Sun, sea and fast-paced roller action. That's a summary of last weekend (12-13th July), where my team (the Surrey Rollergirls) took a road trip down to Eastbourne to play in an outdoor roller derby tournament as part of Eastbourne Extreme.
The extreme sports festival did not disappoint - we had a weekend full of adrenaline, excitement, scrapes and scratches. The thrills even unfortunately led to one of my team mates breaking her scaphoid bone, after which she continued to play for at least 3 more jams before she admitted it hurt so much that she'd probably broken something (not recommended). I was so pumped up on adrenaline that I jammed the majority of the time I was on track, securing lead almost every time I was given the star to wear (usually a rare occurrence)!
As well as the action being extreme, the weather was also extremely hot. We went for a dip in the sea after we'd finished playing on Saturday - it was heavenly. Afterwards I however unzipped one of the front pockets on my kit bag to find the reason you should never keep chocolate in the same compartment as anything you want to keep clean.
Following that melty mis-hap, I thought I would regain my dignity by sharing with you some of my tips for skating at an outdoor roller derby tournament, in the hope that you will have as much fun as I did!
Use outdoor wheels. Possibly a no-brainer, but use wheels suitable for the activity you're doing. A nice soft wheel helps you easily roll over an uneven surface, twigs, stones and anything else that might be ready to trip you up (although not roller girls, you'll have to avoid those yourself). Try Kryptonics.
Tape up everything you can. The ground is a lot more abrasive than a sports hall floor and so you're a lot more likely to scuff up your nice shiny boots. Use multiple layers of hockey tape as it will get worn down. Tape up the front of your skates, your pad straps and anything else that might get damaged or torn off - one of my teammates even taped up her fingertips!
Cover up. If the ground can take a layer off your skate boots, it can take off a layer of your skin. Wear long, thick leggings if you have them. I also opted to wear shin-guards to give my legs an extra bit of protection from flying stones and skaters.
Practice derby stops and 'Hockey Honey' feet. It's incredibly hard to plough on tarmac. Derby stops are the most effective way to stop outside. If you're trying to hold the jammer back, use 'Hockey Honey' feet to prevent yourself from being pushed forward. This involves digging your wheels (particularly the edges) into the ground while moving your feet into different positions rather erratically - if you're having trouble picturing it then imagine someone that really needs the toilet attempting to do a jig. That's 'Hockey Honey' feet.
Drink plenty of water. Don't stop drinking. Rehydrate between jams and between games.
Don't forget your suncream! You're skating around in the lovely warm weather all day, perfect conditions to get sunburn. Make sure you reapply suncream regularly - you'll be sweating that protection off in no time. You might also want to wear sunglasses so you can actually see the jammer coming round the corner.
And finally, beware! After playing 2 days of roller derby you may never want to take your skates off...