Artistic skaters own the podium

Emma Bailey. Photos: Belinda Jayne Gifford.

Tauranga's newly-established artistic roller skating club has only been around for a few months, but they're already making an impression on New Zealand's competitive skating scene.

In November, 10 members of the Tauranga Roller Skating Club went to two competitions in Auckland and Palmerston North, bringing home a total of 41 first, second, and third placings.

Club president Kazna Bedford says in some events, all three spots on the podium were filled by Tauranga skaters.

“We are really proud of how well they have been doing. We have a high level of international coaching, and the successes we are seeing are due to their hard work and dedication.”

Artistic skating is very similar to ice skating, except it takes place on a less slippery surface, such as an indoor basketball court. Skaters also use wheeled skates.

There are three categories skaters compete in: figures, which is the art of holding an edge on one leg and following precise circles and figure eights; free skating, which is a routine to music, including jumps and spins; and dance, which involves skating to set dances like the waltz.

Olivia Bedford.

The club consists mainly of children aged six to 13, but there are some adults who take part as well.

Kazna herself began skating on ice in her teens, and recently began Skatescool in Tauranga two years ago, to promote recreational roller skating in the community.

The Tauranga Roller Skating Club grew out of that venture, and next July they plan to head to the national competitions in Whanganui and compete under that banner for the first time.

She says the Whanganui club recently celebrated 50 years, so there's always been a skating scene in New Zealand.

“It's making a comeback in Tauranga, one skater at a time – and it is addictive. Once you come, you keep coming back. It's such a great workout too.”

Members of the Tauranga Roller Skating Club, which has had great success in recent competitions. 

Mackenna Ellis.

Mackenna Ellis, Emma Bailey, and Catalina Morosini.

Tamara Bedford.

Jaydene De Roles.

Kazna Bedford, coach Michelle Webb, and Jenny Bailey after placing first and second in Auckland.


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