Outdoor Skaters Unite!

Philly skater Cohen Thompson has been making headlines for his incredible skating ability, and once again for his efforts to bring outdoor roller skating to his community.

So happy to see that community leaders are supporting this. Too often I’ve seen skaters shooed out of public parks and recreation areas just for trying to exercise the way they choose.

Why do cities prioritize space for tennis courts for a chosen few, when we could invest in multi-purpose areas for more varied interests and serve more of the community?

Now that more skaters are having to roll outside, due to the Co-vid19 pandemic, conversations with our community leaders and park officials are going to be very important. Skaters are going to need to coordinate and show up in numbers so that we can’t be ignored.

A few years ago, I interviewed one of the most successful community advocates for outdoor roller skating. David Miles Jr., San Francisco’s “Godfather of Skate.” Over the last 40 years, he has developed a very vibrant and successful skate community producing over 2000 skate events, many which have been featured in national magazines including Sports Illustrated and on the front page of newspapers throughout the country.

Since arriving in California from Kansas City in 1979, D has developed great working relationships with the local government in the city and county of San Francisco to create a positive image for skaters and help implement laws that benefit skaters.

Here again are his thoughts on how to start, and grow a thriving outdoor skating community in your city!

David Miles Jr. is the owner of the Church of 8 Wheels, San Francisco, CA. Since co-vid shut down his rink, he recently added an online skate shop offering official Church of 8 Wheels skates, wheels and accessories.

Black Roller Skating Appreciation Post

The recent rash of headlines touting the new “TikTok roller skating trend” reminded me a lot about why I started my website and social media pages back in 2014.

I was struck by how often media coverage on roller skating was centered around white women in some strange, exclusionary form of “girl power.” I had been an avid roller skater for nearly 5 years by then. Although I am white, I didn’t look like that, and neither did the people I skated with. My intention was to use my privilege to amplify those who weren’t being seen.

Many of these articles centered skating around white influencers and erased the African-American communities that have been nurturing and elevating this activity for decades. 

On top of that, some were quick to capitalize; positioning themselves as the gatekeepers of some skating “revival.” Never turning down the spotlight, they could be seen taking credit for, and profiting from, dances and skills they took from the culture, but did not create.

Both types of passive and active whitewashing send the unfortunate message that black skaters and their beloved activity didn’t really matter until white people discovered it. It also prevents black talent from receiving any media recognition or compensation.

Despite black skaters’ apparent erasure from the press, they have had some of the most significant impact on our culture.

Even the film makers of the 2018 HBO documentary “United Skates” embarked on their original journey thinking that roller skating was dying off with the last of the original New York “roller disco” skaters. They soon learned that there was a whole vibrant movement of adult roller skating they’d never heard of. To their credit, they worked tirelessly with those skaters for over 5 years to get their story told on a bigger scale.

Prior to that, Tyrone Dixon released his independent documentary, “8 Wheels and some Soul Brotha Music” in 2004 to critical acclaim. Without these films, the media has virtually ignored black roller skating culture.

In an attempt to course correct, some authors have recently taken up the cause to remind people how the roots of modern skating stem from the civil rights movement. While skating does indeed bears roots in the struggle of racism, we must not overlook the positive and joyful contributions the black community has made to modern skating culture.

When the media continues to portray skaters as majority white, retro, eye candy, or conversely when black skaters are only represented by their racial trauma, they are missing out on the cutting edge of music, dance, fashion, style, etc.

This is a vibrant and important culture still fighting racist policies, continued gentrification, and historical erasure. Black skaters deserve to have their contributions acknowledged, respected and appreciated at the forefront of cultural conversations, not as a footnote.

Roller Disco Party Playlist #1

Skate music has it’s own unique groove to give you that “roll, bounce” action. There’s a reason that people have been rolling to these great old school tunes for decades!

For those on Spotify, I’ve put together for you 4 hours of roller disco fun! These songs are the real deal! This is a loose recreation of one of my DJ sets at San Francisco’s Church of 8 Wheels.

For best results, let it flow. Do not shuffle!

White Chocolate’s Roller Disco Party #1 – #RollWithSoul

Overcoming the Fear of Falling

One of the biggest obstacles that new or returning skaters face is the fear of falling.
Surprisingly, it’s not always the bumps and the bruises that will keep you down, it’s your mindset.

Watch below as I string together some sentences on the topic of falling.

Note: I do mention some fundamental techniques that are not actually shown in the video. For safety, I highly recommend learning those with an in-person instructor.
To find an instructor near you, search this database of SkateIA Instructors

More videos to come on various aspects of skating, so stay tuned!

