So you’ve decided to join the league? Welcome! We can’t wait to meet you all when training starts!

One of the first things you’ll need to do is gear up, but with the variety of options and advice out there, it can be really tough to decide on what you want.

For our Fresh Meat program you will need:
Roller Skates (Quads), Helmet, Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, Wrist Guards, Mouth Guard.

We asked our fellow Northside Rollers to tell us about their stuff.

Click on a skater’s name to read their advice, or scroll down to read all.

Nae Fox


Mary Boppins

Duchess of Hazzard

Brutal Brit

Baby Bitty

Grenade O’Connor

Beckini Kill

Luke Piewarmer
Flustered Tart
Tashula Rasa


 


 

Nae Fox (#76) – Developing Skater

nae-fox
Where do you buy most of your gear?
I prefer shops rather than online unless I know exactly what I’m getting.

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?
Helmet: Triple 8 skate/bike. (Hold the helmet upside down in front of you with both hands on the ears and squeeze: If it bends, don’t buy it! Protect your noggin).
Mouth Guard: The hot water-mouldable ones that don’t need to be emptied of spit. Hydration, talking and breathing are important parts of derby.
Elbows: Smiths Scabs.
Wrists: Triple 8.
Knees: Protec.
Other: 187 Gaskets: Best. Things. Ever.

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?

Wheels: Heartless, Rollerbones, Poisons.
Durometer(s): 88, 94, 96.
Why: I have adored my Heartless wheels. They have been perfect for the floor which can change with the weather and cleaning. I have used Poisons there but I’m heavy enough to stick comfortably with 94a wheels. I have tried mixing durometers but have found it distracts me to have different grip on each wheel.

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?

I bought all the padding at once in a deal including expensive kneepads, but got generic Cheap Everything Else. I borrowed a pair of ancient Crazy DBX5 skates from a friend.

Would you recommend your Fresh Meat set-up to others?

I would totally recommend getting the best knee pads you can get your hands on, especially in Fresh Meat. Try them out in the shop first! I recommend buying pads that are slightly too small rather than slightly too big, because the elastic will stretch out fast. Definitely get a good quality helmet.

What do you like about your gear?

I LOVE my Crazy DBX5s, the insoles are amazing. My feet stopped hurting the instant I put them on. Socks are important too, synthetic ones sweat too much and I tend to slide around in them too much.

What do you think could use improvement?
I should have bought knee pads that don’t slide down my shins when I fall ages ago, but I keep getting distracted by buying wheels and other things.

What do you use to carry your gear in?
I use a big rolling suitcase, just an old one of mum’s though I don’t keep my gear in there between training sessions, because mouldy gear is no one’s friend.


 

Mary Boppins (#36) – Competition Level Skater

mary-boppins

Where do you buy most of your gear?
Bayside Blades.

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?
Helmet: Nutcase.
Mouth Guard: Custom mouth guard by ‘Dino’s Denture Clinic’ in Thornbury.
Elbows: Atom 2.0.
Wrists: Pro Derby.
Knees: 187.
Other: 187 Gaskets.

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?
Wheels: Atom BOOM.
Durometer(s): Firm (too cool to have a number!).

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?

Custom build: Bont leather boot, hot pink Snap wheels (the colour seemed important back then) & Bont Ignite plate.

Would you recommend your Fresh Meat set-up to others?

Yes.

What do you like about your gear?
Super comfy boot which didn’t need to be broken in. I haven’t had to replace anything on my skates except the wheels and toe stops. The Snap wheels were a cheap, great on most surfaces wheel that co-ordinated with my pink laces perfectly (he he!). Initially more expensive than some skates but seem to last longer than some other models.

What do you think could use improvement?
The plate: the toe stop loosens at very inconvenient times.

What do you use to carry your gear in?
Suitcase with a busted handle.


 

Duchess of Hazzard (#B00M) – Competition Level Skater

john conway photography

Image courtesy of John Conway

Where do you buy most of your gear?

Derby Skates! Wayne looks after all of us Northsiders and this comes in handy particularly when something goes bang… He’ll talk your ear off but it’s worth it. We usually road trip down to Frankston to see him but he’s also online at Derby Skates.

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?

Helmet: Protec.

Mouth Guard: SISU.
Elbows: Smith’s Scabs Pro.
Wrists: Triple 8.
Knees: Smith’s Scabs Pro.
Other: Gaskets.



Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?

Wheels: Various…
Durometer(s): 92 (but looking for something a little stickier [softer] at this stage).

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?
I started off with horrendous old DBX Crazy’s… They were too big, and though comfortable, were like skating on couches. As soon as I passed FM I went to see Wayne and got my own custom set up: DBX5 Crazy’s, Venus plates. The difference in my skating was almost immediate.

