Jacksonville is a town that embraces all facets of skating. From the young bucks still agile- (crazy-) enough to sacrifice their bodies leaping over massive stair sets, to the blue-collar pool skaters frequenting Kona Skate Park’s Old School Night; all are welcome, and encouraged, to shred.
And if we look to the fringes of skating in Northeast Florida, we’ll find a sub-group that glides under the radar: roller skaters. At first glance it may be difficult to see the connection between skateboarding and roller skating. Historically, however, you may recall that the first skateboards were made from sawed-in-half roller skates (or quads) affixed to a two-by-four.
And, truth be told, in the decades since skateboards became the dominant mode of four-wheeled self-expression, roller skating did not lay dormant, confined to the safety of the roller rinks. The Roller Derby has given quads a violent-and-aggressive edge.
Six years ago, a video produced by Bones Bearings showcased a quad-bound Michelle Steilen (AKA Estro Jen) roller skating a series of street spots in impressive fashion. The edit brought to light a small movement of aggressive roller skating that seemed poised to emerge from the underground. Likewise, Jacksonville has its own acolytes of the quad life. We caught up with a couple members of the budding local roller community to see what’s up and capture them in action.
“We currently meet up every Monday at Kona on ladies night,” Says Roesler. “It’s a slow night and a great environment to learn! Hopefully this will inspire some people to lace up and shred with us.”
On March 27 and 28 Cheezeballs bearings hosts a roller skate clinic at Kona Skate Park in Arlington, featuring with the some of biggest names in roller skating teaching classes.
This article originally appeared as the Skate Column in Void Magazine’s March 2020 issue.