Roll With Soul® Skate Tees

A few years into my skating journey, I was frustrated that I never could find any roller skating themed apparel that reflected the community of skaters that I belonged to. That’s when I started creating new roller skating themed shirt designs, and eventually launched Roll With Soul® skate gear!

In my 20+ year career as a professional designer, I’ve designed apparel for some of the biggest names in entertainment including Usher, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Coldplay, and even classic bands like The Beatles.

So you know these are premium designs you’ll LOVE to show off at your next skate party. That’s because they are designed by a SKATER, for SKATERS.

SHOP TODAY: Roll With Soul Shop

(Make sure to join my facebook page, to receive news on sales and discount codes!)

How to Start a Skate Movement in Your Town

One of the things that frustrates roller skaters the most is the struggle to find a safe place to skate.
Rinks across the country are closing due to skyrocketing costs of land and insurance. Some places don’t even have rinks.
It’s a hardknock life, for us!

During my skating journey, I’ve been lucky to meet and work with one of the most successful community advocates for roller skating here in San Francisco. David Miles Jr. The Godfather of Skate. Over the last 3 decades, he has developed a very vibrant and successful skate community producing over 2000 skate events, many which have been featured in national magazines including Sports Illustrated and on the front page of newspapers throughout the country.

Since arriving in California from Kansas City in 1979, David has developed great working relationships with the local government in the city and county of San Francisco to create a positive image for skaters and help implement laws that benefit skaters.

I thought I would go straight to the source when it comes to finding out how to he created all this from the ground up. So during a break between sessions at the popular “Church of 8 Wheels” I asked him to share some ideas on how anyone can do it in their own community.

Straight from the Godfather to you…

Be sure to let me know if you start something in your community. You can comment below, or join me on Facebook and tell us about it!
Keep Rollin!!

5 Tips for New Skaters

Did Santa bring you some roller skates for Christmas?
Did you recently have a birthday or other celebration and received some roller skates?
Perhaps you’ve treated yourself to the gift of roller skating?

Congratulations!! Now what?

Here’s a few tips to quickly get you started on your new wheels:

1. Invest in some protective gear
A set of knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards are found at your local sporting goods store for relatively low cost. A helmet is also recommended.

Seriously, don’t skip this part. It’s too important when you’re just starting out. An injury can not only hurt your body, but your confidence too. Totally preventable. Protective gear is a simple way to minimize the inevitable bumps of bruises of learning along the way.

2. Take a Lesson
Youtube videos and books are great, but nothing beats real-time feedback and motivation. A good instructor will help you learn proper fundamentals and stop any bad habits before they start. You simply can’t get that from a video. An instructor will probably also have good nuggets of info on gear, places to skate, etc.

If you have a local roller rink, check to see if they offer lessons. If you don’t have a rink in your local area, search this directory to find a certified skate instructor in your area.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay area, I am a certified skate instructor and would be happy to help.
Click for more info on private lessons with me.

3. Make friends with falling
Falling is a part of skating. (believe me, I do it all the time.)
Steps 1 & 2 are essential to this process. There is a correct way to fall. Make sure to learn it.

4. Allow yourself to be a beginner
Even if you’ve skated previously, cut yourself some slack if it doesn’t come as easily as you hoped. I didn’t start out skating the way I do now. It took a bit of practice.

Strive for greatness, but make sure your expectations of yourself are realistic. Take it slow and progress in a way that feels good to you – don’t worry about what others are doing.

5. Have fun!
Remember why you wanted to skate in the first place. Roller skating is super fun!!

Enjoy! Happy Skating!

#RollWithSoul

New Year Skate Motivation

It’s that time of the year again, where we start thinking about starting the new year off with a renewed determination to eat better and exercise more. #NewYearsResolutions

I’m right there with you! For me, this year’s wedding planning and a busy work schedule dropped my skate nights from 3-4 a week to about 1. Dreadful. This is no way to live!

Time to get back on track!

Exercise_Meme

All exercise is great, but as the picture demonstrates, skaters have the advantage to keep up healthy habits because skating is fun and enjoyable!

Here’s a couple tips to stay motivated!

1. Remember why you skate.
Big smiles? (See above photo.) The great music? How about the sweet, sweet feeling of the wind blowing through your hair? Getting love from your skate crew? All these are great reasons to lace up!!

2. Give yourself a micro-challenge
Practice a new skill, or work on a move that’s been giving you trouble for awhile. Mastering a new skill will open many new doors to new ones! Level up!

3. Take photos and videos to share!
Post photos and videos of your skating so that your friends and family can see what you’re up to and cheer on your progress! Maybe they’ll want to join you! (We can’t let those CrossFitters have all the fun!) Create a visual reminder of your journey (See #1).

