Girl power skates on

By David Kavanagh | posted on February 7, 2020

TEENAGE girls with dreams of roller derby stardom will be well supported in Albany this year, with the town’s popular Skate Like a Girl program set to enter its third rendition next week.

More than 160 youngsters from Albany, Denmark, Mount Barker and Tambellup have participated in the skating, mental health and physical wellbeing program since it was first launched by Albany Roller Derby League two years ago.

This year it will expand to include roller derby specific skills and low to moderate contact derby drills with the view of preparing those keen to join a junior roller derby team or age up into the adult team in the future.

Albany Roller Derby League coach Julie “Stax” Byrne-King said she had been “blown away by the skill progression” of participants in previous terms.

“They learn so much faster than adults and new skills and drills each week keep them entertained,” she said.

“We had them learning jump transition, where they skate forward, jump and turn 180 degrees and land it to keep skating … and this is a skill many of the adults don’t manage for six months at least.”

Skate Like a Girl made headlines last June when it become one of only two groups around the world selected to receive a grant worth thousands.

Healthway funding for the program was due to expire at the end of 2019 before United States skating organisation Girls on Track Foundation (GOTF) chose to support the program from a list of more than 40 applicants.

GOTF’s Carla Smith said at the time the league was one of the strongest and most likely to have a wide impact.

“Their successful Skate Like a Girl program and their aspirations to grow it and reach lower income families fit with our organisation’s goals of expanding awareness of and access to roller derby for teenage girls,” she said.

The program will run for girls aged 12 to 17 from 5 – 6.30pm every Thursday, commencing February 13.

Registration details can be found online at albanyrollerderby.com.au