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Start planning your derby holiday.

For those who don’t already know, DerbyFest isn’t just about learning to play Roller Derby! There is so much to do at the event that sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are classes going on all around you. You could easily spend a whole weekend taking part in other skate activities without attending a single coaching session.

I have been to every DerbyFest since the event kicked off, so to help you start planning your derby holiday, I have listed my top 5 things to do when not being coached by the best in the world.

#1 Ramp Skating

Want to feel the rush of dropping in? Want to learn how to nail that next trick? DerbyFests mini ramps are the perfect place to practice away from the hustle and bustle of the skate park, and there are specialised ramp coaches to help you along the way.

I dropped in for the first time at DerbyFest and it might just have been the highlight of my weekend. Yes, my knees felt like jelly, yes, someone had to hold my hand, but once I overcame that fear, a whole new world of skating opened up!

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#2 Jam Skating

The smooth fluid motions of jam skating seem like magic to the average roller derby skater, but now you too can move your feet like you were born with wheels on them. Anyone who has seen me skate will tell you how uncoordinated I am, and even I was able to grasp the basics, so there is no doubt that you can too.

Danger from Team Moxi will return this year to share her jam skating secrets and have you pulling those moves in no time.

#3 Fun & Games

At DerbyFest in 2016 there was a giant slip and slide that saw some of the best moves of the weekend unfold. Between classes and challenge bouts coaches and participants alike got a little bit wet and wild. Loren Mutch might be faster on the track, but I can vouch that Mick Swagger sure gave her a run for her money in a slide race.

With Gold Coast temperatures heating up in January there is sure to be a place to cool down and have some fun again this year.

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#4 Off Skates Sessions

In the past at DerbyFest I have participated in everything from yoga to sports psychology and nutrition classes. If you are interested in improving your health and wellbeing, whether for roller derby or just in general, there are lots of opportunities included in the ticket price.

Regardless of whether we are recreational or competitive athlete, we often forget to take care of ourselves, and DerbyFest provides a great opportunity to pick up some quick and easy tips to set up for an injury free year.

You know how that one side of your body is always a little bit weaker? Or how you always feel terrible if you eat the wrong thing before a game? Take some time to find out about the factors that influence your performance outside of your skating and your body will thank you later.

#5 Challenge Bouts

Challenge bouts are easily the most exciting part of DerbyFest for both participants and spectators. Last year I got to organise my own Gen Y team who defeated the older, more experienced Gen X’ers. I also got to skate in the Jammer/Blockers game with idols like Loren Mutch, Mick Swagger, Rogue Runner and so many more amazing skaters.

Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, this year there are more challenge bouts than ever before to be involved in. Maybe you aren’t even part of a league but want to continue playing just for fun? With games kicking off from 2pm, you could easily get your weekend fill playing in challenge bouts alone. What better place to skate with old friends and build new derby connections?

Trust me when I say, when that skater that you have never played with before does the perfect ‘O’ for you, there is no better derby feeling in the world.

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Also, for the first time in 2017, DerbyFest is happening on the Gold Coast! Just a few minutes drive from theme parks, the beach, the hinterland and all the amazing sights this tourist mecca has to offer. It’s kind of like Schoolies for the roller derby world, but you know, without the killer hangover…

Check back soon for our guide of things to do outside the venue and convince your squad to stay a few more days so you can fit it all in. It’s your derby holiday of the year, after all.