4. Post-Skate High
Get those endorphins pumping! A great skate brings out the natural feel-good vibes and keeps the motivation going! You’ll feel your body getting stronger and leaner as well!

5. Take a skating class or private lesson
A great way to work out those nervous kinks. Let a certified skate instructor show you the fundamentals! If you already know how, a private lesson can help you unlearn any bad habits and provide some fine-tuning to unlock your full potential. With both money and time invested, you’ll be more likely to keep at it!

If you live in the San Francisco area, I can help! Learn more here.

Good luck in the new year skaters!

Whatever you do, keep rolling!
#SkateEveryDamnDay #RollWithSoul

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Rink Safety Infographic

Roller skating is super fun, but it also involves some risk.

If we all respect one another and follow the same general guidelines we can make skating a fun and SAFE experience for everyone! This prevents people from getting injured and keeps rink owners from getting sued and going out of business.

I’ve created this handy safety infographic to help educate parents and others who may be new to the rink environment. These guidelines are geared toward the average, all-ages public session. Other adult sessions may have additional guidelines so be sure to pay attention to your surroundings.

Please feel free to share. Sharing is caring!
(Click the image to view/download the full size version.)

Download a 11×17 printable PDF here!

Rink Safety Infographic

Skate Party Tips!!

I LOVE a good roller disco party!! I enjoy sharing my passion with skaters and non-skaters alike. However, it’s a complete bummer when a few people are acting thoughtlessly and ruining all the fun. Safety is extremely important so that we can ALL enjoy ourselves without fear or frustration.

In the spirit of education & fun, I’d like to share some basic tips and etiquette for your next skate shindig;

1. The Glide Lane
This is where you generally find people skating around in a large circle (Counter-clockwise, unless the DJ says otherwise). Try to maintain the pace of the general flow.

  • Please don’t skate against traffic for any reason. If your friend falls, don’t turn around and start going the wrong way to retrieve them. Chances are, they are fine and they will catch up with you. If not, a more experienced skater can help your friend and prevent other skaters from falling over them.
  • If you fall, no big deal, just GET UP. Especially on a crowded floor. Oncoming traffic does NOT STOP.
  • If you’re at a crowded party, it’s probably not the best time to try and learn how to skate backwards or some other super crazy move you’ve never done before.
  • Experienced skaters, don’t stop and bust a move in glide lane where everyone has to stop or skate around you. Keep it moving, you know better.

2. The Middle
This is an area reserved for skate/line dancing. This area is for slightly more experienced skaters who wish to practice/perform moves that can’t be safely done in the glide lane.

  • NO PARKING ON THE DANCE FLOOR. (Please do not stand in this area.)
  • ONLY if the session is not crowded, this can be a good place to practice. Just make sure to keep watch for others. (Especially over your shoulder.)
  • Seasoned skaters, please look out for each other as well.
  • If for some reason you don’t have skates on and still wish to dance, please DON’T dance anywhere in the skate area. Because space is very limited, it’s very dangerous and you are basically in the way of all the people trying to skate.


Or I’ll be forced to give you a ticket, so GIT WITH IT!

3. Skating in Large Groups
Everyone loves to skate with a buddy, (COUPLES SKATE!) but if you’re with a large group of pals huddling around talking, or hand-to-hand in a chain, please know that you could be a potential road hazard. If people cannot move around you and cannot stop, they may have to run into you and no one wants that. Break it up every once in awhile so people can pass.

4. Horseplay/Showing off
Please remember a roller disco party is not a race or a derby bout. Please don’t chase others, play tag or any other kind of fast, erratic skating. Predictability is important in a crowded area of less-experienced skaters.

Also, don’t be that person who starts showing out beyond your actual skill level and winds up wiping out and taking a bunch of people down with them. It does not make you look cool or impress anyone, it makes you look like an obnoxious JERK. (And you could seriously hurt yourself or some one else.)

5. Food/Drink
NEVER EVER bring food or drink onto the skate floor. I mean EVER! If you do accidentally spill something, make an effort to clean it up. (Your MOM doesn’t work here.) Spilled liquid on a skate floor is EXTREMELY dangerous. Try to find someone to help locate a mop/towel, or at the very least try to alert oncoming skaters that there has been a spill.

6. HAVE FUN!!
Above all, just be friendly and courteous, the same way you’d like to be treated. Be aware of who is around you at all times. Respect the space and the rights of other skaters who are also just there to have a funky good time!

Was there anything I missed? Did you have an experience you wanted to share? Am I just a big party pooper? 😉
Leave a comment below!