Category Archives: Fresh Meat

March: Roller Derby Gear – A Freshie’s Guide by Shreddy Mercury

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One of the first, and most daunting, decisions that people need to make when they join a derby league is their gear. Hopefully this guide is helpful to somebody out there!

What do I need to buy?

WARD skaters wear:

  • Helmet
  • Mouth guard
  • Knee pads
  • Elbow pads
  • Wrist guards


Most skaters start off with some kind of polyurethane (vegan leather) boot and a nylon plate. These are on the cheaper end of the scale and are very comfortable. Depending on a number of factors, these skates might last you anywhere from six months to a couple of years. Mine lasted for about a year, and I was skating a few times per week.

A good fit is very important, so I’d recommend trying on your first skates before buying (rather than buying them online). If you can, get a proper fitting at a skate shop.


Get a good-quality helmet that fits properly (i.e. snug but not headache-inducingly tight). You want to protect your brain, don’t you? Look for brands such as S1, Triple 8, Nutcase, TSG, Pro-Tec and Bauer.

Mouth Guard

Dentist-made mouthguards will cost an arm and a leg, but they give your teeth amazing impact protection. Most skate shops sell decent “boil and bite” mouthguards too- these are often less bulky than the dentist-made ones, and they can also be easier to talk and drink with.

Kneepads, Elbow Pads and Wrist Guards

Buy the best kneepads you can afford. You don’t notice how important your knees are until you hurt them. Expensive derby kneepads can be bulky, though- at first, I thought they were RIDICULOUS and had no idea how I’d skate in them. But you’ll get used to them very quickly, and the bulkier kneepads force you to bend your knees more- perfect for derby.

Good elbow pads tend to be less expensive than good kneepads. I’d recommend the kind with velcro straps at the back (so they open right out), not ones that just slip on. I’ve learned the hard way that the ones that don’t open up at the back are IMPOSSIBLE to de-stink, but then maybe you’re not as stinky as me.

Cheaper wrist guards will often have a big “bump” where the palm of your hand is. These are fine for fresh meat. I’ve heard that they can hurt your teammates in proper game play, though- so wrist guards with a flatter palm area are a wise investment if you’re thinking longer-term.

Good knee pad, elbow pad and wrist guard brands include: Triple 8, S1, Pro-Tec, 187, Deadbolt, Atom, TSG and Smith Scabs.

Stopping the Stink: Protective Gear

Image: Some lovely clean WARDian gear from DerbyFest this year.

Image: Some lovely clean WARDian gear from DerbyFest this year.

You’ll find heaps of guides on this all over the internet. Here’s what works for me.

At minimum: take your protective gear out of your bag after every practice. If you have a tiny washing line, hang your gear up and put it somewhere airy. (A bit of sun can help, too- but it can eventually damage elastic.) You can spray it all with an alcohol/disinfectant spray if you like. Brush your mouth guard with toothpaste

Once this stops working: hand-wash or machine-wash your gear (check what the manufacturer recommends). If you’re machine-washing, separate it into separate wash bags so it doesn’t all stick together. If your mouth guard looks gross, soak it overnight in a mixture of 50% water, 50% white vinegar, then rinse it well.

Stopping the Stink: Skates

Those really well-padded freshie skates get super stinky! I used to spray them with an alcohol spray and air them out, but this often wasn’t enough to stop the stink. A number of my friends swear by the moisture absorbers sold by skate shops. Otherwise, fill a sock with kitty litter and put it in your skates.

Less-padded boots will generally get less stinky- just make sure you’re airing them out after every practice.

Interested in skating with WARD? Hit us up on the WA Roller Derby Facebook page, or e-mail We have a new skater intake every 12 weeks; no experience needed!

Shreddy x

Featured Image Photo Credit:  Hermoine Danger
Roller Derby Fresh Meat

My Fresh Meat Adventure – Domina Morphine

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By Domina Morphine…

I’d had butterflies all week leading up to my first training session. I imagined pro-skaters, with muscular bodies clad in sparkly, spandex shorts and fishnet stockings; wondering what an uncoordinated, non-sparkly, non-athletic person like me was doing on the track. I’d had zero experience being on wheels. Unless you count wearing my skates like an excited teenager while watching roller derby videos in anticipation of beginning Fresh Meat.

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Fresh Meat

My Fresh Meat Adventure – Missy Demeanor

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By Missy Demeanor…

Walking into Rolloways O’Connor again after 20 years of not skating was weird. Not only was I trying to smile so no one would see my fear, I was amazed that it still looked and smelled the same. I looked around at all the other scared looking freshies and realised we were all different people with different dreams coming together to try something new… and it was awesome.

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Fresh Meat

My Fresh Meat Experience – Goodie 2 Skates

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By Goodie 2 Skates

After a family outing going skating and ended up in emergency with a possible broken arm, I got the skating bug. A friend suggested we join roller derby, I thought yeah I can do this. So I went to the fresh meat intake registration day, met some great people and became so excited and looked forward to my first training session.

My first night of training ended up been a disaster due to illness but it was the beginning of a great exciting journey. I found out how awesome the girls were and started new friendships. Read More