Updated: Feb 23
by Mel Blackwood @roller_girl_gang
Hiya! It’s Mel from Roller Girl Gang here. Roller Girl Gang is based in Leeds, UK. We have a pro shop, offering a carefully curated choice of roller skates and accessories, (including tricky-to-get products this side of the Atlantic) as well as run events and classes.
I’m also the Skate Love team member who has been liaising with the amazing masterclass and workshops teachers all heading to Skate Love BCN.
Ahead of the festival, I’ve been able to catch up with some of them.
Here is Joy Dean, founder of Hoop Hustle Flow. Joy has a background in fashion and has created We Are Skater Booty, a body positive clothing brand for people who move. She also hosts surf and skate retreats in Portugal a couple of times a year.
Joy now has a number of worldwide ambassadors to spread the message of her brand.
Enjoy Joy's story!
If I had a top tip for those of you coming to Skate Love, for the first time, it would be to be open to everyone. Try to break out of your small group that you have travelled with. Meet new people that's the whole point of it.
My interview with Joy was a little different than the others in this series - it was easier (due to time pressures) to send her over the questions and she kindly sent back these answers. Thank you Joy!
Testing, testing - was it portrait or landscape?
Hi guys, what's up! It's your girl Joy, Hoop Hustle flow, founder of
We are Skater Booty and The Hoop Experience. I am coming to you today from my lovely, if not grey, terrace, here in London. Can't sleep, getting ready for Skate Love Barcelona. It's in 10days y'all, I can't wait! My trusty PA / dog is in the background.
So, I am coming to you today to tell you what it is that I do for Skate Love, and share with you if you guys don't know me already. This year, I will be hosting the Talks and Drinks, which I do every year. This will be my second year. So I can't say every year, as it's my second year. We are really excited to bring it back. We have changed the format. We do a panel talk rather than one on ones. We have a moderation which is done by myself and my partner Slobodan. So we run the business together. He will be walking around with the mic asking everyone questions and moderating. I will be bringing that to the table. We look forward to sharing some of the ideas and journeys that our panelists have been on. I will also be hosting a special surprise! That's all I'm going to say, special surprise. We will announce that a little bit further down the line, so if you don't have your ticket to the Talks and Drinks networking in Barcelona, just hurry up and get it right now. Just hurry up, right now, right now! We will be doing that. We will also be doing some pitches. If you get one of the five slots - hopefully this will be edited later (Editor - sorry Joy - authenticity is my brand!) If you are one of the 5 chosen to pitch at the networking event. You have about three minutes to come on and tell your community what it is that they're going to get. Tell them why you are there to talk to them.
As a business, it is an active lifestyle brand. The focus on creating body positive looks and apparel. We have shorts, tops, hats. This year we are launching swimwear. A high waisted short. We have really been around since 2018. We have been trying to put our own personal touch on skate apparel and lifestyle apparel. We are quite active. I am an ex ballerina / gymnast / roller skater / hula hooper / fire performer / mermaid. And Slobo is an ex-motocross professional. So entire existence is about moving your body. So we decided to create a product that supported that. In addition we have a company called The Hoop Experience, which began way back when I was a majorette. I was performing with the Majorettes and i wanted to do something that I love with the hula hoop. Everybody created events that focussed on hoop training. And those hoop events were quite small, they were 25 people. This is back when there was PlayTone and roller hooping. It was really just about creating a space for communities to come together. Not in a huge convention sense, but a place that is quite intimate, that allowed you to meet and make friends. Not the kind of place where you come, don't know most people's names and leave. So really trying to create something different to a conference. And it's all luxury. We do villas. I hope she plays it exactly as it is for the bloopers! But what we do is luxury events with a swimming pool and a Michelin starred chef. And then we bring you taster courses - small bite-sized pieces of things you may or may not have tried before. So we had roller skating, roller hooping, we had hula hooping and choreography. This year we had mermaiding - for you to just play a bit and not be so worried about what other people think - a mermaid tail and splashing around a swimming pool. You know as you do. Then in June this year, we launched our first Surf and Roller skate Portugal. It's people of colour, it's women-based and it's more about. It's all colours, White, Black, Asian. It's about meeting everyone everyone in the water. Also what you see in the surfing community is not representative of who actually surfs. We decided it wasn't done already, let's do it. It's coming back again in April. This year beyond the Talks and Drinks, I will be teaching for the first time at Skate Love, I will be teaching our Yoga for Skaters. I actually teach Yoga for everybody - skaters, hula hoopers, surfers, aerialists. Everybody should have some movement for flexibility and restorative stretching. It's about making sure that if you are on your skates, you take care of the body that keeps you moving across the ground. Most skaters that I have seen were not taking the time to warm up or cool down. So we created Yoga for Skaters. It is typically focussed on skate anatomy. It's about all the muscles you are using from the sacrum down. A lot of skaters have lower back issues, they have sacrum pain, sciatica, tight glutes. They tend to just stretch the back of the body because that is where they think it's at. Actually it's the front. So we go really in depth in 45 minutes, or as deep as you can go in 45 minutes. It's how to take care of your body. So we teach you a skate warm up, then we teach you an easy to move around yoga class. And as I said it is yoga for skaters, so you will not be doing your standard moves. It's very playful, we have a disco track. You will not be wearing skates - that is quite dangerous! I am a 300-hour yoga teacher, at some point I will be releasing an on-demand version of yoga for skaters. You can sign up for skate classes. You can actually train in our specialist format. I will do that next year.
What else can I tell you?
If I had a top tip for those of you coming to Skate Love, for the first time, it would be to be open to everyone. Try to break out of your small group that you have travelled with. Meet new people that's the whole point of it. Skate Love is an international community. It wasn't always as big as it is now, people were skating in Barcelona and the smaller group has just grown. You have people from the Us, people from London, all over Europe, Mexico, Asia. It's an opportunity to meet at a real life event, not just on social media. Bring your real self to the game! It's an opportunity. That's your bonus tip!
Stop by our stall, We are Skater Booty, I'm Joy, look for Slobo, tall bald guy, my cameraman. He is actually fixing my pole for roller pole classes we are doing this week.
And I forgot to mention, this is my other tip - don't be afraid of how well you can skate or not skate. You will see people who have been skating forever - I have been skating since I was a child. I'm a beach skater from California, so of course, and surfing my entire life. But am I any means the best skater, doing the best tricks, no! You don't have to be, that's not what it is about. It's about getting on your wheels, feeling good. Doing your Downtown if that's what you know how to do, doing your spins if that's what you know how to do. Or don't! There are wonderful classes for you to sign up and experience things you don't know. Wonderful free workshops, which is what I am doing. Couples classes, choreography classes, and more. I mean really, as long as I have been skating, and going to jam events, Skate Love is one of my favourite, favourite. I look forward to the Netherlands too and I love going to Germany and meeting other people there. But it's so much better to be in one place where everybody is. I think the last event I did here was Flippers, where I got this shirt. And it was really fun, people came from all over for that. It's a little bit different for me because I am involved with Skate Love, so it's brilliant to see how big it is, how much it has grown and developed to what it is now.
I hope this has been helpful and really look forward to seeing you at the Skate Talks and Drinks, having you at my yoga class and if nothing else, drop by our stall and just say hello. You can skate with us.
Join me for more Skate Love chat as I catch up with some of the other teachers before the festival. #excited!