That’s how Andy Duran describes the sensation of driving a skateboard.
“Imagine your favorite song and then suddenly being able to kind of feel the song moving through you in the wind,” Duran stated. “That’s what skating kind of feels like. It just feels really beautiful.”
Duran grew up skateboarding in California’s Bay Area within the late Nineties and early 2000s. Now 36 years previous and knowledgeable intercourse educator in Oakland, California, he discovered himself caught at residence when the pandemic hit. That’s when he acquired the urge to get rolling once more.
Once he started wanting on-line for brand spanking new gear, nonetheless, he was stunned by the shortage of sources and data for obese skaters. Duran presently weighs over 300 kilos and identifies as “fat.” Many of the boards had weight limitations under 300 kilos and discovering the correct pad sizes and equipment was troublesome. Even plus-size skating t-shirts have been scarce.
“I would see that they didn’t sell shirt sizes past large, and it immediately made me feel like they had an idea who was going to be a skater. It felt like I couldn’t even be a fan.”
“I was surprised to be met with weight limits (on skateboards) that were weights that I was above when I was skateboarding in middle school and high school. I was a fat kid growing up for sure,” Duran stated. “I was 250 pounds or so in high school, and I still have that deck (the flat part of a skateboard) to this day. I’ve never broken it.”
Grinding for good
Duran needed to show that folks of all sizes might skateboard and hoped he might encourage others. He started posting movies of himself and associates skating, however he was disenchanted to see the unfavourable feedback roll in.
“We were immediately hit with fat phobia comments about our body size, comments about what the material of our skateboards or skates should be made out of to hold us. It can definitely be heartbreaking when you’re trying to create this visibility and knowing that the visibility also opens the door for more attacks.”
He needed to start out Chub Rollz as a secure area open to plus-size folks eager to study and skate collectively – be it on a skateboard, curler skates or some other sort of wheels. The group hosts month-to-month meet-ups, and Duran arrives early to set out skateboards, pads and equipment to assist anyone eager to cease by and provides skating a shot.
“You don’t have to be Tony Hawk to enjoy this. It can be really beneficial,” Duran stated. “I feel very free to be in my body and be myself on a skateboard.”
Besides being body-positive, Duran, who’s Black and Mexican, is proud that Chub Rollz is “BIPOC-founded” and led by a “queer and trans team.”
The group is striving to make sure everybody feels welcomed and secure within the new neighborhood they’re constructing, he stated. “We can showcase what this community looks like in full and not just what the advertisements look like or what the professional athletes look like.”
About 20 skaters a month have been collaborating within the group’s skating meet-up classes, and other people all throughout the United States and as far-off as Australia and South Africa have taken half within the group’s digital discussions.
Duran says that one factor that units Chub Rollz other than different plus-size teams is that weight reduction just isn’t an element. The aim is simply to have folks skating and transferring for enjoyable.
“The reality is that bodies are just as they are. Some bodies are big, and some bodies are not, and some bodies will fluctuate,” says Duran. “Not everybody who is fat is actually looking to change that in any way. We just have to create safe spaces for fat folks to be themselves and to explore and move as they like.”