Skateboarding and roller skating ramp up in popularity


On campus, skateboarding and roller skating were creative alternatives to walking around the uphill steeps, but off-campus, skating has helped CPP students coast through these stressful times of social distancing.

“Skateboarding takes your mind off of everything,” said Adrian Gonzalez, a second-year electromechanical system engineering technology student. “I think it’s something important to me because I find it really fun and stress-relieving.”

While skateboarding three to four hours a week, Gonzalez found the time to learn skateboard tricks in May, an activity he never had time to do despite his eight years of experience riding his board from place to place.

The rising trend in skateboarding has resulted in the global skateboard market to estimate $1.96 billion in total market size in 2019, expected to reach $2 billion in 2020 according to Grand View Research, a U.S. based market research company. According to the study, street boards continue to be the most sold skateboard in the market behind cruiser boards.

Skating has become a unique part of CPP campus culture. (Courtesy of Daniel Stone)

Roller skates, the other latest hot wheels on the market, saw a spike in Google Trends searches in May after a surge of viral videos. The popularity of roller skating was gradually decreasing from 2006 to 2017, according to a statistical study on Statista, but skyrocketed 300% percent in sales for the company Rollerblade during March through May, as the company experienced its largest shipping month in over 20 years, according to Snow Industry News.

“Skating for me is a way to not let my illness claim me, it’s a way for me to get out, and be active, and still be able to exercise and do the things I want to do,” said Bethany Murray, a third-year English education student, who has fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain. Murray said she started skating to help with her fitness in spite of her illness.

Murray watched YouTube videos to learn how to roller skate, and had trouble buying skates. Many brands were sold out because of the pandemic, but says she got lucky due to her smaller shoe size buying Impala skates.

Murray loves to see how people posted online videos about their journeys learning to skate, giving her a sense of community during this pandemic.

Roller skater Samantha Felix, a second-year psychology student, has been skating since a young age. “I thought roller-skating was more exciting than skateboarding,” said Felix. “I don’t think everyone should try it. It can be hard and lots of injuries can occur.”

Injuries are common for the roller skating sport, accounting for 100,000 injuries each year according to Brain Line, a national multimedia project offering resources on traumatic brain injuries. The likelihood of the visiting hospital for an inline skating injury is one in 25 every year someone participates in the sport.

“I felt more comfortable skateboarding because I could hop off at any time, and roller skates are stuck to my feet,” said Bryce Wooldridge, a third-year kinesiology student, describing his fear of falling. “I think everyone should try it at least once. You won’t know if you like it until you try it,” said Wooldridge.

Despite the injury risks, roller skating and skateboarding provide not only physical but mental benefits as well. In a recent study from USC, skating improves mental health, fosters community and encourages diversity and resilience.

Some popular skate parks near campus include La Verne Skatepark, a large area with ramps for beginners and Montclair Skatepark which sports skating bowls for experienced skaters looking to practice tricks. Chino Skate Park is another local spot with high ratings on Yelp for its cleanliness and being open to all ages.

Providing students with a sense of freedom while also abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines, third-year sociology student Eric Garcia has skated on and off since he was younger and feels that students should explore what makes skating so fun.

“It’s a different feeling when you’re cruising down the street on your own free time, and at the speed you wish,” said Garcia. “Plus, you can learn tricks and that makes it even more interesting.”

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