Audio by Presley Allen
Shauna Gustuson grew up playing sports, riding horses and motorcycles, it wasn’t until about 12 years ago, that she became interested in roller-skating.
After discovering this new passion, Gustuson founded SLORoll, a non-profit organization that aims to provide communities with safe spaces to roller skate, do fitness classes and more. SLORoll was created in November due to the need for more outdoor activities because of the pandemic.
Gustuson became president of SLORoll alongside co-founders treasurer Christina Soto, vice president Cavin Stokes and secretary Rosalind Montgomery.
“At first we were just four friends and we all skate,” Gustuson said. “We were hanging out at the rink on a Friday night in San Luis Obispo. We were playing music and more and more people joined and we got a big crowd going. Eventually I asked my friend, who is a DJ, to bring his speaker and then SLORoll was born.”
The closest outdoor rinks are either in Santa Maria or Bakersfield for any types of skaters to use.
SLORoll wants to create skating areas that are flat and safe for all ages.
“There are multiple skate parks all around here, but finding flat areas with music that is safe is super hard,” Gustuson said.
SLORoll began advocating for safe spaces for not just roller skaters, but for parents teaching their kids how to ride a bike or people learning how to skate who don’t want to be in a skate park.
According to Gustuson, there are over 250 skaters that have come to SLORoll events. Most of them are families with children under 12.
SLORoll’s main goal is to own or maintain an open-air building or a piece of land, essentially having a multi-purpose community facility for everyone to use.
“We have started working more with the cities and seeing what they need from the voices of our skating community to get what we want done,” Gustuson said. “We also want cities to help improve some existing areas that we can use for skating that might not have had much love the last few years.”
SLORoll hosts skate parties monthly in order to spread awareness and get the word out.
SLORoll’s goal for 2022 is to partner with Paulding Middle School rink in Arroyo Grande.
“This is going to be our big push and community help for 2022,” Gustuson said.
SLORoll plans to talk with the school district about how to resurface this rink and repair it.
“We are going to try to fundraise and get the community together to get this area resurfaced and to fix all the cracks in order to make it safe again and add another place to the county for roller skaters,” Gustuson said.
SLORoll is also pushing for their skating community to go to their local Parks and Recreations meetings to spread the word for the need for spaces and repairs.
The organization hopes to do a pop-up rink during Week of Welcome in the fall of 2022 in order to get more Cal Poly students on board and interested in the SLORoll movement.
“Everything we do is so grassroots,” Gustuson said. “We heavily rely on word-of-mouth and social media to get our message out there and to get more people to support us.”
Gustuson is grateful for how the San Luis Obispo area has been easy to work with.
“All the Parks and Recreation in Atascadero, San Luis Obispo and Grover have all been so helpful with breaking down the barrier between the community and people working in an office,” Gustuson said.
In 2023, SLORoll intends to create a rink in Paso Robles to have another space in the county.
“My favorite part about SLORoll is most definitely the community coming together and having fun,” Soto said. “All the people who have kids right now and skate used to skate when we were all young so it is nice to see.”