Locals to Know: 5 Questions with Dorsa Vaziri of WOW Rolling

I first met Dorsa at her place of work, Whippoorwill Beerhouse in the Milk District. We bonded over mutual friends and a glass of wine. Later on, she whipped up tasty zero-proof cocktails for an event Pulptown held at The Heavy during “dry” January a few years back. 

But she doesn’t just excel at drink-making — this girl is a wonder woman on some skates. I mean it! I’ve been following her since she first debuted her passion project, WOW Rolling, to the rest of the world. And I’m loving the direction she’s heading in and the traction she’s getting. Enough that  I wanted to introduce her to you. Because if you’re anything like me, the pandemic has greatly increased your appreciation for old-school skating videos too. 

So here goes nothing: 

When/why did you start skating? The same question goes for WOW Rolling. My mom would take me to Semoran Skateway in Casselberry as a child, and while she worked on her laptop, I would twirl around the rink and take lessons. 

In the last three years, roller skating has become more consistent for me when I needed a healthy outlet for my mental health issues and wanted a way to move my body and express myself. I posted a few things about starting up skating again and a few friends reached out to connect me to their friends who were also skating and we slowly started growing with meet-ups and skating sessions at various parks around town. 

WOW Rolling was a page I started to track my own personal progress and just celebrate the simple pleasures of rolling around, being on wheels, and having fun with your friends. I went to Moxi Skate Camp in Woodward, PA, which is hosted by Moxi Roller Skates, in 2019 with three of my skate friends from Orlando and we had the most influential and incredible time amongst skaters from all over the nation and the talented coaches who shared their knowledge with us that we were inspired to keep that energy going here in Orlando.  

Thus, a star was born. 

Dorsa, what tips would you give someone looking to get back on wheels?

  1. Find the right wheels/gear for you! Ask around, do some research and get what you like.
  2. Find friends to skate with! I swear I get better each time I skate with my pals because we can all show off what we’re working on to each other.
  3. Practice! Be kind to yourself! Take care of your body by stretching, drinking water and taking breaks so you can skate as often as you’d like and crush all your skate goals.

What is your go-to skate song? “Casio” by Jungle for when I want to groove and find a good dance beat. If I just want to put my headphones on and cruise, I’ll play the Disclosure “Energy” album.

Who would you like to “partner skate” with? Neon Keon! She’s an Iranian skater in California and I love her style, her bold curls and her dance moves! (Editor’s note: Same girl, same.)

What’s next for WOW Rolling and where to find Dorsa? I’ll be hosting more WOW Wear & Care Pop-Ups soon. Find me on Instagram or over on my website where I sell sustainable, secondhand, skateable wears and gear, including skate leashes, skate gear and cute outfits to roll around in. WOW Wear is slow fashion for fast skaters! 

I also have the WOW Rolling Guide to Skating where peeps can check out parks in the area, trails to skate and what to buy if they’re just starting out. In the guide, I’ve highlighted some important points about the influence of the Black community in roller skating and it’s important to recognize that roller skating isn’t “alive again” or “re-emerging,” just because it’s in the mainstream again. The Black and BIPOC folks of the roller-skating community are what keep rinks open and the community rich in culture and history — they have always been skating and creating a scene for this sport and activity.

BONUS QUESTIONS: Fill in the blank.

I’ve learned my lesson. Never ___________ before skating. 

Never forget your knee pads before skating. I always lace-up and look over and my slide-on pads like “whoops!” and it’s time to start over. After a serious tumble while on a trail skate, I’ll never go without my knee pads. 

Skating is ________ than ________ because ___________. 

Skating is more than rolling around because you’re using your physical, mental, and emotional energy to do something extraordinary. Skating around on eight wheels? That’s insane and we deserve to give more credit to our bodies for the things we can do!

What are 1-3 skating terms everyone should know before getting their start so they can sound like a pro? If you’re starting out and you’re new to the skatepark, I would definitely get familiar with the etiquette to avoid making anything less than friends at the park. CIB or Crew In Bowls has a great resource on their website about this. As far as skating terms go, I would learn some trick names and the differences between grinds, stalls, carving, pumping, etc. so you can ask for advice or give recognition to the peeps you’re skating with! It’s also helpful to learn the anatomy of your skates and understand the different functions of each part of your skate.