Once a week, members of the UC Santa Barbara Skate Club perform kickflips, ollies and 180s in the strip between the Interactive Learning Pavillion and the library late at night as other members cheer while their peers try out new tricks.

Daily Nexus / Kai Rosenthal

The club’s Instagram bio states “All wheels and levels are welcome.” Roller skaters and occasionally a unicyclist can be seen riding alongside skateboards in the Lot 22 basement. 

That’s what the Skate Club is all about, third-year economics and accounting major and Skate Club instructor Ethan Mofarah said.

“I think people can see us as intimidating but it’s really not — like we’re honestly more intimidated by you. Just come and skate with us and we’ll teach you,” Mofarah said. 

UCSB alum Jerome Wong founded the UCSB Skate Club in 2021 to create a unified skating community.

Since the club’s formation, weekly sessions have allowed skaters of all experience levels to practice their skills and find a sense of community. Currently, they are held every Thursday at Lot 22 with a beginner’s session at 5:30 p.m. and a general session at 6 p.m.

According to co-president and fourth-year psychological and brain sciences major Claire Kennedy, there wasn’t a cohesive group of skaters before the club’s formation. 

“I came my freshman year and there wasn’t a club. I skated with some people. It was a group chat of like four and I didn’t always get to skate with them,” Kennedy said. 

Now, in 2024, the Skate Club has roughly 2o regular members that attend its Lot 22 sessions. In addition, the club hosts parties in Isla Vista featuring skate trick competitions and local bands. 

For co-president and third-year chemical engineering major Lucy Wu, the club has allowed her to find a sense of community at UCSB. 

“I’m an international student; I learned how to skate in China. It’s a great way to find your own community and, skating itself, it’s also like a breakthrough of yourself so like, [it’s all about] just like challenging yourself every time and then it helped me to find friends and we’re so involved with everything,” Wu said. 

Additionally, the club partners with Solvang Skate Shop and its owner Robert Hargreaves to host skate sessions.

For co-president and third-year chemical engineering major Lucy Wu, the club has allowed her to find a sense of community at UCSB. 

“I’m an international student; I learned how to skate in China. It’s a great way to find your own community and, skating itself, it’s also like a breakthrough of yourself so like, [it’s all about] just like challenging yourself every time and then it helped me to find friends and we’re so involved with everything,” Wu said. 

“We want to make it so that if you’re really good, you can come and have a good time,” third-year communication and anthropology double major and instructor Robbie Davis said. 

For many of the club’s officers, their passion stems from wanting to create a positive learning environment. 

“​​I still remember when I started skating, I didn’t have anyone to teach me and I used to go to the skate park and just sit in the corner and just try ollies all the time. I just want to make it more inclusive for people,” Mofarah said.

Fourth-year film and media studies major Kai Rosenthal, the film and media officer filmed skate videos across campus. A screening of the compiled clips is set to be released toward the end of spring quarter.

“Once you get to that level where you’ve achieved some learning and skating, it really helps you out and just in your general life. You learn so many skills and so many mental things because skating is about falling. ,” Mofarah said.

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the May 9, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.

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