How to become a street skater who finds freedom on four-wheeled shoes

Roller skates equal freedom

If you’ve seen a guy on roller skates gliding backwards through traffic on a London road recently, the likelihood is that it’s Devante Walters. The native Londoner is a street skater (or ‘street surfer’) who uses the British capital’s side streets, green spaces, abandoned car parks and – yes – even busy roads as his skatepark.

Having been perfecting his skills for years, Devante started sharing his eight-wheeled adventures and signature moves both on social media (@dev2me) and with other like-minded skaters less than a year ago. Now he zooms around the city on the reg with a line of other street surfers trailing behind him, like he’s the Pied Piper of roller skaters.

But it’s not about showing off or getting thrills. For Devante, skating represents “happiness. Expression. Freedom. Community. I hope you can feel that energy when watching all my videos,” he said on his Instagram. “And if you was ever thinking about getting skates, the London skate community are here to welcome you with open arms.”

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get a skate on...

Who taught you to skate?

So, I am actually a self-taught skater, me and my friends one day decided to grab some skates for fun just to try it out. We taught ourselves the very basic moves going forward going backwards until we bet other more experiences skaters and learnt from them.

What made you leave your day job to become a skater full time?

I made the decision to leave my job as I felt the job that I was in it wasn’t getting the best version of me. When I am skating, I am my most genuine, most authentic self, I’m my happiest and I am just feeling like you’ve got to do whatever makes you happy which was when I decided to leave and pursue my passion which is skating and creating content.

Describe how it feels when you’re vibing on your skates?

When I am out skating it’s almost as if the whole world stops and nothing else matters it’s about me, my skates and my music. It’s a quite intimate and personal thing and I feel free, I feel happy and that’s why I love my skating.

How did you find your skating community?

My skating community was basically formed with my group of friends and we were able to reach out to other skaters through social media and then from there it just pretty much became a group. Obviously with COVID there were a lot of new people taking up skating as well and we were able to include all these new skaters and make the community what it is now.

Any tips for street skating like a pro?

The main thing with street skating is confidence as long as you are confident in your own ability and you are confident in what you can do your pretty much half way there. You always want to be aware of your surroundings and aware of what’s ahead so you don’t end up getting yourself in to a sticky situation. So, two things, confidence and being aware of your surroundings.

Best starter skates and why?

It depends on what kind of skating you want to get into, if you want to get into the more kind of speed, street skating which is what I do I would say obviously go for ice hockey converts which are ice skates converted into roller skates or if you are more into the more chill, jamming, dancing kind of skating you want to go for more artistic skates.