What started out as a woman with nothing but her quad skates and a passion for skating has evolved into a skater club with 20 members in just one week.
Olly Landreth, a radio-television-film sophomore, started Texas Skate Mates last week and found students interested in all types of skating, including roller skating, in-line skating, penny boarding, longboarding, BMX biking and scootering.
Landreth said members can bring “anything that rolls and is not electric.”
Almost every member is a beginner skater. Anna Altamirano, a theatre and dance and radio-television-film sophomore, used to skate on a penny board, but Landreth encouraged her to take up skateboarding.
“(Then) we came up with this idea of making Skate Mates, and (Landreth) took me to buy my first board,” Altamirano said.
Landreth wanted to create a group dedicated to supporting beginners and “people scared of looking like a beginner.”
Simone Greer, a radio-television-film sophomore, said Landreth recruited her after hearing her talk about skating in class.
“I’ve been able to ride a board since I was 10,” Greer said. “Recently, I got back into it. I was watching Camp Woodward, (an athletic summer camp,) on YouTube … (where) they give (kids) scholarships … and they skateboard their lives away.”
Landreth also wanted to create an opportunity for her fellow radio-television-film classmates to make a portfolio of skating videos.
“Skate media is very prolific,” Landreth said. “I really wanted to make sure that we all had an opportunity to grow and learn and how to collaborate on all this stuff.”
While the club does not have formal meetings, members hang out during informal skating times. Texas Skate Mates has a skate at House Skatepark on Mondays, a street skate on Fridays and a skate at Veloway, a three-mile track in South Austin on Saturdays.
“Turnout right now is pretty low,” Landreth said. “A lot of (the members) are beginners wanting to learn, but they may not have the time or the resources to buy a board yet. They’re figuring it out.”
In the future, one of Landreth’s goals is to teach disadvantaged middle schoolers and high schoolers in East Austin how to skate.
For now, Landreth said she wants to create a community of skaters who support each other and share skating with people who want to try it.
“(Skating) saved my life,” Landreth said. “Sometimes, it’s described as being the purest form of joy.”