Back in 2001, the BBC found out about "freestyle walking" and then ultimately found my old soap shoes website, brooksfsw.com. I agreed to interview with them as they hilariously poked fun at me and my shoes.
Interview Transcript Wendy: I'm Wendy Douglas Brendan: and I'm Brendan Coogan and I'm a scary mother. Wendy: Tonight we find out about - wait for it - freestyle walking. Brendan: And guess what, it's from America - what a surprise.
... Wendy: Now we've found out about some strangely titled sports in the past but tonight we've got one for you that might make you think we're taking the mick. Brendan: Freestyle walking is something we picked up from the web and while surfing around we found a site called BrooksFSW.com and had to find out more so joining us on the line is Derek Brooks from Illinois, U.S. of A. Wendy: How are you doing? Derek: I'm doing great. Wendy: Cool. Now tell us what freestyle walking is all about. Derek: Alright, umm. Well, there's actually 2 forms of freestyle walking. There's the old school stuff - people used to just jump around and jump off stuff and all that. But that's kinda out now. Uh, there's a company called Soap - they make these shoes now. and they make these shoes that have a grind plate. It's a plastic plate actually in the arch of the shoe and they allow you to grind objects, you can slide down handrails and anything like that. Wendy: Well that's not really walking, is it? Derek: Uh, not exactly, but it's different than skating. I mean, you just walk up to the rail you jump up and you can grind down it. Wendy: Ah, I understand, that's where the walking comes into it. Derek: Right, heh. Brendan: So what kind of equipment do you need? You mentioned these special shoes. Is that it? Derek: Uh, yeah - that's all you really need. Soap shoes. Brendan: Are they expensive? Derek: No, they're an average price - the price of normal shoes. They range anywhere from 70-130 U.S. dollars Brendan: So Derek, how did you get into this? Were you just walking along one day and you saw a rail and you thought, "hey I'm gonna slide down that" Derek: Uh, no actually, there's a guy named Chris Morris. In 1997 he had the idea, he was a former inline skater. He had the idea and made the shoes. They were a big hit. One of my friends from school had em and he got me into it. Wendy: So how long have you been doing it, Derek? Derek: Umm, about 2 years. Brendan: Have you had any accidents? have you any broken bones, yet? Derek: Uh, no broken bones, but I have had a couple accidents. Wendy: Why do you do it? Because to us, it does seem a little bit strange Derek: It sounds a little bit strange? Wendy: Yea. It looks a little bit strange as well. We checked out the uh, the website. Why do you do it? Derek: Uh, it's fun, it's a challenge. I dunno, it's just something, different. Brendan: We were looking at the downloads on the web and we thought, "this guy's just had his skateboard micked and he's just forgotten and carried on" It looks like you kind of, you know, you need some skates. Derek: Uh, yeah I've gotten that from a few people. It's just I dunno. It's not really a sport, we don't really consider it a sport. It's more of an activity, it's something you can do while you're out. Like, most people don't just go out and say, I'm gonna go grind some rails or go soaping or whatever. Like if you're out at the mall and you see a rail that's inside the mall or something, you just jump up and grind the whole thing and people look at ya, they're like, "whoa what the hell was that?" or something. Brendan: Now, do you get funny looks? Obviously you say you're down at the mall, you're kinda grinding the rail, do you get funny looks? Derek: Well some people will give you a funny look, some people will think, "whoa that was really cool, how'd you do that?" So I show them the shoes - they usually totally dig the shoes. Wendy: So Derek, where can we find out more about this interesting pastime? Derek: You can look at one of my friend's sites, his name is Brendan Smith actually, he's got a site called relatevideos.com. You can go there, he has like a full length soaping video. It's got some amazing tricks in it, and you can buy that from his website. Brendan: Alright, cheers Derek. Listen - good luck with your soaping videos. Thanks for talking to us on the score. Derek: Alright, Thank you.