Surf Coast Roller Skaters are a local roller-skate group promising loads of nostalgic fun

Surf Coast Roller Skaters are a local roller-skate group promising loads of nostalgic fun

Words by Mackenzie Pennycook

Get your skates on and roll on into the all-inclusive environment of the Surf Coast Roller Skaters.

If roller-skating vids have inundated your social media feeds lately you wouldn’t be alone. The retro-esque sport has gained a cult-like following over the past couple of years, due to its super fun nature and the fact that with a little bit of practice, pretty much everyone can do it.

Championing this pleasure-seeking pastime is Surf Coast Roller Skaters, the very first roller skate school to grace the Surfcoast. They’re based in Bellbrae, and they’re passionate about bringing fun, fitness and inclusive vibes to the local community.

Bringing together a swathe of friendly skaters facing fears and supporting each other to build confidence through roller fitness, dance skating and events, Surf Coast Roller Skaters are driven by the belief that skating is one of the best ways to improve people’s mental health. The classes are all about building confidence, improving fitness and mental health, and of course, being inclusive of all abilities.

Founder Laura Issell is a Jan Juc local, avid roller skater, and the mastermind behind the new roller-skating community, which was born in 2020 when Issell couldn’t operate her sustainable event management, workshop and catering business due to Covid. Performing with Skate Odyssey Melbourne, Issell grew up skating on her’s father’s rink, the biggest rink in the Southern Hemisphere.

While the pandemic was one of the motivations in launching the school, it was mostly born from the need for an inclusive community where participants can just have fun, build fitness, strength, and confidence while making new friends on wheels.

“This school was born through a need to provide people with a way to connect, motivate each other and have a safe space to learn how to roller skate,” Issell shares.

“I could see a real need and demand to move to sport, community and mental health leadership full-time to make a difference and lead others to live a happier and healthier life.

“I also lost most of my work with my event management company during the pandemic, so it has been a big pivot to sport and community work, and we are working hard to get our classes back on track after this lockdown.”

Don’t be fooled though, this isn’t just your ordinary skate sessions a roller rink regular might be accustomed to. Surf Coast Roller Skaters are a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about skating and taking classes to improve their skills through classes, roller discos, community events and workshops.

Fusing a dynamic fusion of genres, classes are available for all ages and skill levels and feature techniques from dance, artistic and speed, to street, derby, fitness and jam and park skating.

The classes range from beginner, intermediate and advanced so whether it’s your first skate sesh or you’re a seasoned professional you’re sure to fit right in. The brilliant business offer classes that run for around eight weeks and run in four terms each year. The next available class slots begin on November 2 with Surf Coast Roller Skaters already taking bookings, so you’ll be ready to hit the boardwalk when summer arrives and lockdown ends.

While roller skating is back in a BIG way and it continues to rise in popularity once more, the appeal of the sport can be credited to its ability to make people feel-good throughout COVID lockdowns with a sense of freedom, self-expression and joy it provides.

“Roller skating is booming again right now and it’s not about to go away any time soon! It has never really stopped but this resurgence is a huge positive for everyone already in the roller skate scene,” she says.

“I think Roller Skating gives you a sense of freedom, self-expression and joy and due to the pandemic causing so much grief and loss people were searching for anything to help them feel good!

“It is also accessible, free and anyone of any ability or age can give it a go. The fact that you can learn new moves and styles there is something for everyone and every time you see or feel progression it’s a confidence booster. There is also an element of fear or self-doubt that needs to be overcome to really be able to let go and enjoy roller skating.”

Providing a place for keen roller skaters to practise, skate and socialise together, the Surf Coast Roller Skaters truly is for everyone, with Issell teaching everyone from five years old to 75 years old.

“I personally see all ages and abilities joining the school and community groups and turning up to events and it is so wonderful to see how inclusive and friendly it is. We all work hard to advocate to keep the roller skate community safe and welcoming to all.

“We also set an example of this behaviour for the younger ones so they grow up being really welcoming to anyone new to roller skating. It is so wonderful to now see so many females at the skatepark on all forms of wheels and seeing all styles of skating getting along well with each other.”

Whether it’s fitness skating, dance skating, street skating or even community events and discos Surf Coast Roller Skaters have you covered.

The classes have limited spots available so be sure to book quickly in order to get your skate on for summer.

To find out more or to book your spot head to their website here.