Tweed's roller derby league
By day they are sweetly smiling ladies but by night the Valley Vixens become lean mean roller skating machines.
Tweed’s own roller derby league, Epic Northern Roller Girls, is psyching itself up to send the Valley Vixens to compete in Toowoomba in April and is on the lookout for new recruits.
ENRG Roller Derby is a flat track league for men and women aged 18 plus, based at Epic Skate Rink in Tweed Heads South.
A roller derby bout is between two teams of five players – three blockers, one pivot and one jammer, who scores points.
During a jam the pack moves anticlockwise around the track, while the jammers make their way through the pack and around the track as many times as possible.
In order to protect their identities, players skate under aliases.
Valley Vixens coach and red star player Amy ‘Death Angel’ Perlenfe said life on the rink was a rollercoaster of a ride.
“I just love everything about roller derby ... it’s competitive, fast and fun,” Ms Perlenfe said.
“The best moment was getting out in my first bout and proving I could play.
“Coaching is also fun but challenging, roller derby attracts a lot of big personalities who are all quite eccentric.
“I’m a better player because I understand the game, and the players are better after coaching.”
Ms Perlenfe said the exhilarating sport was not all about flashy moves and fishnets, with bouts leading to bumps, bruises and breaks.
“We have had two broken legs, a broken coccyx, a broken toe and a broken finger in the league,” Ms Perlenfe said.
As the first aid officer of the team, Ms Perlenfe had the chance to put her nursing skills to good use.
“One of the girls snapped her ankle in half when it got caught in the skate – it was pretty disgusting but I was glad I was able to help,” Ms Perlenfe said.
The sport of roller derby received a boost in 2009 with the release of Whip It, starring Ellen Page and directed by Drew Barrymore.
“We definitely had an influx of players after that movie came out.
“I think it was a pretty accurate depiction of the sport but the American league is a lot more aggressive than the Australian one.”
Renee Eooker, or Kid Kaos as she is known on the track, competed in her first bout at 18.
“My mum found a pamphlet for roller derby at the rink two years ago and asked if I wanted to play. At first I didn’t like it because I was a blader, but once I put on the skates I have loved it ever since,” Ms Eooker said.
“I’ve tried other sports but this is something I found I was good at.”
Rosie ‘Guns’n’Rosie’ Richards is the fresh meat co-ordinator and recruitment officer.
“The most exciting part is jamming, skating your heart out to win the points for the team.
“It’s exhilarating, empowering and fantastic,” Ms Richards said.
“If you want to learn to play roller derby come down to the club. Its fun, you get fit, make new friends and find a new love.”
WANT TO PLAY? Epic Skate Rink, Thurs, at 7.45pm.