Qiona Payton is Texas born but lives and skates in Birmingham, Alabama. She started out a year ago and already has some impressive tricks in her pocket and some solid speed when hitting ledges. Find out more about Qiona in our Under the Radar interview.
Qiona, please introduce yourself!
My name is Qiona Payton (@qionamarie) and I am 26 years old from College Station, Texas, but I currently live in Birmingham, Alabama.
How long have you been skating and what inspired you to start?
I started roller skating in August of 2021 after my fiancé encouraged me to try it after he got back into skateboarding during the pandemic. One day while I was out at a local DIY spot called the Dojo, I saw someone on quad skates jumping onto rails and ledges. I never knew it was possible to do things like that and needless to say I have been hooked ever since.
Tell us a bit about the roller skate scene in your city?
There are not very many quad skaters who park or street skate here, but there are some derby skaters that I have met from the Tragic City Rollers derby team. They have some members also a part of our local CIB chapter that were park skating before the pandemic and have recently gotten back into it after the opening of the new skatepark downtown. That has also sparked the interest of rink skaters as well, so I would say the scene is definitely growing.
Do you have good skateparks in your area and how is the vibe there?
There are a couple small skateparks within an hour of Birmingham, but nothing in the city until the CityWalk Skatepark opened this past June on Go Skate Day. The park is about 57,000 sq ft and is said to be the 5th largest in the country, so locals and out of town visitors are still getting used to it. Most people in the area know each other so the community here is like a family.
Which skatepark is your favorite?
The CityWalk Skatepark hands down is my favorite because not only is it 15 minutes away from my house, but I am also the manager there. The park has so much space and obstacles for everyone to learn and have fun that there is always something to do. I love when I progress, but nothing is more enjoyable for me than watching other people in the skatepark progress over time. Especially my friends, who I get to see during work as well as during my freetime almost every day.
Favorite tricks you go for everywhere you show up?
My favorite trick would probably be a tie between 360s both forward and fakie on just about every obstacle and 50-50s on ledges and coping. Frontside slides on rails, ledges and coping would be a close second to those.
You seem pretty comfortable with ledges and grinds. What’s your secret to get good at them?
Not going to lie, but ledges and grinds on coping scare me ALL the time no matter how many times I have done the trick. A piece of advice that I received at Moxi Skate Camp from Katie (@bambibloodlust) was to get comfortable with stalls first before turning them into slides and grinds. Another tip I got was from my friend Kayla (@lilspacecowgurl) who told me to look down towards the end of the ledge where I want to go and bring the speed.
What does your skate-travel wish-list look like?
I have been trying my hardest to make my way out to California to see some friends and my mom’s family where she grew up. Another place would probably be back home to Texas where there is an endless amount of skateparks and great street spots to skate. Places outside of the US would probably be in Europe like Germany or Spain.
What do you do if you are not skating?
If I am not skating or working at the skatepark, I am hanging out with my friends around town or at home playing video games. I recently got sponsored by Brainfreeze Skate Wax based out of Dallas, TX as well as Rock Star Bearings based out of NY, so my hope is that I will be able to spend my free time traveling to skate with my teammates, while visiting new places around the country and the world.