A certain activity has become quite popular and now that summer is here, lockdown is being lifted, people are now able to meet again, it’s becoming even more prominent: inline and roller skating. Skating over the last year has really grown in popularity, it seems every time I go on Instagram these days, my Explore page fills up with skating videos and reels. This sudden trend has also made its way into fashion and marketing with the return of popular 60s – 90s styles, and large companies partnering with skater crews all over London to market their products and/or service.
I myself have been skating for about 7 years and since then I’ve never seen such a surge. It’s really nice to see a community that I’ve been a part of for about a third of my life grow like this. The community is amazing. It has brought people of all ages and backgrounds together to form a kind of extended family. It does feel like a family reunion when you go to a skate location like Hyde Park, where people spend a full day skating, bring food and drink, portable speakers, good vibes and tear up the floor with some fancy footwork. It really is a good day out if you’re looking to try something new. And if you’re nervous about going because you’re scared about falling and people laughing at you don’t be, the community is really supportive and here’s why.
For some, skating isn’t just for fun. It has become a huge part of their life or their way of life, they live it and breathe it. Many started doing it as kids and it’s been a passion for them ever since that they’ve kept up well into adulthood and want to share that with others. For some people it’s an escape, helps them deal with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety or keeps them out of trouble and stops them from falling in with the wrong crowd by being around people who teach one another. The skater community is great because they teach one another and build each other up, not just when you fall but also in life. As I mentioned before, everyone is a different age and background with different experiences to share, so you may walk… skate away with more than just knowing how to shuffle and chop.
What can you bring to the skate ring?
With the diverse mixture of people comes a mixture of culture. People from all over come together to express themselves on the roller skate dance floor. I’ve seen some extraordinary people jump in and perform some amazing feats on skates from salsa and kizomba, body popping and breakdancing, 60s/70s disco dancing, dancehall, soca on skates and more. If you’re coming from another country and are looking for a way to live it and share it with people then going to one of these skate meets could be the answer you’re looking for.
I’ve been skating for about 7 years. I started at 17 in the Stratford Center with my friends who had started skating years before me. It started as a way to get included in another activity with my new friends. I had just moved back to the country and coming from a small town in Spain to London I was keen to try new things as everything was new and exciting. Getting to meet people outside of my immediate circle of friends was great as I now shared a common interest with lots of people which really helped boost my confidence as everyone was so friendly and eager to teach me. Every Friday night I went skating to practice and improve, trying all kinds of silly things on skates with my friends. As time has gone on life does have a way of keeping you busy, so I skate much less now. I’ve become more of a summertime skater, when the sun’s out, roll out. It’s a great activity that I would highly recommend you try and I would definitely go to an event if you ever get the opportunity regardless of your skill as everyone there is there to have fun.
All I can say to you is, if you want to try something new, if you want to be a part of something, if you’re sat down wondering whether to give this a go or not then my words to you are ‘Do it’. You have nothing to lose, this is an amazing experience that in the future you will look back on fondly, so take the plunge, buy some skates and come on out. Some good free outdoor places to skate are Hyde Park, Greenwich O2, Clapham Common Park and more. Rollernation in Tottenham and DX’s Rollerworld in Colchester are 2 popular indoor skate rinks where you can also hire skates if you don’t have your own.
I look forward to seeing you out there chopping it up and grape vining.