Welcome to another week of Comacan Questions, this will be the last interview we share for this year, we’d like everyone to enjoy the holidays! With that being said we are so glad we’ve had the opportunity to share 36 interviews with so many great businesses’, artists and people throughout our first year running our Comacan questions interviews. We are honoured that people take the time to share their stories, insights and feelings with us for every question we ask. We really wanted to go out with a bang for the last interview of 2021 and to that end, i’d like to think we did a good job. Our guest today picked up skateboarding later in life and was hooked when she did. Through hard work, patience and dedication our guest today has progressed like crazy over her years on a board with no end in sight. She’s inspired many through social media and news outlet coverage of her stories and triumphs, shes always sharing the positive lessons of skateboarding and shes is an advocate for skateboarding its relationship with mental health. We are once again honoured to share another interview with someone as amazing as this in our skateboard community, please welcome this week Oorbee Roy, popularily known online as Aunty Skates.
What inspired you to learn how to skateboard?
My husband is a skater, so I stepped on a skateboard a few times in my 30s, but I thought it was too late for me and didn’t pursue it. Then when my kids started taking skateboard lessons, I didn’t want to be the mom sitting on the sidelines watching my family have all the fun! It inspired me to take some lessons and I was immediately hooked!
How long have you been skateboarding?
I’ve been skateboarding for almost 4 years. I started at 43 and I’m almost 47!
How has skateboarding changed your life?
Although I am married with two kids and have an amazing group of friends (skate and non-skate), there have been many times in my life where I’ve felt a little incredibly lost and lonely. I’ve always been a bit of an oddball and with skateboarding — I finally found my tribe, both in the skate community as a whole and within my own skate family.
Skateboarding has also changed my way of thinking – I have a growth mindset now that has impacted other parts of my life. I know that putting in the work takes time but without work there is no progress.
Finally, skateboarding is amazing for mental health. When you let go and just focus on skating, nothing else matters but the session – you and the board. It’s a gift I am truly grateful for.
What is your favorite part about being a skateboarder?
Because I started skating at 43, I honestly could have lived a whole, full life, and never skateboarded. Just being a skater, getting on my board, and discovering how liberating skateboarding can be, is my favorite part of being a skater. It’s never too late to live your best life!
What’s your fondest memory on a skateboard so far?
I have made so many great memories on a skateboard, from great sessions with my friends and family, to teaching someone how to land a trick, or even an epic solo session. But my favorite memory is my successful drop-in at Ashbridge’s Bay Beach Skatepark this past summer.
The last time I tried a drop-in there I slammed hard and smashed my rib cage. I was out for 8 weeks but the mental battle lasted much longer. For 2 years, I worked on becoming a better skater, I practiced higher drop-ins at other parks, pool coping drop-ins, and skated the Ash bowl regularly and more competently. When the day came, I had hip pads on and meditated. My friends and family were there to cheer me on and the fact they believed in me SO much helped me believe in myself.
But ultimately, I was the one who had to do the drop-in. I put my board up to the coping several times and each time walked away scared. But there is a almost a switch in your brain, and to do the drop-in, there is that one titular moment when you decide to “flick” the switch. I remember saying, “OK, I guess I’m doing this now.” Then I did it and it was glorious! Well, I didn’t land the first one, I did a knee slide out of it… but then the NEXT drop-in was glorious and I even carved the bowl!
Any advice for other skateboarders and park users?
My best advice would be: don’t compare yourself to others, be inspired by others! Just getting on a skateboard, especially as an adult, is an amazing achievement! Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.
Some practical advice, if you are nervous to start skating, take a couple of lessons, go to the skate park early when it’s not busy, ask a friendly skater for tips, get on social media and look for events or other like-minded skaters, and remember to have fun!
Are you involved in any projects or skateboarding initiatives?
I’m always happy to volunteer at events or meetups around the city but my main mission is usually to make people feel welcome and comfortable and willing to get on a skateboard. In October, I held a free skate event with a variety of lessons, vendors, music, raffles, and giveaways! Skate friends in the community came and helped, and I had a ton of amazing sponsors. About 80 adults came to the event and had the best time! It was so wonderful to see so many people come in nervous and leave proud. Adults forget to play but we deserve it!
Currently, I’m looking to do more of these events on a smaller scale at a local indoor park. Sign up for my newsletter at auntyskates.com to receive updates!
What are some of your favorite parks you’ve traveled to?
My favorite park is in Georgetown because Gellert Community Center has something for all levels! But I’ve also skated in California and really loved Linda Vista Skatepark.
What are you goals with skateboarding?
When I first started skateboarding, my goals were basic. I just wanted to cruise around, pump a ramp, maybe do kick turns… But the great thing about skateboarding is there is ALWAYS something to learn and once you’re hooked on skateboarding, your goals are always evolving!
My current goals are to maintain speed and power while skating bowls, learn some more mini ramp tricks to extend my line, and get my ollies down solid. But my lifetime long-term goals are to take this as far as I can and have fun for as long as possible.
What does skateboarding mean to you?
Skateboarding has changed my life. Yes, I’m still the slightly awkward, goofy, excitable, giant kid of a person but now I’ve found my tribe! And I feel so genuinely lucky to have a platform through TikTok and Instagram to share the stoke with as many people as possible.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
I want to thank my family – my husband and my parents but especially my kids for being so supportive of my skateboarding. Thank you also to the Toronto Skateboarding community for making space for me and being so encouraging and supportive!