Would you recommend your Fresh Meat set-up to others?
Yes!

What do you like about your gear?

I’ve used almost every kind of knee-pad available, because I have issues with my knees, and I find Scabs to be the best by far, particularly paired with gaskets. I love my Smiths Elbows too, they never slip. The only thing is that once they get that derby stink, it’s really hard to get rid of. I’m a little OCD about cleaning my gear, so it horrifies me that despite my best efforts, sometimes I can’t get rid of it! Wrist guards are personal preference, but I’m about to upgrade because I’m finding that mine aren’t quite good enough for some of the really hard falls we take. I can’t remember what brand they are, but the wrist guards that Tash and Nat (Tashula Rasa and Zomb) use are amazing, and that’s where I’ll be going next. I’m also upgrading my helmet to an S1 Lifer. Hockey Helmets aren’t for me. The thing with your gear is that it’s personal preference: As long as you are proactive in maintaining it and replacing it when needed. Derby is rough; things are going to give out. It’s important you give your gear a little TLC here and there.

What do you use to carry your gear in?

I carry my gear in an Antik Skate Bag. It’s like a custom wheelie suitcase built especially for skates and gear. I freakin’ love the thing. There are so many hidey-holes and compartments and stuff. I want another one just to travel with. Well worth the money I spent on it.


 

Brutal Brit (#82) – Competition Level Skater

brutal

Photo courtesy of John Conway

Where do you buy most of your gear?

Derbyville (online and in the shop in Denver, Colorado….) Derby Skates once I arrived in Australia.

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?

Helmet: Nutcase (it now has a few size options PLUS an adjustable dial on the back which makes it a snug, safe fit and has a higher impact rating than their previous model).
Mouth Guard: Protech Dent…now has a different company name. Best mouth guard ever…you really can talk/breathe/drink with it in.
Elbows: Triple 8.
Wrists: Triple 8 (I have the derby model, which wear out quicker than their other model but feel more snug overall).
Knees: Triple 8.

Other: Triple 8 Gaskets. “Buy gaskets. It is like falling on a cloud of pillows,” said a Rocky Mtn. skater….she was right.

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?

Wheels: Wide Low Boys. Durometer(s): 92.
Why: They are my only wheels.

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?

Non-package set-up: I have stock Reidell Vixens from four years ago. Everything is stock on it except the wheels, bearings, and toe stops.

What do you like about your gear?
#1, =knee gaskets (see above as to why), and #2, I like my gumball toe stops. Upgrading toe stops from the generic stock is very helpful, even if you don’t go with gumballs. Stock toe stops are usually not compatible outside and aren’t as nice to step/run/stop on.

What do you think could use improvement?

I could get a 2nd set of wheels for the YMCA floor but have made it without.

What do you use to carry your gear in?

A duffle bag, very small because I’m living out of suitcases as a traveling Yank and I only had so much room for stuff.


 

Baby Bitty (#080) – Competition Level Skater

Photo courtesy of John Conway

Photo courtesy of John Conway

Where do you buy most of your gear?

Skaterz – I believe NSR receive some form of discount.

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?

Helmet: Bauer.
Elbows: 187.
Wrists: Normally 187 or Triple 8.
Knees: 187 Derby Pro.

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?

I use a mix of wheels. Normally I wear Crazy Rewinds (90s) with [Crazy] Bruisers (88s). I have also worn Crazy Plays (93s).

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?

Non-package set-up: Crazy DBX 3, Venus Plate, Lowboys 95.

Would you recommend your fresh meat set-up to others?
Yes and no, for training at the Y [Darebin Stadium] the wheels I had would be way too hard. FM [Fresh Meat] probably don’t need to go and buy the same set-ups as competition level skaters. A pair of Crazy VXI would be fine for fresh meat, considering there is no guarantee they will stick with derby. However, buying a better boot will last them longer and give better support to their feet.

What do you like about your gear?
I like how padded they are and the way my pads fit my Boys – [Smiths] Scabs were way too big for me.

What do you think could use improvement?

I will be getting new wrist guards. Normally I use Triple 8 wrist guards or 187. The ones I have now were just quick replacements.

What do you use to carry your gear in?
I use a suitcase.


 

Grenade O’Connor (#33) – Competition Level Skater

Picture courtesy of John Conway

Picture courtesy of John Conway

Where do you buy most of your gear?

About a 50/50 split between Derby Skates and sydneyderbyskates.com [Sydney Derby Skates].

