By Ryan Bergeron, CNN
Windows down, music up.
That’s how Andy Duran explains the sensation of riding 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 matured skateboarding in California’s Bay Area in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now 36 years of ages and an expert sex teacher in Oakland, California, he discovered himself stuck at house when the pandemic hit. That’s when he got the desire to get rolling once again.
Once he started looking online for brand-new equipment, nevertheless, he was shocked by the absence of resources and details for obese skaters. Duran presently weighs over 300 pounds and recognizes as “fat.” Many of the boards had weight constraints listed below 300 pounds and discovering the best pad sizes and equipment was challenging. Even plus-size skating tee shirts were limited.
“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 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 great
Duran wished to show that individuals of all sizes might skateboard and hoped he might motivate others. He started publishing videos of himself and pals skating, however he was dissatisfied to see the unfavorable remarks 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.”
That’s when the concept of Chub Rollz increase in Duran’s mind.
He wished to begin Chub Rollz as a safe area available to plus-size individuals wishing to discover and skate together – be it on a skateboard, roller skates or any other kind of wheels. The group hosts month-to-month meet-ups, and Duran shows up early to set out skateboards, pads and equipment to assist anyone wishing to visit and offer 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 is Black and Mexican, is happy that Chub Rollz is “BIPOC-founded” and led by a “queer and trans team.”
The group is making every effort to make sure everybody feels invited and safe in the brand-new neighborhood they are developing, 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 actually been participating in the group’s skating meet-up sessions, and individuals all throughout the United States and as far as Australia and South Africa have actually participated in the group’s virtual conversations.
Duran states that a person thing that sets Chub Rollz apart from other plus-size groups is that weight reduction is not an element. The objective is simply to have individuals skating and moving 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,” states 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.”