I do not like derby kisses

I do not like derby kisses. No indeedy. I know they are seen as badge of honour in our sport but I get them at nearly EVERY session. From weekly ‘fairy punches’ (small random bruises all over my body, mostly my arms) to deep purple bruises the size of tea plates that take forever to go (thank you Lady Loco of Swansea City Slayers, NiKilla and Jen Baxter of CRoC ;-) )

Fairy punches

I bruise ridiculously easily. At our annual awards, my award was for bruising and not for dishing them out! In fact I am the Queen of bruises, and nearly changed my derby name from Abadabadoo to Princess Peach. I’ve always been like this. In fact when I used to play a bit of football and go sport climbing my legs were pretty spectacular most of the time. In the summer when I would wear shorts, my poor husband (then boyfriend) would get some really dirty looks.

More bruises

It seems in the world of derby, derby girls love to get bruised. In fact I’ve often heard complaints of ‘I never bruise’, ‘oh I hope I get a good bruise from that’. I understand showing the ones you’ve earned on track as badges of honour. But I don’t wish to get a bruise. As on a whole the ones I get that cause other people go ‘Wow! That’s a derby kiss!’ well they hurt, take ages (months) to go and tend to be on the spot that you will land on again and again and again. I even bruise from doing a baseball slide.

Unfortunately for my team, Cardiff Roller Collective (CRoC) when they try and show off a bruise, I go a bit Mick ‘CRoC’ Dundee on them and say ‘that’s not a bruise, now this is a bruise!’ And usually pull down my shorts/socks and display whatever piece of Technicolor bruise I’m sporting that week.

Call that a bruise?

There is plenty of compulsory protective gear in Roller Derby, but not ones that protect your hips and arse. I’ve read a quote somewhere that if men had invented roller derby. Crash pants/padded shorts would have been compulsory safety wear. But because of women’s ‘does my bum look big in this’ issue it is not. As it is not compulsory crash pants are a personal preference. For me they are essential.

WFTDA rule section on PROTECTIVE GEAR states:
10.1.3 Optional protective gear such as padded shorts, chin guards, form fitting face shields such as nose guards, shin guards, knee or ankle support, turtle shell bras and tailbone protectors may be worn at the skaters’ discretion as long as they do not impair or interfere with safety or play of other skaters, support staff, or officials. Chin guards, form fitting shields such as nose guards, turtle shell bras, tailbone protectors and shin guards may have a hard protective shell. No other optional protective gear may have a hard protective shield.

Whereas most derby skaters are desperately seeking that ‘perfect wheel’ I am searching for the perfect crash pant. The ones I own are ok but I’ve still had some juicy bruises through them. I really would like some that meet the rule criteria of no hard shell on the hips but also really reduces my bruising and my now very lumpy hip bursa.

Wearing current shorts

With current shorts

I’ve reviewed a few padded shorts, or crash pants, as I like to call them on our teams’ forum. Please feel free to read and comment and review your own crash pants. As I feel that there are heaps of reviews for skates, kneepads, wheels etc… but not enough out there for crash pants.

There are derby specific crash pants out there. These are your more sexy shorts, which allow you still to wear hotpants. If all you’re worried about is your coccyx these are for you. If you are in need of anything that protects the hip and upper thigh then please invest in something a bit more substantial albeit less flattering. I found this out the hard way.

Sexier derby crash pants

Sexy shorts did not work

There are two particular brands I am looking into at the moment, Burton Red and POC.

The Burton Red Womens Impact short looks quite interesting with the D30, which supposedly malleable to wear but hardens on impact, material in the hip. But the hip padding looks very specifically located so may not be for me.
Another product is the POC Hip VPD 2.0 Shorts. The VPD material again is malleable to wear and hardens on impact. The hip coverage on these looks quite good. In fact my local bike shop (Sorry Nat of Bridgend Cycle Centre), supplies these and I’ve just been in and poked some of the chest protection stuff as they didn’t have shorts in stock. I am tempted…so very very tempted…they’ve got a delivery later today and I may just go back in…

I’m hoping the ‘malleable when wearing stuff’ is within the WFTDA rule set. My theory is a hip check to another player will not cause the material to firm up, too much, and cause damage to another player but it should protect me when a get knocked to a hard floor.

So if any of these fine manufacturers, stand by their gear and would like to break into the roller derby market, perhaps they would like to sponsor me ;-) as I am the perfect bruisable guinea pig, so please get in touch ;-)

Abs aka Abadabadoo

Ps. I also wear shin guards as there is no padding on shins and wheels hurt and leave nasty lumps!

Bruised shins


7 thoughts on “I do not like derby kisses

  1. No need to say sorry, I appreciate the research. I don’t wear padded shorts myself so it is difficult to know which ones to stock and I have heard lots of different feedback on various brands. Let me know what we should be buying in and we will get right on the case.

