Thursday, March 24, 2011

Derby Gear Rundown: Fresh Meat Mama (guest post by Mia Feral!)

Guest blogger/derby girl Riot Mama/Mia Feral
Please welcome back guest blogger Rose Norton! You may remember Rose from previous posts like these. If not, go ahead and read. I'll wait.

Finished? Read on to glean her words of wisdom about derby gear for the fresh meat mama...

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Okay, there are a TON of options when you are just getting into roller derby as far as gear. But what to get first?

First off--don’t break the bank when you’re just starting out. You can roll around a rink for thirty years and think that you are made for derby, go buy 1,000 dollars worth of gear (believe me, it’s easy to do) and then after your first hit decide that it’s just not for you. If you sell your gear, you’ll maybe get half of what you put into it back.

So, here’s what I suggest:

Fresh meat: If you are just starting, you’ll be rolling slow, hitting slow, and falling hard, so you’ll need the gear.


-Wrist Guards*

-Knee Pads*

-Elbow Pads*

-Mouth Guard

-Skates (duh)*

(*) If you are a conscientious (or in my case, cheap) consumer, you can pick up some pretty nice pads/ helmets at re-sport shops like Play It Again Sports, or even Goodwill or Value Village. You do have to be mindful that you want some good pads, but they are up to 85 percent cheaper in these places. If you end up getting derby fever, you WILL need to re-up, but your rookie pads can always serve as a back up or a loaner pair.

Skates can be bought on Ebay or Craigslist. Again, you may just want to get a cheap-o pair (Like GT-5000s) to start with. Then you can save up for the I-just-rolled-over-your-mom-pair once you get really serious. The GTs break down after about three months of skating everyday. By the end you may be duct-taping them to your feet like I did, but then you know that you are ready to roll with the big girls.

A few notes on skates-

*Get at least ABEC-5 bearings to start with. Move up when you get comfy.

*Have someone at the rink check the spin on your skates and your trucks.

*If your skates start sounding like an off-balanced laundry machine, you have a busted bearing. Replace.

*Always check to see if your toe stop is on tight. Yard sales on the track can be dangerous.

Helmets-- I have seen many a head bounce off of the floor. If you can make speed trials (26 laps in 5 min) you are in need of a brand new (not just brand-new-to-you) helmet. Then all you’ll have to deal with is whiplash (like my sisters Ariel Onslaught, Anita B. Cracken and Kat Scratch Fever) and NOT scrambled eggs for brains.

Wrist guards-- Do you like your wrists? Are they useful? Then get guards that cover the whole top and bottom of your wrists. They should fit well, and you should not be able to bend your wrists at all.

Elbow and knee pads-- The bulk of the matter. I have seen girls crack kneepads, and it’s a bloody ordeal. I wear sleeves under my wrist and elbow guards (a little extra support, and something you can wash every night). Triple Eight, Pro Tec and 187’s are the best. They are bulky, but keep you safe.

Mouth guards-- Some mouth guards are insured up to a point. You can buy the cheap ones at Academy or Big Five for a few bucks, but the Shock Doctor mouth guards are great, and they stay in your mouth a little better, too.

Optional gear-- Many gals pickup knee gaskets that are like a sleeve under your knee pads that help stabilize the kneecap and provide an extra neoprene padding. If you knee fall a lot, sometimes the bottom edge of your knee pad can wear.

Crash Pads! Yes! Learn from the gal that’s out this year thanks to a broken tailbone that didn’t set right. These will protect your hip bones and tailbone. Our coach made them mandatory.

Nylons-- I know it’s super cute skating in short shorts and fishnets, but you need some little extra to provide the slide you’ll need. Nylons are the best fight against rink rash.

Toe Guards-- just a little toe guard does a lot of good. Put them on your skates before you hit the track. All of the one-knee slide stops will have your front toes of your skates getting worn and sore. PLUS, they come in really awesome colors.

Here are a few websites for gear:

Okay! That’s all the gear info I can dish now. The more you go, the more you’ll love it. These are the boring logistics, but essential. Once you get acquainted with all of them, though, you can get pretty hot and heavy at the mere mention of Poison wheels or the Siren package (drool...pant...).

Best of luck and just keep rolling!

Derby Love,

Mia Feral

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Rose Norton is a mom/writer/derby girl living in Spokane, WA. She's known as "riotmama" on the blogger, "Mia Feral" on the track and "food, now!" in the home. Rose writes stories about her fantastic voyages to the grocery store, and other reasons she's crazy.

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