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New generation rolls into the wheel thing

Rolling in the bowl: Hugh ‘Disco’ Rowland of Adelaide practising at Bar Beach skate bowl this week Picture: Jonathan CarrollAUSTRALIA’S top rollerskaters have converged on Newcastle for Rollerpalooza, acelebration of their sport at the Bar Beach skate bowl.
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The free event runs from 2 to 6pm at the Bar Beach bowl on Saturday, with workshops on dance skating and bowl skating as well as demos and a finale “jam” that will feature rollerskaters and skateboarders.

Ange Maloney of Newcastle created Rollerpalooza five years ago. “I wanted to create a meet-up, and an opportunity to skate this bowl, one of the best in Australia,” she said. “And to teach people and make this massive, scary bowl less intimidating.”

The biggest star atevent is Michelle Stielen, of Long Beach, California, better known as Estro Jen, founder of the Moxi Roller Skate Company. Newcastle is her first stop on a majortour of Australia where she will lead workshops in skate dance and park/bowl skating.

Rollerskater “Disco” Rowlandof Adelaide was rolling at the Bar Beach bowl on Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s event. A surfer and skateboarder, he came back to rollerskating four years ago. Among his tricks is the “Seducer” where he spreads his legs on the coping (rim)as he reaches the top of the bowl, before drawing them together and reversing into the bowl.

“It is not competitive,” Rowlandsaid of the jam in the bowl. “We do try to up each other on tricks. You get about 30 seconds to put in three good moves in a sequence before you pop out.”

“What I really like about this event, all the people who come have different styles,” Maloney said. “It’s very much a community event. There is no competition. There will be some demos showcasing some of the best skaters, to show what is achievable.

Rollerpalooza founder: Ange ‘Danger’ Maloney at Bar Beach skate bowl this week. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“But it’s all about getting people together to have a go. Everyone is more than welcometo come along and have a roll. Don’t be afraid. The best teachers will be here to help.”

There will be skate dancing to a deejayat the nearby backcourt, and a half pipe brought in for those not adventurous enough to roll in the bowl. Newcastle Roller Derby League, will be putting on a sausage sizzle and offering drinks for sale.

There will be sessions for every level of skater, Maloney said, and it’s a good chanceto learn to skate the bowl.

Jason and Justine Burgess of Bateau Bay and their children, Imogen, 7, and Talisha, 9, were practising in the bowl this week and will be attending on Saturday.

“It’s just such a big learning experience for us,” Mr Burgesssaid. “All of the top skaters will be here. It’s a good opportunity just to watch their lines and learn what good skaters do.”

Skaters must sign a waiver to participate. The event is free.

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