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?
Helmet: Bauer Hockey Helmet
Mouth Guard: SISU Max Guard 2.4 (it’s a bit thicker than the standard 1.6 and I like the extra protection it offers).
Elbows: 187 basic elbow pads – but I’ve just invested in a set of Atom Elite 2.0 because the 187′s were nearing the end of their life.
Wrists: 187 wrist guards – the basic model. However, I just broke my wrist while wearing them, so I’m upgrading to Triple 8 RD WristSavers.
Knees: TSG Roller Derby.
Other: D30 Smiths Scabs gaskets.

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?

Wheels: Rollerbones Day of the Dead – because I couldn’t afford Turbos, and these are the same urethane. Also, they’re one of the few wheels I could find in an 80 duro.
Durometer(s): 80, 86 mix 
Why: I’m really small and pretty light, so I needed a bit more grip when I started at the Y [Darebin stadium]. Probably going to graduate to an 86, 88 mix soon though, as I’m losing some speed and agility to the stickiness of the 80′s.

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?
Second hand skates: super old Reidell’s with a Powerdyne plate.

Would you recommend your Fresh Meat set-up to others?

They did the job for fresh meat and they were super cheap. Buying them second hand set me back $90 for skates and wheels.

What do you like about your gear?

I now have Bont Hybrid leather boots on Suregrip Avenger plates with Crazy Bloc toestops and I love pretty much everything about my set up. They’re really light and I’ve had them heat moulded, so they fit perfectly. I got the Avenger plates after I snapped one of my Crazy Apollos and I’ve never looked back – they give me way more agility but also heaps of stability too.
I also love my kneepads. I got them after I hurt my knee in my old pads, and even though they’re really slimline, they still give me way more protection than my old ones did.

What do you think could use improvement?
TSG Roller Derby knee pads – while super shock absorbent, they’re a bit uncomfortable without gaskets. And I probably need different gaskets, as Scabs run big, and have stretched out a bit too much now.

What do you use to carry your gear in?
Rolling sports bag with a handle. Carribee I think.


 

Beckini Kill (#747) – Competition Level Skater

Photo courtesy of John Conway

Photo courtesy of John Conway

Where do you buy most of your gear?
Derby Skates and Sydney Derby Skates.

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?
Helmet: Hockey Helmet
Mouth Guard: SISU.
Elbows: 187s.
Wrists: Atoms.
Knees: 187 Pro Derby Knee Pads.

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?

Wheels: Rollerbones Turbos.
Durometer(s): 88a.
Why: I looked them up on forums when I when was an Orange Star and Rollerbones seemed the best quality wheels. I started off on [Rollerbones] Day of the Dead wheels which are good, but I needed them to be a little less forgiving, so I got Turbos and never looked back. Plus, Rollerbones have a skeleton as a logo!

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?

Non-package set-up: Riedells that cost like $160ish, with stock plastic plates and stock wheels.

Would you recommend your Fresh Meat set-up to others?

Yeah, it is cheap, which is what you want when you are starting out and aren’t sure if you are going to commit to derby. You can also change the cushions to make them more flexible. Also once you do upgrade later you really appreciate the new gear!

What do you like about your gear?
My skates are super light and have great movement and a low cut for super easy laterals (Bonts with Venus plates). They aren’t for everyone though; if you have weak ankles or wide feet I wouldn’t recommend them. I’m happy with my protective gear, especially the knee pads.

What do you think could use improvement?
My wrist guards. Even though I wash them regularly I have started to get dermatitis from them :/. Also I want a back-up helmet, I’ll probably get an S1.

What do you use to carry your gear in?
A Roller carry-on suitcase, or if I’m going to the skate park, a backpack and skate noose.


 

Luke Piewarmer (#54) – Developing Skater

Where do you buy most of your gear?

[My] skates, knee pads and helmet came from Skaterz, the rest of my gear from Bayside Blades. I’ve had a lot of foot and ankle issues and in the end I got my current skates from Skaterz. Casey fitted them (which took a while) and had me skate for quite a while to test them and be sure that they worked for me, given the foot and ankle issues.

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?
Helmet: Protec.
Mouth Guard: SISU.
Elbows: Triple 8
Wrists: 187s.
Knees: Smiths Scabs. I had Protecs initials, but they didn’t fit (this is why you try your new gear on!). [I also] had Triple 8’s, but the cover on one knee cracked.

Other: 187 knee gaskets.

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?
Wheels: Atom Jukes
Durometer(s): 88a, 92a, 90a, 95a.
Why: I have two sets of indoor wheels (my Jukes and a set of Vanilla Backspin wheels), and the Jukes are softer, but I’ll probably try a couple of other setups to see what I like. I currently use reasonably soft wheels at Puckies, because I like the grip.

