The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, June 14, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Skate Club puts their own spin on skating culture around campus

_DSC3248-47.JPG
Photo courtesy of Carolina Skate Club.

Every Thursday night, UNC Skate Club transforms the Pit into their skate park with quarter pipes, bars and ramps.

The club is a place for "anything with wheels" — skateboarding, biking or roller-skating — and any skill level. The club values personal progression over comparison. Established as an official club this semester, the organization has worked to redefine what it means to be a skater. 

But it took sophomore and President of the club Odell Escorcia-Puente and his team ten months and 8 attempts to get their club established as an official organization.

“We would get so disappointed every time that we were given ‘No’ — and it was like, ‘Man, the school probably thinks that we're just degenerate skaters that don't do anything, or that we're gonna like mess up the school, or they don't want us here or something,'” Escorcia-Puente said.

Jude Saverino, a sophomore and executive team member, said that at the club fair, he noticed people were hesitant to approach their table and thought it was because of the notion that skaters are "scary and judgmental."

“We don’t want people to think of us like that — we want to be an inclusive community of skate progression in every avenue,” Saverino said.

These stereotypes inspired Violet Worzella, a sophomore and member of the club, to produce the short film “Hate vs Skate” which stitches together skating clips, the history of the sport and her own experience with skating. In the video, she describes how skating — also called concrete surfing — gained momentum in the 1970s as a cheap, accessible way to have fun.

“There's kind of the impression that a lot of skaters are like, stoners, potheads, delinquents,” Worzella said. “And they ended up being some of the best people I think I've ever met.”

One of Saverino's favorite memories is the night the club was officially approved. He and his team brought out a cake to celebrate the occasion and took a group picture with a large turn-out to commemorate the event.

Worzella said the club has become one of the most welcoming communities she has ever been in.

“It’s been really, really nice to see the diversity in the club," she said. "Everybody is welcome, regardless, but there's so many different skill levels and different niches that people are in."

Despite club attendance fluctuating in the past, Escorcia-Puente said that he now sees a consistent group of 25 to 30 people showing up every week to skate.

“It’s really fulfilling in my heart to see that they're coming out and encouraging other people to come out and skateboard every single week,” he said.

Not only does the club offer extra boards for new members to practice with, they also provide free individual and group lessons for students interested in the sport twice a week, taught by current students and Ryan Ogilvy, a community member who provides skate lessons through the Town of Chapel Hill.

This past Thursday, UNC Skate Club hosted their first video premiere of their project “Pluto” — a compilation of highlights from current members. They also premiered a video by North Carolina-based company, Jinx Skate Co., and later skated together.

Escorcia-Puente said that each member is given 30 to 45 seconds to showcase their tricks in an action-packed 10 minute video.

Escorcia-Puente and his team hope to one day construct the club's own skate park at UNC. They would also like to partner with the skate clubs at Duke University and Elon University to host an end-of-year contest and expand the skating community. 

He said UNC Skate Club partners with other campus groups and bands in order to explore different creative avenues like fashion and music outside of the skateboarding community. 

"I don't think I could have asked for a better direction than what we're moving in now," Escorcia-Puente said

@preethikaratnam

@dthlifestyle | lifestyle@dailytarheel.com

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.