Ever wanted to try roller derby? This program is the perfect introduction | HerCanberra

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Ever wanted to try roller derby? This program is the perfect introduction

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When Whip It came out in 2009, I watched wide-eyed as Elliot Page and Drew Barrymore zoomed around the rink, wishing I could try my hand at the badass, team-oriented sport of roller derby.

If that was you too, do we have some good news for you.

The Canberra Roller Derby League (CRDL) Freshies Learn to Skate Program is back, giving you the chance to learn a new sport and new skills alongside fellow newbies.

Open to skaters aged 17 and above and kicking off on Friday 3 May at 6.30 pm at Hedley Beare Centre For Teaching And Learning in Stirling, the Freshies program will teach you everything you need to know about staying upright on skates without looking like Bambi on ice, including basic derby skating skills and how to fall safely.

Skater Wrecker Mortis says that for her, the program was the perfect jumping off (skating off…?) point to get into the sport of roller derby.

“A friend of mine did the program and recommended it to me. I joined because I wanted to challenge myself and stayed because of the friends I’ve made and how fun roller derby is.”

“It teaches you both basic skating skills and how it relates to roller derby, which allows a smooth transition to more advanced levels. It also ensures your safety in skating and especially for a contact sports like roller derby.”

Photography: Black Fortress Labs

While Wrecker Mortis had some prior skating experience, she says that the program allowed them to “not only renew my skills but also learn necessary techniques that I didn’t learn as I was self-taught.”

“It gets me out of my comfort zone and made me a better skater overall with more skills in my tool bag and learn to fall safe with my gear on.”

Fellow Skater Moon Shiner is now an experienced skater and part of the CRDL administrative team but first found her feet in the Learn to Skate program.

“Like many people, I bought myself some roller skates during the lockdowns, but I struggled to teach myself anything beyond awkwardly rolling forward,” she says.

“Once that all ended, I saw a flyer for the program and thought it’d be great to have someone teach me how to safely stop and turn around. After I finished the program, I was having so much fun that I joined the next program, Learn to Derby, to build on my skills and learn the rules of the game.”

Photography: Black Fortress Labs

Moon Shiner says the best part about the program is that it’s perfect for everyone – even those not planning on crafting a cool skate name and taking to the rink.

“Even if you’re not keen on a contact sport like roller derby, Learn to Skate makes sure that you’re prepared for contact, especially with the floor! The coaches are really friendly and passionate, and they make learning to fall down really fun.”

“They give you a little taste of roller derby, but the focus is really learning skating basics so that you can comfortably do something like a chill skate around the lake.”

Photography: Black Fortress Labs

For Moon Shiner, it’s all about the confidence you’ll gain – and what doors this could open for you.

“The program taught me every roller-skating skill I have. I could barely stop rolling when I started, and now I’m comfortable enough on eight wheels to try and stop someone skating at me on the derby track! It’s such a wonderful sport that’s inclusive of all bodies and I’ve become more confident on and off skates.”

Poster by Michael Lloyd.

Find out more at crdl.com.au/freshies.

Feature image by Black Fortress Labs

HerCanberra is a proud media partner of Canberra Roller Derby League.

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