Happy 35th Birthday Skateworld! and Help Save Skateworld! with Velvet Klaw

Skateworld, a fixture in the San Diego world of skating is about to hold its 35th Birthday bash with a 70’s Roller Disco celebration! The date is Tuesday, October 6th and the venue of course is Skateworld.

Velvet Klaw [aka Teresa Salazar] of San Diego Roller Derby is behind a concerted effort to Help Save Skateworld in San Diego which has been holding events such as Eat for Skateworld which was followed up with Skate for Skateworld.

1. What has been your role in San Diego Roller Derby?

[A] San Diego Roller Derby has been a large part of my life since its beginning. I started in derby in 2006 and was a founding member of SDRD in 2008. On the floor I play #2 blocker position. Off the floor I serve as a member of our Board of Directors and also print all our merchandise and uniform shirts. That keeps me pretty busy!

SDRD is a nonprofit group which helps raise funds for other nonprofits at each home bout. League members are very involved with organizing and promoting our bouts and other outside events. We couldn’t accomplish all that we have without the help of our skaters.

2. What is the role of Skateworld in the Derby scene?

[A] 2010 marked our first full home bouting season and it has been a great success for us and our home rink, Skateworld. Our league has a family connection to our rink. Skateworld’s owner, Gary Stang, also coaches our players along with his son Brett who is our head coach. Former L.A. Thunderbird, John Hall, is also part of our coaching staff and works one-on-one with all the new recruits. It’s been wonderful to learn from him and hear about his personal experiences as a derby player! SDRD is experiencing a large growth of new members and we hope to be able to continue skating at Skateworld next season and for many more after that!

3. How long has Skateworld been around?

[A] Skateworld is getting ready to celebrate their 35th birthday and it is our hope that they will continue to serve the skating community for many years to come.

4. When was San Diego Roller Derby founded?

[A] San Diego Roller Derby (SDRD) was established in 2008 at Skateworld, our home rink. However, In June of this year it was disclosed that the San Diego Redevelopment Agency now has an exclusive negotiation agreement with a private development company for the property on which Skateworld is located. This company has indicated that they plan to redevelop the property and the future of Skateworld is uncertain.

5. Why is Skateworld’s future in question now?

[A] These plans were never shared with the community nor with the Planning Committee, which serves the neighborhood of Linda Vista in which Skateworld is located. This is the last remaining roller rink in the City of San Diego. If the rink is forced to close, we at SDRD will lose our home. San Diego City Council Member Donna Frye wants to give the property to Bayside Community Center, a non‑profit group which was established to provide social services to another local sub‑culture local. Bayside would like to turn the Skateworld building into a recreation center which would focus on the game of Futsal, a form of indoor soccer which is mainly played in Brazil. There are already several Futsal training locations in San Diego, but there are no other roller rinks. In order to counter the public outcry in support of keeping the rink in operation, Bayside has said that they will include roller skating into their repertoire of sports that they will offer. SDRD practices a minimum of nine hours per week, plus additional open skate hours that are available to our members. This does not include the time that we need to host home bouts. This new “community” center that is being proposed would not be able to sustain the needs of our league. We have had a successful debut home season and hope to continue next season.

6. What has been the reaction by fans of Skateworld?

[A] There has been a huge public outcry in support of keeping the rink open and we have had much media attention. I serve on the Board of Directors for SDRD and the Friends of Skateworld (FOSW). The FOSW is a non‑profit group that was formed in order to help save the rink. We have hosted several support rallies which have been very well received. We have set up a blog that has a lot of information as well as links to all the media pieces that have been published. Our mission is to bring this issue to the public and let their voices be heard before the City Council makes decisions without giving any consideration to the needs and wishes of their constituents. We hope to show them that this rink already serves as a “community center” by providing a place that brings people of all ages and backgrounds together through skating. I know for a fact that our derby bouts have brought a new audience to the rink and many of our fans have taken up skating themselves. In addition to derby and open skate sessions, the rink also provides practice time for figure skating and also hosts many fundraisers for local nonprofit groups and organizations. It’s been wonderful to see this resurgence of roller skating! We cannot let this rink close!

7.  Is there a site for people sign up to show their support? Is there an online petition?

[A]: Yes. We do have an online petition that people can sign. Here is the URL- http://www.facebook.com/l/7b32f3GQNPbLBbM-UzLuBd_5Tvg;www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-san-diego-skateworld-roller-rink/

We are also encouraging people to write to the city council members and have a link that sends the email to ALL the council members at once –


We are also taking donations online via PayPal here – http://www.facebook.com/l/7b32fL9EsS5WnEG_kQlCyxyda6w;friendsofskateworld.com/donate/

If anyone wants to get a receipt for a tax deductible donation, we have a page set up that explains how to do that through our Fiscal Agent – http://www.facebook.com/l/7b32f_SfXmxdpHGFf0SBpToLOWw;friendsofskateworld.blogspot.com/p/find-out-how-your-donations-can-help-us.html

The Friends of Skateworld has a Facebook page here – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=117559458288842&v=wall

There are photos from the roller rallies as well as many from patrons of Skateworld. Please feel free to use whatever you like. We really need help with spreading the word about the situation with the city council. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

S.O.S. – Save Our Skateworld!

The date of the party is Wednesday October 6th from 6:30 to 9:30pm at Skateworld. Admission is $7.00 per person and skate rental is FREE! This event is hosted by the Friends of Skateworld and ALL proceeds will go directly to our fight to Save Our Skateworld!