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?
Initially Sure Grip Rebels, followed by Vanilla Renegade skates, and finally Crazy DBX 3 skates. They were package skates, but the wheels and toe stops on my Crazys were bought separately.

Would you recommend your Fresh Meat set-up to others?

Yes – I’d recommend the Crazys. I love them – they’re solid and work on my feet – I have wide, flat feet and, after taping them up to skate, they’re not small and I like the insoles in them. There isn’t a huge amount of difference in price between those and the Sure Grips and because of that, if you’ve got any idea that you’re planning to stick around, I’d go with the crazy DBX 3 skates – the Sure Grip Rebels are starter skates.

What do you like about your gear?
They almost force me to stay in derby stance and, as a larger skater, I need good knee pads. There’s 115kg of me going down when I fall.

What do you think could use improvement?
I have this horrible feeling that my helmet might be a little small. Maybe. And I’d like new wrist guards soon – I’ve been using mine for a year now and one is wearing out.



What do you use to carry your gear in?
I have a gym bag I got at Target. My gear is in one pocket, skate tools and so on in another, and I’ve got a third pocket which usually has a first aid kit, icepack and my keys, phone and so on.


 

Flustered Tart (#3.14) – Competition-level Skater

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?

Helmet: Protec
Mouth Guard: SISU Mouthguard
Elbows: 187s

Wrists: Protec

Knees: 187s

Note on Mouthguard:
The SISU brand is great. The style makes it really easy to breathe/drink and they are also thin so it’s easy to talk. You need to communicate so much when playing derby and having a thinner mouth guard than a standard thick footy-style one really helps you get your words out. Also once you’ve got one that you’re happy with, it’s worth having another one in your skate bag for the inevitable day you turn up to training without one.

Note on Knee Pads:
Generally don’t cut costs when buying safety gear, but if you are going to splurge on one item… make it knee pads! You spend a great deal of your derby life falling and your knees absorb a lot of it. Whatever brand you get or like, be sure they fit well & feel comfortable when falling before you buy them too.

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?

I used Atom Poisons a lot when I started. They are quite sticky and a bit slow, but I really like them (I have bad ankles and like the stability they offer) however they limit a lot of speed and agility. When you are starting I recommend going [with] stickier/softer wheels. They will help you build up confidence, especially if you are struggling with balance. But as you progress, start experimenting with some harder wheels to help develop your agility. Wheels are a really personal thing and it takes a while before you know what you want or like. (I’m still trying to find my perfect wheel set up too!). Borrow from your teammates see what you like, analyse what works better and what feels worse, and talk to other league members about their own wheel set-up. (If there is someone you share a similar skating style to, or who has a style you want to emulate, see what their wheel set up feels like and if it works for you).

What do you carry in your gear bag?
Extra lace, Extra Mouthguard, Extra wheels, 
Skate tools, 
Instant/snap ice-pack (I recommend carrying two, be prepared to lend to other skaters)
, Band-Aids, Sharpie Pen (for numbers), Arm bands, 
A spare Black and White scrimmage top with my [Derby] numbers on it, 
A spare coloured top (in case I want to change into something clean)
, Spare socks, Pain relief tablets (Panadol, Neurofen etc.), 
Chocolate (I have a sweet tooth, and sometimes for long days I need a bit of a sugar kick).


 

Tashula Rasa (#608) – Competition-level Skater

Where do you buy most of your gear?
Derby Skates: best for everything, even free advice

Which brand or brands of protective gear do you use and why?

Helmet: Bauer Hockey Helmet
Mouth Guard: SISU
Elbows: Atom
Wrists: ProDesign
Knees: Smiths Scabs

Other: Smiths Scabs gaskets

Which wheel brand and hardness(es) are you using at Darebin stadium and why?
Wheels: Rollerbones Turbos
Durometer(s): 92

What was your Fresh Meat skate set-up?

Sure Grip GT-50 with a nylon plate (stock issue).

Would you recommend your Fresh Meat set-up to others?

No, always try things on. The package I bought needed a few upgrades: especially the knee pads. Look at a pack where you can choose your safety gear and have options with the skates. Get advice from skaters and try on boots, they should be snug fitting and feel good when you try them on. Buying the most expensive gear won’t necessarily be the best option for you. Spend your money initially on good knee pads and helmet, with boots that are comfortable. The rest can be upgraded as you learn more about what works for you.

What do you like about your gear?

The wrist guards, best investment ever, along with Rollerbones Turbos.

What do you think could use improvement?

I always love new gear; I would consider upgrading my boot to the new DX8 from Crazy.

What do you use to carry your gear in?

Skates on a noose, gear in a rolling skate bag (Atom).