  2. I feel your pain! Came across your article while looking for that perfect derby protective short that protects but doesnt leaving you looking like a football player. I too bruise as easily as you and recently had a bad upper thigh bruise like the one you are sporting in one of your pics. Its been weeks and still hasnt healed and has a knot under the skin. That was with Crash Pads 2700 on (worthless). Please let me know if you have found anything! I am looking for ones with upper thigh protection.

    • Melody,

      Thanks for reading my blog. I’m sorry you bruise easy like me. It’s a pain when you like playing any sort of sport.

      If you could post a review of the crash pad 2700 on our forum (there’s a link on my blog) that’d be fab, as am trying to create a pool of reviews to aid delicate little flowere like us.

      I too have a hard lump/swollen hip bursa from landing on that area (boo!! also similar on shin when forgot to put shinpads in!!!!). In fact it took me prob nearly half a year to shift the lump I got from last July and then got a new one!!! Was it a case that the padding on the crash pad 2700 wasn’t enough or not in the right place? As the 2700 does get better reviews than others out there, but perhaps not from bruisable peaches like us…. :-(

      I’m hoping to try the POC Hip VPD 2.0 Shorts soon as they’re made from a material that hardens on impact (similar not same as the d30 stuff in burton and other snowboard impact shorts). I will post a review when I’ve had a go of them. If you try any that work please share the info, as it is expensive habit trying to find shorts that work, money that I’d rather spend on wheels ;-)

      Finally are you UK or elsewhere based?

      Cheers Abs aka Abadabadaoo xxx

      • Abadabadaoo..thanks for replying!

        To answer your questions:

        The crash pads 2700 are great if you just want to be protected in the tailbone and hip area. (I take back my “worthless” comment- it was said out of frustration, haha) I took quite a few falls straight backward on the tailbone. Hurt a few mins after impact but no soreness the next day. They are just not sufficient for me because I need additional padding in the upper thigh region below the hip pads. So yes, they didnt come down far enough. I will be sure to post a review in the forum.

        I am based in South Africa. Derby is just now getting going in Cape Town..so I am quite new to the sport. I am in America at the moment visiting family (I am from the US), that is why I am looking at shorts now. So expensive as it is, so I need to order while I am home to get in on the free shipping!

        Looks like I might be going with the RED Total Impact short. Its not as bulky as the others but does have an extra pad for upper thigh. Its only thin EVA (for the thigh) but it has to be better than nothing. I wanted to try the new Vigilante Light Padded Shorts but they are sold out in my size, arg!

        Please keep me posted on the POC 2.0. Who knows, might be investing in more shorts when I come to the states again (lets hope not!!)

  3. I emailed crash pads a while back and described where I bruised and they did recommend the 2500 over the 2700 to me. They’re introducing a new womens pro, which looks like may have slightly more padding that 2700 (crashpad have posted photos on their fb page). Which am going to try as well. As I already have something with coverage as much as the 2500.

    The vigilante shorts aren’t sold in the uk as far as I can tell. And hate dealing with shipping costs and faff.

    Let us know how you get on with the burton red shorts.

    Abs x

    The 2700, I think, falls into the category of a ‘sexy’ crash pant. Along with the mcdavid derby short and the triple8 rd bumsavers. Great for upper hip and tailbone. Not great for the likes of you and me who are delicate little flowers. I’ve seen over girls go down on same area as me and have no where near the problems with bruising, hard lumps and swollen hip bursa.

    Did you see someone posted a review of the red impact shorts on our forum. Hope they work for you.

  4. I’ve used McDavid Hexipad short shorts (rather than the longer version) ever since I got a nasty hip bruise when I was starting out in derby. They have a tailbone protector which has saved me from a couple of nasty injuries (if it hurts enough when you are falling on padding imagine how it would have felt without it). They are thin enough not to make me feel like I have a huge butt (I don’t think most people realise I wear them) but the clever hexagon padding works like egg cartons do and prevents most bruises and protects my hips and tailbone. I’ve fallen badly onto my hips a few times so they have been well tested!

    I’ve had the same pair for 2 years and they are just getting to the point that I am thinking about replacing them. Some of the padding has begun to slip and I have had to sew some bits up, but after 2 years of being worn 4 times a week (as a minimum) I think thats pretty good going. They also come in a longer version so if you are taller than me (not hard) or want protection over more of your legs then I would go for these.

    I got mine from ebay, but fast girl skates do them (I think) and I know when other Windsor ladies have ordered stuff from there in the past they’ve made one big order to reduce delivery costs. Lots of other Windsor skaters also use these padded shorts.

  5. Coming soon. Review of the POC VPD short v the crash pad women’s pro. Sorry it’s taken so long but we lost our training venue then I got injured.
    Cheers Abs x

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