Feel the roller derby love
Article from September 13th 2017

East Gippsland Shire and Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby (GLRD) are excited to be bringing Roller Derby to Bairnsdale! GLRD will be launching their 12 week Quad Fit Skate Program at Bairnsdale Aquatics and Recreation Centre (B.A.R.C.) at 80 McKean Street, Bairnsdale on Sunday 17th February with a Meet & Greet from 10am – 12pm,  with subsequent sessions running weekly on Sundays from 10 – 11:30am. The Quad Fit program is developed in conjunction with Skate Victoria and run by experienced accredited coaches. It is a complete fitness program suitable for new skaters, recreations skaters or those returning or retiring from the sport. Participants will be taught (or improve on) basic Roller Skating and Roller Derby related skills during the 12 weeks. The emphasis is on fun activities and socialising while improving fitness and skill levels.

Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby are a non-for-profit organisation, which was founded in Sale in 2013 (then called Sale City Rollers). With many of their members travelling from Bairnsdale and Paynesville they saw the need to expand their boundaries and find a secondary location a little further East. Working in collaboration with BARC and the East Gippsland Shire, who were keen to get on board, they recently secured a time slot on the basketball courts at BARC.

Current GLRD Bouting members compete as part of Team Regional Victoria – The Rolling Matilda’s in The Statewide Stampede Roller Derby Tournament, with the finals just being held this weekend at Colac in South/Western Victoria, as well as the United Roller Derby Playoffs (URDP), a National competition, which ran over 2 days at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds recently on August 26th & 27th.

“With the competition season now over it is time to start focussing on introducing new people to the great sport and spreading the “Derby Love”. “says club president, Roxy T’N’T Wilton. “We have had so much interest in the Bairnsdale area we are thrilled to be able to secure such a great venue.”

Roller Derby is a contact sport gaining in popularity, especially more recently in Regional towns. It is being hailed as an alternative sport for those who do not fit the mainstream sporting options out there. While it has been instrumental in getting every day women active and involved in sport, it is recognised for its inclusive, supportive community which welcomes people from all ages, genders, nationalities, backgrounds, sizes and fitness levels, uniting people with the common interest and love of skating. GLRD’s current members range in age from 16 – 55. Their members each have very different motives for skating, some are in it for the competitive aspect, while others just skate for the exercise. Either way they are all in it for the fun and social aspects.

GLRD Senior Coaches, from left, Tab Bennett, Kylie Fordham and Roxy Wilton, will be imparting some of their knowledge at the Bairnsdale Aquatics & Recreation Centre this Sunday.

The sport is played on Roller Skates (quads), with 2 teams of 5 on track at any one time. The aim being for one member from each team (the Jammer) to pass the opposing team members as they try to block their path in 2 minute blocks (called jams). Points are scored by the Jammer after their initial pass with the Jam able to be called off early by the first (Lead) Jammer through the pack.  The game is very complex to watch and quickly switches from defence to offence. While previously the game was known for being rough and aggressive, it has changed over the years becoming more about athleticism and strategy.

“Yes Roller Derby is a Contact Sport! However, it is a progressive sport and contact is only something that is taught in time and only to those who choose that option! There are a number of skills that a skater must learn before they can even attempt to train and be taught contact.” Says Roxy. “The Quad Fit Program is a non-contact program. The next stage, Rookie Status (Level 1) is also non-contact! Contact is slowly introduced in Yellow Star training (Level 2) and tested in Orange Star (Level 3). Full contact competitive skaters are assessed after many Scrimmages (practice games) and only permitted to bout (compete) if deemed ready by coaches. Skater safety is of the highest priority!”

To further ensure skater safety, limited spots are available, so it is a matter of first in best dressed. Expressions of interest can be sent to gl.rd@outlook.com or alternately you can message us on facebook or contact us here through our website.

GLRD can supply skates and protective gear if required. You only need to bring a mouthguard, skate style helmet and a willingness to learn and have fun!

So if the mainstream sports aren't for you, then contact GLRD and they will get you up, active and rolling!