“I’m a 40-Something-Year-Old Skateboarder (and TikTok Sensation)”

“I wanted to spread some joy and positivity around.”

In early 2021, under the name Aunty Skates, Oorbee Roy began posting her skateboarding videos to TikTok: dropping into seven-foot bowls; working on her ollies; helping her preteen daughter through a tricky move. Here, she tells us about taking up the sport in her 40s.

“In February 2021, we were in yet another Covid lockdown and everyone was so depressed—it felt like a glitch in the matrix. The typical Toronto conversation tends to be: “How are you?” “Good. You?” “Yeah.” But people weren’t hiding it anymore. They were being really honest about how they were struggling, myself included. I wanted to spread some joy and positivity around, so I thought, I’m going to start a TikTok account about my journey as an adult skateboarder.

When I first met my husband in 2004, he had sprained his ankle skateboarding. After he got better, I used to watch him with envy at the skate park—it looked so cool—but I just figured, good for him; it’s too late for me. Then I had babies, and then they got a little older and started skateboarding, too. I didn’t want to be the mom who stood around watching my whole family have fun. I said to them: ‘I don’t care if I’m not any good. I don’t care if I fall and people laugh at me. I’m going to go out there and skate because it’s so much better than being on the sidelines.’

@auntyskates #question from @auntyskates facing fears is tough business! #AdultSwim #AdultSkateTok #BeginnerSkaterGirl #FacingFears ♬ as – char

In 2018, at 43, I took a lesson after my daughter’s lesson. Getting on a skateboard as a grown adult is not easy; I fell a lot. But there was this adrenaline rush, and it felt liberating. I was hooked. When you’re a beginner, you can get kind of nervous going to a skate park, but I thought, if I could drop into this bowl and do a run and get out again, I’ll feel good about my skateboarding. That’s what I wanted to do, and so I skated as much as possible—as much as my body would allow.

It’s not all progress. Sometimes, it’s okay to plateau. It took me two years to figure out that plateauing usually means my body just needs a rest. My kids can skate for eight hours a day at summer camp, eat dinner, and then skate at night, and I’m not physically able to do that. So we take a lot of Epsom-salt baths in our house. We’ve got a therapy gun, a foam roller, Advil. Do my kids need any of that? No, they don’t: They’re made of rubber. But I’m not trying to get into the Olympics, and if I do this right, I can skate for another 25 years.

I want to show people, through my videos, through the skateboarding clinics that I put on in Toronto, that it’s never too late to skate. You get to forget about your problems. You get to focus on something that makes you feel good. Adults forget how to play. We tell our kids to get off the phones and go play outside—then we shut the door and get on our phones. But we all deserve to play.”

Next: You’re Stuck in a Rut (Thanks COVID)—Here’s What to Do

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Originally Published in Best Health Canada