A last-minute trip to Santa Barbara comprised of a group of Roller skaters entailed adventure, surprise, and a few bruises.
Roller skating isn’t quite what everyone thinks it to be. A fad from the ’70s with those 4 wheeled boots that most of us can barely stand up on, closely associated with bell-bottoms, and disco music being played at the local roller rink; that is for the roller rinks that still exist. An outsider might think it’s turned into a TikTok trend, or perhaps another fad that will be here today and long-forgotten tomorrow. Others might think, “People are still doing that?”
People are indeed still roller skating, and doing it damn well. Aside from roller rinks and beach cruising, you can find roller skaters jam skating (a form of dancing on skates), aggressive street skating, and skating anything from ramps to bowls at the local skate park. This is the new culture of roller skating and in it, there’s something for everyone.
This Sunday trip wasn’t planned very well, it was last minute and we figured out the “*plan*” on the drive there *;* by plan I mean we were aimlessly driving up north in hope of being able to find and skate this beautiful ramp we had heard about that was located on a farm in Santa Barbara. On the drive, we desperately tried to figure out how to get to this ramp. Researching every possible variation of “Orchid Farm Skate park.” We got nothing. We reached out to other roller skaters we knew in the community who have visited this glorious, yet elusive establishment*…* Their response? “It’s private, you have to know someone to get in.”
Dang! That changed everything. But we weren’t going to let that derail our day. We headed to the local Santa Barbara skate park, which was pretty much on the beach; not a bad change of plans. We had a blast, met some local skaters, and also scared away the annoying scooter kids.
However, as we skated, we were approached by some locals who were interested in who we were. Who were we? An all-women skate group from Long Beach called the Las Quadrinas. There were nine of us in roller skates taking over the skate park, an uncommon sight. As we told the locals about our group, to our surprise, one of them was a roller skater. Ironically and unknowingly, they mentioned that we would love this local, private skate park, called the Orchid Farm and that they knew the owner. They got us in contact with the owner, who hosts private sessions only, 10 people max. There were nine of us; it was like divine intervention. The owner told us he had one session open from 4-7 pm and just like that, we were in.
He gave us the instructions on how to get there and suggested we don’t use GPS, because it would take us nowhere we wanted to be. We drove up the 101 North and by the time we exited, we ended up on a beaten and barren dirt road, until finally, we approached a gate. Upon entry, we found ourselves on a beautiful 60-acre farm overlooking the ocean. We drove past horses, cows, and private trails until we reached the ramp. It was a beautiful ramp painted green with orchids and other exotic flowers.
As we rushed to put our skates on to get the most out of our three-hour session, the owner came out with a full tray of sliced watermelon. We were in awe of the treatment we received. Skating the ramp was like magic. It was smooth like butter and very clean. The feeling of dropping in on that ramp and feeling the wind flow through your body as you catch speed is like nothing I’ve experienced before. We laughed, played music, danced, skated, and taught each other how to skate all while encouraging each other to get over our fears of trying new tricks. That is the beauty of roller skating with this group. All of us left the place as a better roller skater and with a few bruises to take home for the memories.
As we were leaving, the owner, Mike came out and invited us to come back anytime, also mentioning the other services they offer at the Orchid Farm, such as camping, private access to the beach, hiking trails, longer skate sessions, and even events like weddings. With that, I think I know where I’m going for my next camping trip.
Until next time,