Remember women’s roller derby? Flamboyant, professional wrestling-like theatrics from the 1970s that were more about violent spectacle than actual competition? Well, it’s come a long way, and Hawaii’s roller derby leagues are a good example of how it has evolved from cartoonish overacting by brash, contrived personas to a legitimate amateur sport involving committed athletes and officials. Gone are the fighting and cheap shots that made it popular long ago, now replaced by sportsmanship, athleticism, and a common sense of community. There are now amateur leagues throughout the U.S. and around the world.
There leagues and many regular “bouts” on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Island. Pacific Roller Derby was founded in Honolulu in 2008 and consists of several teams. A member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the league participates often in mainland tournaments and hosts visiting national and international teams. The organization most recently participated in the 2014 Hawaii Wellness Lifestyle Expo.
Aloha City Rollers holds regular monthly bouts at the Mililani Roller Hockey Track. With corporate sponsorship and the support of State Senator Mike Gabbard and the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce, Aloha City Rollers has become a vital community organization.
On Hawaii Island (the Big Island), Paradise Roller Girls is another league that holds regular bouts at various locations around the island. Founded in early 2010, Paradise Roller Girls now enjoys a fairly large membership with a handful of teams and one all-star team.
Kauai’s Garden Island Renegade Rollers hold regular weekly practices between bouts with teams from other islands. The organization hosted the Battle of the Islands Tournament in 2013, which featured teams from around the Hawaiian Islands and welcomed healthy crowds of fans family and friends.
Maui Roller Girls was founded in 2008. A recent bout with two Big Island teams saw a portion of the proceeds go to the Maui Humane Society.
Despite skater names like “Sasha Buzzkill,” “Psycho Pixie,” and “Meanie Wahine,” the women of roller derby in Hawaii are dedicated to wholesome athleticism and committed to community service. Most of the skaters sport ornate tattoos and embrace the rockabilly look and lifestyle, and they can be quite intimidating. But that’s only on skates. To a skater, the women of roller derby in Hawaii are family minded, and value a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Leagues hold regular public workouts and open skates. All are always seeking volunteer referees, non-skating support, and first aid and medical support. Devoutly welcoming and inclusive, all of Hawaii’s roller derby leagues offer guaranteed aloha to visiting skaters and supporters.
If you are interested in experiencing roller derby in Hawaii, visit these links to find information on upcoming events and becoming a visiting skater or volunteer: