Q1. You’ve got a long history with skate – from speed skating, ice hockey, derby and now freestyle park skating – is there something that connects them all that keeps bringing you back to skate?
I think the fact that skating offers so many different disciplines and I was able to stay interested by having a go at each one as they evolved. It is also a small community so often we cross paths with old friends.
My journey started in 1980 when a rink opened in my area “The Big Roller’ at Carlingford NSW so I started roller skating when I was 9. The guys that opened the rink were speed skaters and the kids that skated well there were mostly boys. As I aspired to skate as well as them because the speed skaters were the cool crew. I joined the speed team when I was 11or 12 and got pretty good at it. Skating with the older boys made me faster and I never seem to have lost that skill.
In the 1990’s I ventured into ice skating and ice hockey and then Inline hockey which only had men’s teams at the time so I played in them too. It was the start of non-discrimination that allowed women to be included in the men’s teams. In 1996 I played in the first Australian women’s ice hockey team against a visiting American Junior women’s team.
In 2010 an old school friend got in contact with me and said I remember you were a good skater back in school, you should play roller derby with us. I had just spent almost 20 years on the ice and inline skates so going back to quads was a bit weird. I had kept my speed skates from the 80’s so it was kind of cool breaking them out again. The founder of Tweed Valley roller derby and I started a junior program called Twin Towns derby brats as we both had daughters that were too young to play derby.
The Derby brats led to my connection back to skating and park skating. Some years later after my daughter had finished school and Uni she told me about her friend that was still skating and was into park skating. When I saw what she was doing on roller skates in the skate park my mind was blown. Even with 40 years of skating experience under my belt I had to go back to beginner level. Outdoors I was a total bambi. I was scared to go down hills, I had no idea how to navigate rough surfaces and I certainly had no clue about roller skating in a half pipe. The thought of dropping in off a vertical edge was the scariest thing I’d ever seen.
All of a sudden, I had my skating mojo back.!