When we met with members of Dsk8-skool, they were busy warming up, effortlessly spinning, jumping and grooving on four wheels; making jumps onto their tip-toes, whilst still on four wheels, look incredibly easy. After showing us some of their best tricks and hearing some of their skating stories, it’s clear that the only rule of this club is to give it a go. Dsk8 founder, Debi Morris-Monro, her daughter Tsipporah Monro, and member and volunteer Toni O’Neil, sat down with us for a chat about the club and gave us a glimpse into the inviting world of skating.
Debi has been a passionate skater since the ‘80s. First learning as a child in Wolverhampton, she continued skating into adulthood and as a mother, decided she wanted to teach her daughter to skate. Debi recalls, “It was just a fantastic time of my life, but when I came to Jersey not many people were skating. I wanted my daughter to get into it and I thought let me teach her. That was 11 years ago, Tsipporah’s grown up on the skates”
After enjoying teaching her daughter to skate, Debi thought “why don’t I recreate my youth?” She began to offer her skills, helping other people to learn and take up skating and in 2012, Dsk8-skool started.
Now after running for almost 10 years, the club has around 30 members. They believe you’re never too old to skate, and members’ ages range from four to seventy-six years old! They’ve done work with charities, youth clubs and children’s homes; they’ve raised money for schools, and have worked with Jersey Sport to motivate more people to pick up the sport.
Within the club, everyone is welcome on the wheels. Both adults and children learn to skate in a social environment that is affordable and encourages members to keep active. They’re a family of skaters, and the idea that parents and children can learn and skate together is something Dsk8-skool really supports. Debi says it’s great that children often end up teaching their parents, and have fun together doing something they don’t necessarily have to be really experienced in.
For Toni, skating was a childhood past-time, she hadn’t picked up skates in years, “the reason I started skating is because when I was younger all my mates skateboarded, we all hung around at the skatepark, I couldn’t skateboard, so I got into rollerblading. I haven’t done it in years. I’m crap compared to what I was like 15 years ago, but it’s so enjoyable to do something you remember having so much enjoyment out of!”.
Dsk8 skate for fun, but also encourage getting on the wheels for physical and mental health and wellbeing. Debi recalls telling people who seemed a bit stressed, unhappy or not in a great place to “just come and skate” and remembers seeing peoples worries disappear whilst they’re on wheels. “It’s one of the benefits of skating, it’s fantastic for wellbeing; it’s physical, it’s very therapeutic, it keeps you fit”
“It’s one of the benefits of skating, it’s fantastic for wellbeing; it’s physical, it’s very therapeutic, it keeps you fit”
Thanks to Debi, Tsipporah has grown up on skates. Tsipporah echoes what her Mum says about it being beneficial mentally and physically, “it’s been lovely growing up on the wheels, sometimes I feel like I just need to go for a skate, it feels like flying, probably just one of the best things ever.”
“But it’s so underrated, you’ve got skating like on a skateboard and that’s the hype now but skating needs to come back.” We agree, bring it back big time!
In the warmer months, Debi, Tsipporah and Toni gather the crew and meet outside to make the most of the sunshine. They often skate along the esplanade, and sometimes even further- once skating from Corbiere to Gorey!
After not being able to skate as a club for many months, Dsk8 are looking forward to starting up again in September. They meet at the St. Peters Youth and Community Centre and whether you’re an inline beginner, a quad disco pro, or have never set foot in a rollerblade- you’re invited.
Freestyle skating and skills are taught as well as introductory inline hockey. Debi says everyone can skate, and they’ll get anyone skating in ten minutes! Skates are available for hire and everyone is welcome, give it a go!