📸: Photo provided by Celia Luna
Who are you? What do you do?
I am a roller-skating enthusiast and the creator of All Skates Go To Heaven, an organization I launched a year ago with the intent of producing skate events in order to grow and expand the South Florida skate community. We welcome anyone that owns a pair of roller skates or rollerblades as well as those who don’t yet own a pair and are interested in learning for the first time. I call it “All Skates” for short, since the name hinges on the idea that all types of skates and all levels are welcome.
What initially started as a casual meetup has transformed into roller skating parties with local DJ’s, sponsors and vendors. These events are free and open to the community, each time with a different theme, but always offering a safe place for beginner, intermediate and advanced skaters who just want to have fun and get transported to Heaven. You can look for the event flyers on our Instagram, @allskatesgotoheaven.
How does Miami help you do what you do or influence your work?
Without the people in the Miami community, I wouldn’t have work. Everyone motivates me to keep going and challenge myself to put on the best event possible. Seeing people get excited about their skate progression really encourages you to want to learn new things as well. The fact that you can see physical progress within one’s skating journey only makes you and others want to improve and celebrate small victories together. And all that without mentioning that we have that warm, “get outside” tropical climate that really appeals to us as skaters.
Wax poetic for a minute and tell us: what brings you most alive about this city?
Watching new smiling faces get along with other new smiling faces while they skate at an event I created makes me feel the most alive. Instead of going out anywhere else in Miami, people choose to come to my events, which is such a great feeling. If I can save someone from going to a club and paying $20 for a drink, then that gives me temporary relief where I feel like I’ve made it in the world.
What’s your favorite Miami memory?
Being a Miami native, I’ve lived through several hurricanes. It is horrible to even say it, but one of my favorite memories was taking my kayak out through the fully flooded streets in my neighborhood and paddling through the streets with my best friend Chelsea. The endless rain and wind was kind of liberating for us. We ended up making it on the news after a helicopter reporter filmed us from above — my mom wasn’t too pleased.
If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Without a doubt, Bang Bang Broccoli from Planta Queen!
Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Miami day.
I would do some sort of water activity — anything boat-related, tubing-related, or kayaking-related seems like the way to go. A visit to Stiltsville could be fun if the weather is looking great — jump into the ocean and snorkel! Afterwards, get that pub sub from Publix or an AC Icee from Allan Cohen at Kennedy Park!
What’s your favorite local social media account to follow and why?
I constantly check up on @meadowcollective which is an eco-friendly bohemian boutique operated by my wonderful friend, Meadow. Her shop started in Costa Rica 15 years ago and resonates so much with me since it is centered around nature, community and wellness. She also skates and keeps the style in the skating world at an all-time high. “Beware” of the cutest dog that lives in the shop too!
Another favorite of mine, @browardblades is owned and operated by my friend Luis. He is now a skate shop on wheels and will come to you if you’d like to try on a pair of skates, a great option for anyone who needs a quick fix or beginners who are looking to try something new.
If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?
Rent a Revel scooter with a friend! It’s such a great way to get around the city. I still feel like a tourist in my own city with the way it is constantly changing. Take the scooter down Venetian Causeway and check out South Beach that way. Just don’t take the scooter through Key Biscayne — apparently it’s prohibited. Oops!
What’s an unpopular opinion you have about the city?
The traffic isn’t as bad as you think. Also, cafecitos and coladas aren’t the greatest.
What are you looking forward to this year?
I hope to travel a bit. I have a few trips planned and a few of us are going to be heading to New York in July to check out the new skate rink at Rockefeller Center. I hope to one day be able to travel with All Skates Go To Heaven across all 50 states.
That’s a wrap on this week’s Locals to Know. Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2022.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.