If there’s one thing that most Memphians share, whether young or old, is some good-ass skating rink memories. Either you kicked it down on Third at our beloved Crystal Palace (#LongLiveCP), posted up at East End every weekend, or even crossed city limits to hit up Club Odyssey aka Skate Odyssey on Sunday nights as a teen. Since being in quarantine, most of us are starting new hobbies or revamping our lifestyles to not only be happier but to also be fit. There’s nothing better than doing both with the much needed help of roller skating. Call it a comeback if you want to, but skating ain’t never die. However, thanks to social media and the pandemic, roller skating is taking over like never before, especially here in the South.
Southern skaters have their own style that’s known to have a slow groove and bop to it that pairs perfectly with any R&B/Hip-Hop hit at the rink. This style is known to most as a southern roll. Southern Roll /ˈsəT͟Hərn rōl/: “A southern skate family, with its own southern flavor, its own southern style like no other area, city, or state. We roll a southern way” — Lukki, creator of Southern Roll. With the help of our favorite Memphis skaters and local skate parks, their tips and events will not only get you back in shape, but also introduce you to Memphis’ top tier skating experience. So mask up, tie ya laces, and let’s hit the flo’!
1. East End Skating Center
East End Skating Center – located at 5718 Mt. Moriah Rd – still stands as a home to all faithful and newbie skaters. Making sure that they abide by safety guidelines, they keep the rental skates and rink disinfected, as well as only allowing a limited number of skaters at all sessions. Do be aware that non-skaters must pay during this time as a precaution to keep the capacity from being met. It’s advised for newbie skaters and those that can’t keep up to pass on the Sunday adult nights, as the rink is filled with advanced skaters during that session. However, any other session, advanced skaters are excited to help out anyone that seeks tips/help out on the floor.
2. Beale Street Landing
Beale Street Landing is a great place to practice your skating while surrounded by our beautiful skyline and the river. With tons of open space to stay safe with social distancing guidelines, you can bring limited family and friends with you as well as a speaker to create good vibes. A great tip is to make sure you have a set of outdoor wheels to ensure a smooth experience out on Riverside Dr. or on the Landing’s pavement. Doing so will keep your skates in good shape in the long run.
3. Raleigh Springs Town Center Skate Park
Open from 8AM-8PM everyday, is the Raleigh Springs Town Center Skate Park. Located off Austin Peay Hwy at the old stomping grounds of Raleigh Springs Mall, you’ll find skaters of all ages perfecting their skills and jamming out to music. Featuring smooth ramps, bowls, and more, you’re able to challenge yourself along with getting in a great workout.
4. Tobey Skate Park
A true skate gem located in Midtown, directly behind the Board of Education is the Tobey Skate Park. It is the first neighborhood skate park in Memphis, and is reserved for skaters and cyclists of all levels. Filled with ramps, bowls, and more, it’s a great practice area for newbie and seasoned skaters. Luckily, it’s free, and also open to the public from 6AM-6PM everyday during the fall and winter seasons. Protective gear such as helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads is highly recommended as you skate at your own risk. However, skaters that are 12 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Just like everything else on the market, there’s a shortage in skates as most retailers are sold out or limited to very few skates in stock due to the new popularity. Memphians can make their way to East End as they are also a skate retailer. Please be aware of shipping delays on specific skate brands and styles, as skate manufacturers are catching up to the high demand of roller skates. Ebony Lemons, of the Southern Roll family, suggests to Memphians to look into Riedell roller skates as they’re the best quality skates around. And as for those on a tight budget, purchasing Chicago Classics would be a good route to take.
If you’re ready to throw on your skates this week, We Are Memphis is hosting a virtual skating class this Friday, from 6PM-7PM via Facebook Live! Tune in to learn tips and tricks on how you too can roll like a southern, soulful skater. The class will be led by the one and only Ali Manning as she advocates for healthy living through skating as a fun form of exercising
Stay safe & get to rolling! Don’t forget to use our hashtag in your roller skating videos and pictures! #WeAreMemphis