Big Wheel Blading’s COVID-19 Coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every skater in the world in some way. In this new series, Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19, we will be checking in with various inline skaters from around the globe to see how the pandemic has affected their life. This is only one part of our COVID-19 coverage, which includes editorials, interviews with skaters who are deemed essential workers and an in depth report of what long term affects the pandemic will have on our sport and industry. Also check out the series, Essential Workers, Inline Skaters on the Front Lines of COVID-19, where we talk to inline skaters from around the world who are considered Essential Workers. If you’d like to contribute an editorial piece or have any comments or suggestions you can email janericwelch@bigwheelblading.com.


Matt Burke is a 36-year-old inline skater, photographer, YouTube content creator and barber school student living in Tallahassee, Florida.


What is the current situation with COVID-19 in Florida?

That’s a great question. I’m in Florida and our governor is kind of a moron and hasn’t been very definitive with much, so it seems like a lot of things are up in the air as far as businesses and public spaces opening back up.

Are you still skating? If so what precautions are you taking to stay safe? 

Yes, I am still skating. I go to the college campuses in Tallahassee and skate around them early in the day when no one is there. I’ve spent over 10 hours at FSU in the last week and have only seen a handful of other people, none of whom came within 50 feet of me. The school is out, all students have moved off of campus and the entire place is empty. For aggressive skating, I bought and installed a 10 foot metal rail in my driveway so I can keep working on new tricks.

What would make you stop skating?

Probably nothing, since I’ve got the rail in my driveway and don’t need to leave my property to use it.

Are you doing any cross training? 

Nope. I’ve been skating enough that it’s enough of a workout for me.

What other activities are you doing to occupy your time? 

I’ve been working on a lot of the behind the scenes aspects for my YouTube channel and trying to get some merchandise going. That’s been taking up a massive amount of my time, but other than that I’ve been studying to take my state board to get my barber license later this month. 

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life? 

I’m used to my girlfriend being at work and my kids being at school throughout the day, so having everyone at home 24/7 has been very difficult on me mentally. I’m extremely introverted and need a lot of time to myself. Without the ability to really be alone, I’ve been going stir crazy and having some really terrible anxiety issues. If it wasn’t for still getting to skate, I’d honestly be in pretty bad shape.

What are your major concerns right now and looking into the future?

My major concern is people not taking this whole situation seriously. I worry that all the people bouncing around their cities, hanging out with friends and carrying on like nothings wrong. These people are going to cause a prolonged quarantine situation that won’t get better until a vaccine is found.

How is your local skate community responding?

My only real contact with the actual skate scene here revolves around me bumping into them at the skatepark, so I’m not entirely sure what they’re up to.


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Jan Welch

Founder and creator of bigwheelblading.com

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