Covid Catch-Up: How Bladers Adapted to a Pandemic

Depending on where you live, the current Covid-19 news can be all over the place. The U.S. got its act together and has made serious progress with vaccinations, but other parts of the world are having more difficulty, with a mix of good and not-so-great news coming in waves every day. In order to get a better idea of what’s happening in different areas, we slid into those DMs and asked some active social media posters to share their experiences. Here’s what we found out. Got your own story to share? Drop it in the comments!

* * * *

Rhode Island // Matt Rasmussen

Tell us, how did Covid impact your local scene?
Sitting here now, I feel like I blinked and an entire year blasted by. I got back into skating like 8 years ago and made some awesome skate bros and best friends over that time. So any gap of time without getting together with them to shred definitely sucks. I feel like even though the world was shutting down, people from all over were out still skating street spots, skateparks and P-rails. Some of us were more apprehensive than others for sure, but as soon as tests were available it was a wrap! Jeff building “Hater’s Island” over the summer was definitely a huge game changer too! Tucked away in the woods, it made for an amazing escape from my house and some much needed QT with the homies.

Did any new skaters start blading?
Absolutely! Mainly recreational. I really noticed it when people from my area were reaching out to me on Facebook to ask where to buy rollerblades.

Any former skaters get back into it?
Another big yes! Over the last 8 years I’ve watched the local scenes slowly grow as bladers got back into it. But in the last year it seems like squads multiplied and are rolling pretty deep from Boston to Providence.

Does your area have skateparks?
There are ton of outdoor parks all within an hour’s drive or less. I have a really fun skatepark three miles from my house. And of course, Hater’s Island.

Are they building any more facilities?
Not that I know of.

How did your skate routines change?
Working remotely gave me the opportunity to capitalize on some much needed training! I made a couple of p-rails, then spent a lot of time learning new tricks on them, and breaking down details of tricks I was having trouble with. This translated amazingly to street sessions. I found that my eye foot coordination was so much better and I hesitated way less at scarier spots.

What’s the first event you plan to attend?
I’m the worst at knowing what’s going on in current blading events ever since my daughter was born. I do know that me and the other KOTN guys are planning to throw a street comp soon, for sure! Definitely hitting the BPSO this year. And I really want to go to something further away this year. I’ve never ventured too far for a skate comp.

* * * *

Portland // Dustin Jamieson

Tell us, how did Covid impact your local scene? Any new skaters start blading?
Lots of new skaters, and a good portion of those are women. Shredding with quad skaters has certainly helped build numbers, with people dipping their toes into either Inline or Quads respectively.

Any former skaters get back into it?
Lots of old heads like John Mathis and Antonn Kennedy are back skating weekly.

Does your area have skateparks?
The Portland Metro area is a concrete transition skater’s paradise.

Are they building any more facilities?
Portland has built one new park since the beginning of the pandemic and it’s a mini neighborhood park in Hillsboro.

How did your skate routines change?
Skate routines have definitely changed. Masks are highly encouraged at the weekly Tuesday Night Skate. TNS was also canceled for a few months to help slow the spread. As more and more people get vaccinated, we’ll see more skaters out in person, and not just on their latest practice rail edit on Instagram.

What’s the first event you plan to attend?
With the NWST future up in the air I think many people are looking forward to CORT, and assuming we stay the course on infection rates, Blading Cup.

* * * *

British Columbia // Dustin Werbeski

Tell us, how did Covid impact your local scene?
Living back in Regina, Canada, I am very isolated and have been rolling with just my girlfriend and some skateboarders the last few years. I wouldn’t call this a scene, but luckily it has grown into a tight little crew.

Any new skaters start blading?
I have seen more skaters than ever rolling around our city’s lake. It looks like everyone has a pair of skates in their garage and they’re just starting to dust them off again. Even if it’s just reusing retro gear right now, I am getting asked more and more about where people can buy “modern” aggressive skates in the future. This has also gone for the odd boarder and scooter kid showing interest in switching sports.

Any former skaters get back into it?
My best friend from childhood, Devon Hanofski, just bought new Them’s and has gotten back into it fully. This is really exciting, as he was the one who got me into skating back in the ‘90s.

Does your area have skateparks?
Regina has three cement parks, and one little indoor at the 306 skateboard shop, who’s actually just stocked a few rollerblading brands. Also, all the small towns around seem to be installing skateparks. Even if just pre-fabricated metal ramps, these are great options for everyone.

Are they building any more facilities?
There is talk of our city’s first pump track this summer, and just this last winter it “tried” reopening the old infamous indoor skatepark, but I think it was a fail in comparison. The best efforts have come from the local skateboarders who have cemented their own impressive DIY park called The Boneyard. Lastly, I decided to build The Sega Ramp, a really small, but really fun mini ramp setup in my garage. This allowed me to skate daily, and watch our little crew progress their skills through the few -40 degree months.

How did your skate routines change?
With everything being shutdown, I’ve been hiking trails and exploring nature a lot more, and this has really helped develop my off-road skating. I have found myself focused on this discipline more now than ever, and am really happy with how healthy it has allowed me to feel.

What’s the first event you plan to attend?
I really want to attend another Windy City Riot in Chicago, or head down for my first Blade Cup appearance in California. Any event would be great these days, I really miss socializing and skating with the homies.

* * * *

Gothenburg, Sweden // Ayoub El Gharib

Tell us, how did Covid impact your local scene?
COVID made it a bit harder to skate because all the indoor skateparks closed and the rules changed. But we got the chance sometimes for a street session when the weather was good, or we would rent the indoor skatepark for two hours every two weeks. We could only have 8 people like the rules said, but we still keep skating and trying to make a session every week.

Any new skaters start blading?
Only Lovisa who just started blading. Otherwise I didn’t see any new people just start blading.

Any former skaters get back into it?
Gustav and Henrik are back on their feet after really long time, and that’s makes me really happy cause we got plus two bladers in the crew.

Does your area have skateparks?
There’s indoors and outdoors skateparks, and also outdoor mini ramps in the city.

Are they building any more facilities?
For the moments I didn’t see any news about building new skateparks in Gothenburg (city where I live), but I think they will be installing more skateparks in the coming years.

How did your skate routines change?
Yeah, my skate routines changed a lot after COVID. I don’t skate every time that I wan’t cause the new rules made it harder. For example, we have to rent the indoor skatepark before instead of just go and skate. Sometimes it’s fully booked, and they allowed only eight people inside for two hour sessions. So it’s quite a bit more difficult these days than before. And two hour sessions aren’t enough! So we tried to skate outdoor skatepark or street every time the sun showed up during the weekend.

What’s the first event you plan to attend?
I really wanna skate Barcelona so bad! It’s been a dream for nine years now. I’ve never been there and I really hope to get a chance this summer to go and make this dream come true.

[The END]

Photos from KC Rose, Instagram, and contributors.

Leave A Comment

Categories

Archives