For the 89th daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Sascha Simms. Sascha is a 34-year-old inline skater, warehouse worker and massage therapist in training living in Keene, New Hampshire, USA.

What steps did New Hampshire take to battle COVID-19 and how are things there now?

New Hampshire shut down non-essential businesses. The state is finally beginning to open back up, but with some restrictions. You have to wear masks when going out and some places require you to make appointments. Other than that, things have gone back to normal it seems.

Were you skating during the COVID-19 lockdown?

I had just been hired by C&S Wholesale Grocers at the time the restrictions went into affect. Luckily I’m considered essential, so I was able to work throughout the whole shutdown. With people staying at home, work got crazy and we were swamped for a good three months. I have been able to get back on my blades quite a bit now that things have loosened up, which has been awesome because I was going crazy!

Ao fish at the Gold Comp in San Jose, California. Photo by Erick Garcia.

Where have you been going to skate?

For a while I was living on the border of Massachusetts in Pelham, New Hampshire. At the time I was working at Thuro Shop in Boston, so was frequently skating with all the Boston dudes. Lately I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Pelham and Keene, so I’ve been skating both areas quite a bit! I’ve even been hitting up Vermont. 

Is there anything that would make you stop skating?

Paralysis. But in all seriousness, I have never stopped skating. I know many people who’ve stopped due to stuff like jobs, girls, drugs or injury. I’ve also been guilty of having all those things affect my life, but I’ve always centered everything around skating. I made every job I’ve ever had aware of my dedication to the sport and let them know that it sometimes takes me away for competitions and other events. As far as the relationships I’ve had with women, I’ve always made it very apparent to them how much skating means to me and if they had any issues with that, then the relationship couldn’t work. Drugs have never had a hold on me, so that has never been issue. Injuries are definitely present, but fortunately I take decent care of myself. I have some little aches and pains, but nothing major and overall I feel really good.

Photos by Pete Bernard.

Are you doing any cross training? 

No, but I totally should.

What other activities are you doing to occupy your time? 

I play guitar, write music and sing. I’ve been doing some downhill longboarding. I also have been tinkering with modding skates and making my own parts.

Flatspin at the Gold Comp in San Jose, California. Photo by Erick Garcia.

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life? 

When the shut down went into effect life was really boring and I spent a lot of time just sitting around the house. Now that most things have reopened, life has pretty much gone back to normal. Luckily here in New Hampshire we haven’t been hit as hard as other places. Honestly the restrictions implemented by the state to keep crowds to a minimum have been really nice. Street skating has become a lot easier now that there are less people around to get mad.

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

Oh man… that’s a big question. I want some good to come out of the recent Black Lives Matter protests and pushback from the public. Not to get too political, but I’m lucky that things went the way they did for me and my loved ones during this pandemic, but not everyone was so lucky. There are a lot of people being mistreated and not taken care of properly. I’ll do what I can to fight for these changes, I just hope I live long enough to see things get better.

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How is your local skate community responding? Are they social distancing?

Some are and some aren’t, but I won’t name names!

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Many aggressive skaters think that the mid 2000’s was the holy grail of skating, but I think currently the sport is at the best point it’s ever been. Some of the most mind-blowing skating I’ve ever seen has happened fairly recently and people’s style has become so good and so clean. I really love how people are skating right now. Technology in the sport has come a long way too and the egos that held down skating in the past aren’t there anymore. The competitions I attended before the pandemic were some of the most fun comps ever! People are more welcoming, more kids are getting involved and overall more people are starting to skate, or come back to skating. I’m happy to say that it really seems like the old days of rollerblading being hated on are over. It’s been a long time since someone has given me crap for skating. Nine times out of ten people are stoked on what I’m doing. I’m really happy with how the sport has evolved.

Header photo by Brian Krans


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