What began as a local mama looking to create a skating group has turned into a roller-skating community wheeling across the Santa Clarita Valley.
In less than a month, Skate Mamas of SCV have garnered nearly 450 members, with dozens gathering in socially distanced meetups to skate around the SCV.
“It’s just exploded,” said Dawn Walker, the group’s founder, adding that members range from women in their 40s and 50s, who used to skate when they were kids, to kids learning to skate for the first time, along with everyone in between, including some men and children.
The SCV is not the only place this trend has emerged, as roller skating has, in fact, made a major comeback during a pandemic that only safely allows for outdoor, distanced activities.
‘It just blew up’
Walker got the itch to pick up skating again after her daughter purchased some skates a couple months ago.
“It was more like an inner-child thing — I wanted to do something that I did when I was a kid,” she said.
After skating for a few weeks on her own, it occurred to her that might be other moms out there trying to re-learn skating, so she posted on a Santa Clarita community page, asking just that.
Walker was immediately flooded with responses, deciding then to create a group for anyone interested.
By that evening, Skating Mamas of SCV had been formed, and soon, members were suggesting the group get together and skate at Central Park.
“The first big one, there was like 30 people that came out and skated,” Walker added.
The group has continued to grow, with other members hosting their own skate meetups across the SCV.
“They’re skating in Castaic, they’re skating on the Paseos, they’re skating at Central Park,” Walker said.
A revival of the roller rink kids
For some, it’s the nostalgia that brought them back to their skating days, and most of the group are, in fact, returning skaters from their childhood, but for others, it’s the community they’ve found.
“It’s just brought this community of skaters together that no one even thought existed,” Walker said. “People are just so excited and happy. Happy to get out, happy to have other people that are into the same thing they are. It’s just sweet.”
Nadine Romero, another skater who’s been part of the group since its inception, agreed, adding, “I hadn’t really considered that there might be hundreds of other women or people in Santa Clarita who would be interested in doing the same thing.”
That is until she was tagged in Walker’s post.
“There are all levels of skaters from beginner, intermediate to advanced and expert,” Romero said of the group. “It’s been fantastic.”
She, too, was a roller rink kid, recalling skating daily back in the 70s with metal wheels and across Venice Beach.
Skates have been flying off the shelves, so much so that Romero waited months before deciding to splurge on a marked-up pair for her birthday.
For Romero, who has been skating every day since, it’s like she’s rediscovered a passion.
“I have been roller skating in Valencia just on the streets and whatever paved surfaces I can find that don’t have too many cracks or crevices since October,” she said.
Romero’s even been able to get her 23-year-old son into skating, after she purchased her son his first pair of skates for Christmas.
“That was his first time ever being on roller skates, and he’s already doing 180s in the air jumping off the stairs,” she said.
While skeptical at first, her son joined the group for the first time last week and had a blast, according to Romero.
Get out, get rolling
Skating has provided a source of exercise, socialization and respite for many, as we approach the year mark since a stay-at-home order was implemented.
“It’s so nice to get outside,” Walker said. “It’s a way to be social, and we’re distancing but still have fun together. It’s also bringing my family closer because everybody’s trying different things on wheels.”
Now, Walker and the group are hoping to convince the city of Santa Clarita of creating a skating rink so they can have a safe place to skate.
In the meantime, she encourages anyone who’d like to join the group to come out and give it a try.
The group meets weekly 4 p.m. Saturdays at the Central Park basketball courts. For more information on Skating Mamas of SCV, visit bit.ly/SkatingMamasSCV.
Skating tips and tricks
“Bone and muscle density diminish as we get older,” Kaiser Permanente Lifestyle Educator MariaElena Alberici said. “As a result, older adults especially should exercise caution when considering an activity such as roller skating.”
- If you’re interested in getting into skating, Walker suggests joining the Skate Mamas of SCV group, as many members have great advice. There’re no requirements — you don’t even have to own skates yet, Walker said.
- Prepare yourself by research skate video tutorials if you’re just starting out. With the resurgence of skating comes plenty of how-to videos, ranging from what to purchase to how to fall correctly.
- Warming up and stretching is important before a skate session, as skating uses different muscles than you’d use walking.
- Those who are older and want to get into skating should consult with their doctors or physical/fitness therapist before doing so.
- Be sure to purchase safety equipment, including knee and elbow pads, wrist guards, and a helmet, among other items.
- Carry a skate tool with you in case something breaks, and be sure to check your equipment before you start skating.