To be in the presence of David G. Miles Jr., San Francisco's “Godfather of Skate,” is to experience pure, unadulterated joy. And it's contagious – as any of his many fans, friends and “apostles” will attest.

For 45 years, Miles has tirelessly advocated for roller skaters, advocating for public space and building roller rinks in unlikely locations, as well as offering impromptu lessons, motivational speaking and general good cheer while supporting and inspiring a multi-generational, eclectic group of enthusiasts. Next up, Miles is hosting a brand new, hopefully annual, citywide festival from July 16-21 that he will call Skate Week San Francisco.

“Why not? San Francisco needs a party every day,” jokes Miles.

David G. Miles Jr. skateboards back to his DJ booth at the Church of 8 Wheels in San Francisco on September 20, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Miles' love affair with roller skating began one Sunday in 1979 when he first encountered roller skaters in Golden Gate Park. It's hard to imagine today, but back then roller skating was considered a public nuisance and there were moves to ban it altogether.

In response, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department recruited Miles and friends to lead a volunteer Skate Patrol of safety ambassadors. They were so successful that not only were skaters allowed to stay in the park, but the paved area at 6th and Fulton Streets officially became Skatin' Place in 1984. To honor this history, the Skate Week logo features a member of the Skate Patrol in their signature red jacket with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Roller skaters practice on the paved area of ​​a tree-lined park.
The Skatin' Place in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. (Courtesy of David Miles Jr.)

Across that bridge. In addition to Skate Week events at Skatin' Place and Miles' popular nighttime roller disco, the Church of 8 Wheels, the main attraction will be a massive pop-up roller rink at Crissy Field, overlooking San Francisco's most famous landmark.

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