Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby in Sale is looking for skaters of all skill and fitness levels aged over 18 for their senior roller derby team.

Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby vice president and coach Liz Griffiths said the sport was a great way to stay active in a fun environment.

“The club has been here 10 years and I started nine years ago. There is a lot of training that goes into learning how to skate safely, and learning all the rules of the sport,” Ms Griffiths said.

“Roller skating is fun, and doing it with your friends is really fun. The kids in the juniors love doing it as well, especially for recreation, rather than competition.

“Skating itself is not that difficult to learn, as long as you stick with it. It can get tricky when skating close to other people, and learning how to make contact with people and bump into them, and how to get yourself back up if you fall down.

“There can be barriers to entry due to the cost of the skating equipment, but we’ve used grant money to build up loan equipment, such as the skates, helmets and pads for elbows, knees and wrists. That has really reduced the costs for a lot of people, because when I started we had to bring our own things.

“Right now, they just need to bring a mouthguard and a drink bottle. We can supply everything else. There’s a cost involved with our annual membership fee, and training fees. There’s also insurance from Skate Victoria.”

The Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby are on the hunt for more players.

Ms Griffiths says they need 15 people for a full team, and the smaller number of players have made it difficult to practise.

“We’ve never had enough for a full team. When we play in Team Regional Victoria with the other three clubs we’re with, we still don’t have full teams, because they’re small clubs like us. It’s hard to get people into a different sport like this because they’re so used to cricket, football and netball in these country areas,” she said.

“We usually play with 10 or 11 skaters. It’s also hard getting people back because with COVID, everyone had a long break. And once people stop coming, it’s too easy to just not come back. We used to have a lot of people coming up through the ranks, but since people have dropped out, that hasn’t been happening, but we’re just now starting to get skaters back in. We want to be able to show everyone what the game is actually like. We’d love to get another 20 or 30 new skaters in.”

From a fitness standpoint, Ms Griffths says that roller derby training is a full body workout.

“When you start, you will discover muscles that you didn’t know you had,” she said.

“There’s a lot of squatting as you have to keep down low so you don’t fall over as easily. And you use your arms as you’re bracing with your teammates when you’re playing. It’s your arms, legs, core strength, endurance. It’s everything.”

Ms Griffiths said that the roller derby community is very friendly, including opponents.

“A lot of people think that roller derby is this big, aggressive, fistfight on wheels where participants get injured all the time, which may have been seen in a lot of movies with old school roller derby. But it’s not like that at all, it’s played in a really safe way. And the roller derby community is really friendly, even your opponents. It’s not as aggressive as other sports.”

Those interested in finding out more can follow the Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby Facebook page for updates or to get involved.

The club skates Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Sale Showgrounds Henebery Pavilion (Dawson St) from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Training for juniors is also available.

Sale Showgrounds Henebery Pavilion. Photos: Stefan Bradley

Sale Showgrounds Henebery Pavilion.

Roller Derby action taking place in the Henebery Pavilion.

Roller Derby gives participants a good workout.