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This skateboarder is helping plus-size riders roll

That’s how Andy Duran describes the sensation of driving 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 grew up skateboarding in California’s Bay Area within the late Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s. Now 36 years outdated and knowledgeable intercourse educator in Oakland, California, he discovered himself caught at residence when the pandemic hit. That’s when he bought the urge to get rolling once more.

Once he started wanting on-line for brand new gear, nevertheless, he was shocked by the shortage of sources and knowledge for chubby skaters. Duran at present weighs over 300 kilos and identifies as “fat.” Many of the boards had weight limitations under 300 kilos and discovering the correct pad sizes and equipment was tough. Even plus-size skating t-shirts have been scarce.

“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 be 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 good

Duran wished to show that folks of all sizes may skateboard and hoped he may encourage others. He started posting movies of himself and mates skating, however he was disillusioned to see the adverse feedback 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.”

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That’s when the concept of Chub Rollz ramped up in Duran’s thoughts.

He wished to start out Chub Rollz as a protected house open to plus-size folks eager to study and skate collectively – be it on a skateboard, curler skates or every other sort of wheels. The group hosts month-to-month meet-ups, and Duran arrives early to set out skateboards, pads and equipment to assist anyone eager to cease by and provides 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.”

Andy Duran (R) helps Bella Bond learn to skate during the first Chub Rollz event.

Besides being body-positive, Duran, who is Black and Mexican, is proud that Chub Rollz is “BIPOC-founded” and led by a “queer and trans team.”

The group is striving to make sure everybody feels welcomed and protected within the new group they’re constructing, 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 been collaborating within the group’s skating meet-up classes, and other people all throughout the United States and as distant as Australia and South Africa have taken half within the group’s digital discussions.

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Duran says that one factor that units Chub Rollz aside from different plus-size teams is that weight reduction is not an element. The purpose is simply to have folks skating and transferring 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,” says 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.”

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