Roller Derby Skater – Warhannah
Plymouth City Roller Girls (PCRG)
Writer and Journalist
How long have you been skating?
Roller Derby skating since November 2010 but I started skating at roller discos when I was about seven. I took my first date to the roller disco, we held hands while skating round. I lived in California for a year when I was at uni and skated everywhere. I was like Roller Girl in Boogie Nights – without the porn movies (actually, I did study porn movies but that’s another story!)
Why did you get involved in roller derby?
My mate told me about PCRG and sent me a link to the webpage. The founders had spent a summer skating in city car parks and just moved to the only venue that would insure them. I’d seen Whip It and was attracted to the whole roller derby ethos with women being fierce and fast and skilful and able to play with an alter ego. I went along and discovered this whole underground of women (and men) in Plymouth who kicked ass.
How often do you practise?
I train on skates for two hours twice a week and get outside on my skates in the week. I also do yoga, ride my bike and surf to keep me fit. I find yoga is really good to counteract the tensions in your body from taking and giving big hits.
What Pads do you use?
A hodgepodge that haven’t fallen apart yet but are confined to a special sweaty pad room that it’s not wise to enter when I’m not skating. Bullet Pro knee pads, Pro-tec elbow pads, SFR wrist guards
What Helmet do you use?
A TSG graphic helmet
What skates do you use?
Riedell Vandal derby skates. I skated for ages on the red Tuner wheels they came with but have recently upgraded to Reckless Evaders, a set of 95As and a set of 93As. Their narrow profile and lightness is really good for my style of jamming. I use gumball toe stops and am coveting a pair of Antiks now a couple of others in the league have got them.
What were your first pair of skates?
Those metal ones you strapped onto your trainers
Where did your nick name come from?
One of the kids in my family – James Qualtrough – came up with it over Pizza Express. It’s a play on the Warhammer weapon and fantasy game. It fits because I write games and love playing them. Our Head Ref, Rolfer Damage, said the best frickin’ thing ever about my name: Warhannah is cast from iron and forged in the flames of Hades. She’s built to take the punishment and lives to deal out pain and judgment on those foolish enough to take her on!!! Your name comes from an awesome weapon. Solid block of stone and iron designed for crushing opponents in one hit, swung by the strongest warlords!!
My number, 1.21gw, comes from Back to the Future – one of my favourite films of all time. It’s the power the flux capacitor needs to travel through time 😀
What is your favourite part about being a Roller girl?
I love how it feels to skate a great jam. I like the speed and moving through a pack like a dodgem. It sounds corny but a really great jam can only happen through tight teamwork. It’s an epic feeling coming off the track together having slammed it.
Any top tips for up and coming Derby Superstars?
Don’t be too tough on yourself at the beginning, you’ll learn through experience and develop faster than you realise. Push yourself, take risks, be prepared to fall on your ass a lot but get up stronger and ready for revenge!
I’ve also learnt how important it is to prepare mentally for the physical challenge of the game. I don’t want to go all hippy on you but visualisation really helps me. Visualise rinsing through the pack and you’re halfway to doing it. Allow nerves to get to you, or channel your adrenalin wrongly, and you’ll be battling yourself as well as the five other girls on the track who are out for your scalp.
Derby’s tough on your body, you’ll never not have a bruise or aching shoulder or knee or something but you’ll also have killer abs 😉 It’s also very aggressive and competitive, you need martial arts-like discipline and etiquette to deal with some of the pressures on and off the track. Don’t let anything get in the way of the fun though!
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