Q+A with Yaz Burnett

Interview by L.R. Zimmerman

“There’s nothing better than enjoying what you love with people you love! I really don’t have anything to complain about other than wishing there were more ladies out here skating with us!” – Yazim Burnett

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Q: How did you get into skating?

A: Well, my first job was working at a Sonic in Arizona. They were a strictly skating store, so to be a carhop I had to learn how to roller skate. It was so much fun learning, and I honestly have Sonic to thank for teaching me the basics and introducing me to skating. Three years later — this summer — I bought a pair of Moxi Jungles off a friend and took them to the park. Quickie Mart Tulsa had a sponsored ad on Instagram about a contest in Owasso and it included quads! I decided to go and check out the event and fell in love! Seeing ladies shred at the park on their skates and having fun is really what got me started. Shortly after, I started to look into quad park skating and found a beautiful worldwide online community. CIBCREW. It was formerly known as Chicks in Bowls, but has recently changed to CIB crew for inclusivity purposes. Just hearing the words “chicks in bowls” had me hooked. 

Q: What skaters inspired you?

A: The Moxi skate team originally inspired me. They put out a video a couple years back and it looked like they were living the dream on roller skates! Alexis Cohen @lexo_skates was the first person I met that day in Owasso, she was so welcoming and is all around BADASS! My favorite skaters as far as pros go are Barbie Patin @barbie.patin with Chaya skates & Caroline Millicent @mermskates on the Moxi skate team. Barbie Patin has so much street style, it’s insane! I’m currently skating the Chaya Kismets, Barbies pro skate. I decided to buy them because I couldn’t afford getting a full park setup of Moxi Lollys. The Chayas already had everything I needed, grind blocks and wheels that work for both park and street skating. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is learning how to skate?

A: Have fun! It’s always fun trying new things, and skating is a great hobby to have. Be patient with yourself and remember we all have different learning paces and our own set of mental blocks! Protective gear can give you a little more confidence too! It’s your body and your choice if you want to wear a helmet and pads, don’t let others make that decision for you. Get a friend to go with you and make some new friends along the way! Just go out and skate! Find a nice spot to skate around at. May it be an empty parking lot, a tennis court, your driveway or grandma’s wooden floors. Just go skate. I would advise against going to the skatepark at peak hours if it’s your first time on wheels. That can be extremely overwhelming. Get some basics down and then start hitting up the skatepark! Don’t give up or start beating yourself up if you’re not getting it right away. Just remember to have fun!!! 

Q: What are some of your struggles as a female skater?

A: Well I think the pressure for female roller skaters isn’t as high as it is for female skateboarders. Roller skating is sort of an unknown territory for men out here, they have much less room to do their mansplaining. Roller skating has roller derby which was once an exclusively female sport, and I think that’s why there are so many more females on quads than males. All of that aside, we still have to deal with similar struggles as female skaters. 

I think roller skating equivalent to “Do a kickflip!” is “Do a backflip!” Man, don’t tell me to do a fucking backflip. Lots of men underestimate what females can do at the park, and how tough we are. There have been a couple of occasions where my friends and my skating has impressed men but they couldn’t get enough of it. They’d continue to herd around us at the park, butting in conversations and trying to mansplain how to do a trick. There’s a line between friendliness and harassment, stay on the side of friendliness. My friends and I have experienced more of this at other parks, I’ve only had one spill up with a dude here in Joplin. 

Q: Do you enjoy skating in Joplin?

A: I love it, honestly! I’ve only been around since June, but this is where I started park skating and where I call home when asked. I’m meeting some of my favorite people from skating and just by being in the area! I was living in Miami, OK and driving out here 4-6 times a week to skate and hang out with friends. Moving to Joplin in October had a really positive impact on my life. I think the Joplin community welcomed me in quickly and I’m very grateful for that. There’s nothing better than enjoying what you love with people you love! I really don’t have anything to complain about other than wishing there were more ladies out here skating with us! 

Q: What are some of your goals for 2020?

A: There’s so much to do!! AHH! This is going to be a great year! I really want to go on a few weekend skate trips with friends. Oklahoma City and St. Louis are some big cities at the top of my list. Visiting some new parks like Eureka Springs and Tahlequah and also going back to a few parks. Owasso is one of my favorites!  I definitely want to get more in tune with myself, and develop my own kind of ‘style.’ You’ll be catching me getting more comfortable on the streets this year, rolling around and having fun. I’m excited to roll into more community events like Third Thursdays and other downtown art walks. 

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