimidating, and if I’m being honest, kind of boring at times. Nowadays there is something for everyone and it’s just GREAT.

 Kyle Jordan | Soul to toe bonk

Kyle Jordan | Soul to toe bonk

Rollerblading has been embracing it's less serious side in recent years, people have been open to much more creative skating, and this video is a great example of that. What's been influencing you guys and getting you hyped lately?

Ryan: The creativity was running very high for this video.  Each session we would feed off each other’s ideas and really try and add something unique to each clip, which I hope comes through in the video. This video was filmed in a short amount of time and we were pushing each other pretty hard to think of interesting footage. For what inspires me personally - I really love what both Dirtbox & Bacemint are doing. I really enjoy the subtle nuances they layer into both the spots they pick to skate and the tricks they actually decide to do there. It’s really fantastic being able to rewatch those clips over and over pick up new aspects. It reminds me of some of the first skate videos I had in the late 90’s and how much joy it gave me to notice these new things on repeated viewings.  I personally feel some of that was lost as time went on and it’s great to see that level of thought being put into tricks again.

 Brandon Ballog | Unity - Backslide - Fishbrain

Brandon Ballog | Unity - Backslide - Fishbrain

Tell us a little about filming, did you guys do any traveling for Flavor 6? 

Ryan: We didn’t do so much traveling for this video, but I was heading to Columbus or Cincinnati about every weekend. Both have some awesome spots that make for some interesting footage.  Of course some of the footage is from Dayton, but I have really great friends in both other cities and those places are fun to explore.

savor the flavor 1.jpg

Do you have any good stories from filming you'd like to share?

Ryan: Nothing specific, but my friend Alex broke his leg while filming for this video and it really sucked. I just want to say I hope he gets better and we all cannot wait to skate again with him. I would also like to thank Tim Sloan for helping me film. He is a GREAT filmer and this video really could not have happened without him. I also would just like thank everyone that showed me around and didn’t kill me when I goofed up filming a clip. Continuing to have great friends and this amount of fun as we all get older is VERY special to me. I love and deeply appreciate you all and for being a part of my video.

 Broken Alex.

Broken Alex.

If you could go back to 2007 and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be? (apart from buying bitcoin)

Ryan: Man I tried to understand Bitcoin…like, I really tried…I’m way too dumb.

There is obviously A LOT I would tell myself. I think one of the main things I would say is things are going to change and to let them be. Impermanence is reality and you should try your best to both accept and become in sync with that realization. This is not far off from the advice I’m sure I will have to give myself in another ten years!

 Ryan Benner | Some sort of stall thing

Ryan Benner | Some sort of stall thing

Well speaking of the future, what's the next year lookin' like for Ohio blading? Is there anything we should be on the lookout for?

Ryan: I doubt I will make another Flavor video for a while. I have been thinking of creating a Flying Eagle Ohio team video of some sort but I need to come up with a game plan for that.

Alright Ryan well thanks for taking some time to chat with us and congrats on another great entry in the Flavor series. Got any shoutouts before we wrap things up here?

Ryan: I would like to give a shout out to Elliot Feltner ( I assume most people in rollerblading know his story by now ) as he continues his progress in California with his stem cell treatment. I would also like to give a shout out to Flying Eagle Skates for always supporting us. Oh! I also want to say this is the best video I ever made because I cut out the fat....so basically Andrew Thompson.