Bikes and boards move over... roller skates are back in style! Over the last year, skates have made a comeback, thanks to people wanting to spend time outside while keeping up their sense of personal style. These days, you'll spot plenty of riders skating around their city, doing tricks at the local skate park, dancing around the beach boardwalk, and more.
Roller skating has a longer history than you might think, with the earliest roller skates ever known from 18th century Europe. The first roller rinks became popular in the early 1900s, and by the 1950s, recreational roller skating, speed skating, and roller derby were popular pastimes.
In the 1970s and 80s, roller disco used skating, dancing, and style as a way to express themselves. And although roller skates took a dip in popularity after that, the 2020 resurgence is bringing roller dancing back, thanks to retro trends and styles making a comeback.
Joshy Soul, a musical artist and lifelong skater, is one of those people helping bring roller skating back in style. We met up with Joshy on a beautiful sunny day at the Venice Boardwalk, where he grew up skating and continues to practice and impress on 8 wheels.
Joshy started skating as a kid, heading to rinks and the boardwalk with his family, but stopped as he grew older. He recently got back into it as a way to express himself and reconnect with the joy of rolling.
Today, Joshy heads to Venice's Roller Skate Dance Plaza regularly to skate, dance, and practice with both seasoned and new skaters. One of his favorite things about skating is the close-knit community. At the Roller Skate Dance Plaza, everyone looks out for each other, taking turns cleaning sand from the concrete, showing each other new moves, and cheering each other on.
Over the years, roller skating has become more than just a fun hobby. The sport has historically been a large part of Black American and LGBTQ communities and culture, particularly when it comes to roller disco and roller derby. Today, skating is a way for enthusiasts of all ages, genders, and races to celebrate joy, fun, and their own personal style.
Ready to hit the boardwalk or the roller rink? Before you roll out, check out our Roller Skating Jams playlist, featuring some of Joshy’s favorite tunes and his newly released music.