Rollerskating in Hobart is ‘back’ with a vengeance, so much so that fake tickets to a local roller disco have been offered after the event sold out.
- Rollerskating had its heyday in Tasmania in the ’80s, but has made a comeback
- It has become so popular that fake tickets are being sold to a roller disco
- Coronavirus restrictions do not permit dancing in public venues but rollerskating is allowed
Tasmanian photographer Amy Brown organised a private roller disco, so she could skate to the music that she liked, but the tickets soon sold out.
“The event had over 700 people wanting to come, so we might have to put on another one,” she told ABC Hobart.
Fake tickets for sale
“I now know that when people write ‘sold out’ on a Facebook event, scammers search for that phrase,” Ms Brown said.
“People really wanted to come.”
Craig Wood is the owner of Woody’s Skate and Play, the business his father started in 1979 when Mr Wood was 10 years old.
He partly attributes the rise in popularity of rollerskating to the easing of coronavirus restrictions in Tasmania.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all since the unlocking after COVID we have been flat out every day,” he said.
“People have been locked up and shut down and however you want to look at it, it’s akin to a near-death experience.”
Romance and fashion on the rink
When his family opened their first rink, “I was more interested in the video games myself”, Mr Wood said.
He has seen a lot of changes in fashions on and off the rink.
“I remember the 80s fashion, how my girlfriends were dressed with tall hair and bubble gum jeans,” he said.
Both Mr Wood and his brother met their wives at the rollerskating rink, and they used to run couples skate sessions there.
“It was one of those things to get the confidence up and make it easier for the boy to ask the girl to hold hands while they skated,” he said.
Rollerskating’s changing popularity
In 1979, when the skate rink in Hobart opened, it was banking on the popularity of rollerskating in the United States.
It paid off and within a year the Wood family had opened a new rink that was twice the size.
Twenty years ago, Mr Wood moved the rink to Hobart’s northern suburbs.
This was when inline skating (rollerblading) was booming, and he was operating two rinks at the new location.
“Towards the middle of the 2000s when the sport started dying off a bit, we reinvented ourselves with a play centre,” Mr Wood said.
“People would bring their kids to play and expose them to the skating.
“For a long period of time we had to diversify but now skating is taking off on its own.
“People are living life and looking to do things that are an experience and are healthy and I think skating is one of those things.”
COVID-19 can’t stop the skating
Current coronavirus restrictions do not allow Tasmanians to dance in public venues, but rollerskating is permitted — with appropriate physical distancing.
“You could be in the middle of the rink jiving to it or just going around the rink doing a bit of a groove,” she said.
Ms Brown is organising more roller discos and her Boogie Down Hobart Roller Disco Facebook page is booming.