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 )
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.
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.
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.
10.1.3.1 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.
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.
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!