Paul's Blog: Skating in the '80s vs. Today

  • 3 min read

I am a 59-year-old man, born and raised in Lewisham, Catford.  This is my journey into skating, and how I was able to renew my love for the hobby.

I thank God, my Partner, and my daughter, Ma, as without her my skating would be a forgotten memory. My daughter and son , who are twins, bring out my youthful spirit. You are never too old if you just put your mind, heart, soul, and most importantly your passion into whatever you do. You will be amazed at what you can achieve.

This is my story and journey on how I started skating. So let us begin with when I started skating in the ‘80s, and how that differs from skating in 2024. 

Part 1

 At the beginning of the ‘80s, roller skating was few and far in-between as people in England thought this would be an overnight fad. Ice skating/ice hockey was the thing in the 80’s. My two older brothers used to take me to Streatham Ice Rink in southeast London. We were all skating in the boots that the ice rink provided, and anyone who had their ice skates which they purchased themselves was classed as a professional in my eyes. I befriended my school bully, who was the tallest kid in my year and the top scorer on the school’s basketball team. Maybe that’s why he introduced me to his handmade skateboard. His board was made with metal trucks that you could widen and split into two halves, with straps and those hard black wheels, which he attached to a thick 3-foot plank of wood. We went to our local park which had a couple of big hills. I still have the scars from that day on the back of my shoulders and knees, and various scars from falls on both of my knees; every scar I have tells a story. In those times we never heard of elbow or knee pads. Who would’ve thought a grit-like piece of stone could cause so much damage, but that never deterred me from becoming the better skater that I wanted to  be. As the saying goes “If you fall just get yourself up.” Easy to do when you are 11-12 years old, you just bounce yourself back up. It takes a little bit more time when you are 59 years old. I so wanted my own pair of skates to the point I entered a competition in a national newspaper to win one, but with no luck. But fortune was going to turn in my favor, as one of my older brothers just started working in a sports and toy shop. My brother had no interest in roller skates, so why did he bring home a pair of red velvet wheeled disco skates, which were his size but could fit me ? Temptation of course took the better of me one fine day, I felt like Charlie when he had the golden ticket to Wonka’s chocolate factory. The skates were brand new and not used, so why was my brother baiting me? He was like the fishing hook with bait, and me the fish. While he was at work one day, I took the pair of skates to my local park. I skated to the park with no problem, going up a not-so-steep hill. I skated around the whole of the park, practicing various moves and tricks and gaining confidence during the time I was there. When I felt that I had practiced long enough I decided to skate back home. Now, that not-so-steep hill looks easy to skate down, but when the speed overcomes you, and swaying from side to side does not slow you down, what do you do? Do I apply my toe stoppers? The more I kept thinking about what I was going to do, the more my speed increased, and then the worst thing possible started to happen…

Stay tuned for Part 2!