By Abbey Cannan
The disco wave of roller skating in the 70s has spun back in trend with the Covid-19 lockdown creating a spike in people taking up the hobby.
Former roller derby player Nicola Brown has now brought her in demand RollerFit classes to the Noosa Leisure Centre after the community was vocal about wanting their own venue.
Nicola said the sport has slowly gained traction in the past 10 to 15 years but she hadn’t seen anything like the huge interest since Covid-19.
“TikTok skaters have become a sensation, with more people on social media during lockdown periods, obviously feeling inspired to use their spare time to pick up a hobby like many in this generation did as kids,” she said.
“Skates have been sold out in many places with huge wait lists, it’s incredible.”
Nicola started playing roller derby in 2010 until she left five years later when she was pregnant with her eldest daughter.
“After having my second daughter in 2017 I was wanting to get back into skating but couldn’t risk the injuries of derby,” Nicola said.
“I wanted something regular and I searched but couldn’t find what I was looking for in the area, and I came across RollerFit in Sydney and Melbourne.
“I have a background in event management, so seemed like the perfect intersection of interests and talents, and that’s how RollerFit Queensland came about.”
Nicola said she was always getting requests to open in new towns, but Noosa and the northern Sunshine Coast had been the most vocal about wanting their own local venue.
“Coupled with the Noosa Leisure Centre being super supportive of the skating and the idea of RollerFit, it was an easy decision,” she said.
Nicola said the community’s reaction to the classes had been positive.
“Obviously navigating through different lockdown regulations has been a challenge and it’s certainly different to any way we’ve run things in the past, but despite these conditions people are still keen and our first afternoon today went really well,” Nicola said.
“A great new group of skaters turning up as strangers, leaving chatting about skates and skate spots and tricks. The best.”
Nicola said the reason why roller skating was so fun was because the novelty never wore off.
“Even after skating for over 10 years, and so far every single day in 2020, I still get butterflies in my belly every time I put my skates on and take off,” she said.
“It gives you that youthful adventure adults so often miss out on and forget.
“Not to mention the creative side of skating in terms of the outfits, skate accessories, and then of course the music you can RollerDance to and routines you can learn and perfect.”
She said her best tip for new skaters was to find somewhere flat, smooth and relatively private.
“People tend to stare at you when you’re on skates, it’s only natural and 99 per cent of the time it’s because they think you’re cool but this can feel intimidating as a newer skater,” she said.
“To start practicing, take it slow, there’s no race to learn. Enjoy the journey. And always say hi to other skaters.”
The recreational roller skating fitness classes will run weekly at the Noosa Leisure Centre on Sundays, Kids Class (under 14yrs) 3:30pm-4:30pm followed by an Adults Class 4:30pm-5:30pm.
For more information visit www.rollerfit.com.au