Caro Hernández On The New Chuffed Skates x HOQ Boot

by Marta
chuffed skates concrete

Chuffed Skates have been a progressive brand since their beginning. The Australian company sells skates, of course, but they are dedicated to giving back to the communities and their team skaters.

Their latest collaboration with Colombian skate crew Hell on Quads (HOQ) has a strong message and purpose. The new model, the HOQ x Chuffed Skates Concrete, will bring a quality but affordable option to Latin American skaters who can rarely afford the expensive shoes of popular brands.

Carolina Hernández and Alexandra Londoño have been the driving force behind HOQ for many years. We were lucky enough to get Caro for an in-depth interview. She talks about how this boot came to fruition, how the concept behind it works to make the new skate affordable to Latin American skaters and she gives details what to expect from it.

Caro, congrats on the HOQ x Chuffed Skates. With bringing a boot to life that will be accessible and available in Latin America, did you reach one of your biggest goals?

Thank you so much! This was one of our biggest dreams with Moon for Hell on Quads. It’s something that seemed unattainable and to see it materialized is as crazy as it sounds. We now have the work to make them more accessible in the area, but it has been a rewarding and exciting process and Chuffed was an amazing partner to do so.

South American countries have amazing and dedicated skaters but many countries struggle with inflation, economic crises and weak currencies. What products for roller skating are actually available and how do skaters navigate their way through the lack of supply?

This depends on the country you locate in. Due to our dependence on the dollar price and local economics it’s difficult to get imported products. Therefore, there’s a lot of skater owned / locally made products available at the moment. For example: there’s a variety of Colombian shops that work with local shoemakers to build and sell skate boots, or develop DIY products such as sliders, toe stops. We also rely a lot on what the skateboarding market brings. Since it’s bigger, they import much more product. So attaining wheels and bearings also depends on what is available through them. In other countries like Argentina, artistic skating is so strong that they have their own distributors, boot makers etc. So you can see many amazing skaters ripping on modified artistic set ups in there. In Chile through las Cabras, they also develop product, and there are shops invested on importing roller skating goods like Arpía Roller Skate. We have come a long way and skating has been made more accessible through the hands of the skaters’ part of the community. 

How did the idea for HOQ x Chuffed Skates come about? What is the concept behind the skates?

The idea came when we started in 2014, we would talk about the possibilities and what we thought was needed as park skaters. We met Samantha (Chuffed Skates founder, ed. Note) on one of her trips to Colombia years ago, and couldn’t be prouder and happier because she worked so hard on Chuffed and is and was already making big steps towards inclusivity and giving back to the community within her first years with the brand.

Last year, I came to Spring Cup and Sam was there along more of the Chuffed crew, we re-visited the conversation and a few months after we started thinking on the design and what we needed it to be: a good skate for basic/intermediate skating, that could be adapted to parks/street and as a full set since it’s hard to get a compatible set here. 

The skate is now available through for Colombian sales, for US and Canadá, for Australian and worldwide shipping and we’re working with local distributors on each country to make it easier to attain for skaters in Latin American countries. So far, you can get these in Chile through Arpía Roller Skate, and we’re working on getting a distribution in México.

Chuffed Skates has been giving back to multiple projects through their collab skates, as well as supporting their skaters with signature products. What we asked for our collab skate is to use part of the earnings on the worldwide sales to lower the price in Latin American countries. We are trying to set the lower price on a limited amount for the region.

photo: Anny Ayala @spooook.y

This is an amazing concept! Were you involved in the design process? What features were important for you when creating the boot?

I was! I got to pick how stiff the boot needed to be but without compromising the price, which was a hard task. With Moon we have also decided which wheel shape, durometer, and diameter was our favorite for it. The set comes with a standard plate that is compatible with wide trucks and the angle allow big sliders on it. The hardest part was to create a good set up that wouldn’t be too expensive. 

In terms of color and liner, Chuffed gave me total freedom, and as we picked the colorway with Moon, I proceeded to design the liner, wheels graphics and packaging. This was finally approved and improved by the Chuffed team and Cath helped us a lot with the infographics and packaging, and Sugu guided me through the liner design.

HOQ x chuffed skates

How long did you work on the boot and what difficulties did you face?

We started the process back in July 2022. The first tester came by the end of the year so we started to give feedback on the set up to Sam and gave it a good ride before making adjustments. The hardest part was making the skate affordable without making it too expensive, and picking a colorway (we had too many ideas).

What are your hopes for this collaboration?

I would love to see people riding these and connect with the project we structured, to spread the word and dig in deeper into what Latin American skating is about. I am stoked as many skaters abroad had told me they got the skates! It will take a while for Latin American skaters to save up to get a new pair, but the fact this is put out there also means a lot in terms of making our community more welcomed into the industry. 

I hope this is just a first and not an only, and that more companies and makers start projects that align more with the values of our community and to skaters to support these.

Carolina Hernández, photo: Anny Ayala @spooook.y

Do you feel like you can sit back now or are you working on some new big goals?

To be honest, seeing this materialized has put me into a lot of feelings. I felt a lot of fulfilment once it was done, then perplexed, then stoked again. What’s constant is that I know it’s not done just with having the skates. There are just different tasks now, and I am happy to keep working on the project, so it is not lost in the big social media and can reach as many people as possible. 

For now, I’m taking a step back on some responsibilities with the help of Moon, keep working with S1 and Chuffed, and am thinking on a new project for next year. One of my goals is working hand in hand with Chuffed for their growth.  As much as I love skating, it is hard to keep up trying to skate/create/work all in the same environment, so I want to explore other possibilities to create and keep traveling and connecting with more people.

You and Alexandra are heading for a Euro tour this summer. Where can we fangirl, hang out or join workshops with you both?  

Yay! This was the year to finally jump on it and we are so stoked! Our schedules don’t match at all, but we will be in Barcelona together for sure. You can find the final dates of the workshops on our socials since we haven’t locked in some of those yet! Can’t wait to skate with new friends!

Moon’s Schedule:
London August 25-31 / París September 1-7 / Marseille September 8-11 / Barcelona September 12-19

Caro’s Schedule:
Las Vegas August 20-26 / New York August 27 – September 4 / London September 5-10 / Barcelona September 11-19 / Italia September 20-27

Alexandra Londoño and the new Chuffed Skates HOQ Concrete
photo: Anny Ayala @spooook.y

Top Image by @spooook.y
Interview by @octopolly

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