Extreme-sport enthusiasts are bringing danger, sass and style to the sunshine coast as they form Eastbourne’s very own roller derby team.
The Bourne Bombshells are the newest group of girls to stamp their mark on the roller derby scene, joining local teams Brighton Roller Derby and Kent Roller Girls.
However, the Bombshells desperately need more members if they are going to start skating competitively.
Roller derby is an extreme form of roller-blading, where two teams of five skate simultaneously around a track, on quad roller skates, in the same direction.
One selected skater, called a ‘jammer’, scores points by lapping members of the opposing team.
But, while it may sound all fun and games, roller derby is an extremely dangerous sport.
Rules allow players to impede the other team’s ‘jammer’ from the side using any part of their body besides their hands, elbows, head or feet.
It’s unsurprising that rules state participants must wear a helmet, wrist guards, shin pads, gum shields and elbow pads.
However, in the case of roller derby, the sport is just half the appeal. What really makes the game as exciting and unique as it is, is the ones who compete in it.
Roller derby competitors aren’t your typical sportsmen. For a start, they’re all women and they are bursting with sass, attitude and colour. The girls all skate under pseudonyms, such as ‘Smash’er Fierce’, ‘Sassy McAwesome’ and ‘Drag N Fly’ in the case of the Bourne Bombshells, to make them seem more empowering to their opponents.
Add to that the fact they skate in fishnets while listening to rock music, are tattooed and have bold and bright skates and protective pads and it’s no wonder roller derby is deemed an ‘alternative lifestyle sport’.
But, behind all the colour and character, they’re just girls with a hobby who are looking for new and enthusiastic members to get involved and help their team take off. Roller derby is a worldwide sport and is played on every inhabited continent.
In the UK, it’s played over most of the country with teams based in Bristol, Croydon, London and Liverpool, to name just a few.
The national team also came third in the inaugural Roller Derby World Cup back in December.
The Bourne Bombshells were formed on the back of that competition and currently have 15 members, including 12 skaters and three referees, ageing between 18 and 50.
Members come from all across the county and from all walks of life, including students, software engineers, nurses and social workers.
However, before the Bourne Bombshells can strut their stuff on the competitive circuit, they need to attract more members.
The next ‘Fresh Meat’ programme, where the Bombshells recruit skaters, starts on April 17 and anyone over the age of 18 is welcome. Roles are available for men, women, skaters and non-skaters.
The Bombshells train for three hours on a Sunday at the Shinewater Sports Centre and host a fortnightly roller disco at the Y in Hastings. They also take part in other local roller discos, skate lessons and boot camps.
In July, Eastbourne will be hosting the south’s first free, outdoor roller derby tournament at Eastbourne Extreme, where six teams from across the country will come and bout for first place.
If you want to get involved, visit the Bourne Bombshells’ Facebook page for more information.