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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Get your skates on because RollerFit is rollin’ into Canberra

For RollerFit ACT owners Amelia and Matt Wheeler, roller skating is their jam and, more importantly, their bread and butter.

For many, quad roller skating evokes memories of youth, 1980s fluorescent jumpsuits, and a time when you felt indestructible.

While it may appear the COVID-19 lockdown brought roller skating back into fashion, the sport has never left, and has its roots within the African American community.

“People are saying skating is back but, actually, skating never left,” Amelia said.

More than a decade ago, RollerFit came to life when a group of women who wanted to get fit started skating around basketball courts.

With classes all along Australia’s east coast, RollerFit’s newest location will launch in Canberra on Thursday 8 April, based at the ANU’s Sports Centre.

Matt and Amelia, who started their skating journey eight years ago, will be running the RollerFit ACT classes three times a week.

You may suspect the Wheelers got serious with skating because of their apt surname, but they rolled with it after attending a roller disco in 2012. They had such a great time that they joined their local RollerFit in Sydney.

“I could skate forward fast and that was it. So, going to RollerFit meant I learned so much,” Amelia said.

RollerFit is a fitness class on skates, combining skills from a range of disciplines to create a fun experience for everyone from absolute beginners to more advanced.

“You get the fitness, you get social interaction, and you get that sense of mastery. You’re progressing every week, there’s always something new to learn,” Matt said.

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Amelia and Matt met in high-school, and twenty years on they’re still inseparable.

The high-school sweethearts who have been married for 14 years do everything in their skates together, from moving furniture around the house to using skating as a vessel for mindfulness.

“It’s really good at keeping you in the moment. It’s hard to think about anything else, it’s so flowy and expressive,” Matt said.

“It’s great, it’s something we can do together as partners. We love being able to skate and experience that together and share that with other people as well, so we’re very lucky,” Amelia said.

The couple moved to Canberra from Sydney in 2019 and have been running online classes while hunting for a suitable Canberra venue.

“The really cool thing that people adapt for online is trying to find a space in their house where they can skate; whether it’s outside on the driveway, and even people have bought plates of plywood from Bunnings and set up on their carport,” Matt said.

For those of you who think roller skating is only for the youth, think again – it’s the sport that keeps you young. With a large demographic of RollerFit skaters in their 40s, the couple also know many skaters in their 70s and 80s.

“There’s a saying in skating that you don’t stop skating because you get old, you get old because you stop skating,” Matt smiled.

RollerFit ACT are looking for a second venue to offer more classes. If you’re interested in taking a class or have a space for hire, get in touch at rollerfit.com.au

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