THERE'S a new social sport group in Bunbury encouraging the community to take up the wacky but wonderful sport of roller skating.
Founded just two months ago by Bunbury skater Gagan Singh, the group has already attracted over a dozen members with the hopes of following in the skate-steps of Perth-based group, Perth Outdoor Rollerblading.
Singh, who has been skating for just over two years, said it was during COVID-19 related lockdowns that inspired him to take up a new hobby.
"I was like okay I can't see my friends, I can't go out, so I need a hobby," Singh said.
"So I bought some inline skates online but didn't end up using them for six months.
"Then when restrictions lifted I found the Perth-based group and started skating - after first skating around my suburb and smashing onto the lawn because I didn't know how to break.
"Because I started going and made a lot of friends I thought, Bunbury needed a group like this."
Skating is a dorky looking activity - but when you get going you're just out there having fun and saying to everyone hey look at me, I'm skating."Skater Jake Kerr
Taking inspiration from the Perth-based group, Singh started Bunbury Social Skating on Facebook, opening it to not only roller skaters but to those who ride long boards also.
Skater Jake Kerr was one of the first members of the group, labelling himself as 'a die hard, day one fan'.
"I'm almost 30 and I grew up skating in Bunbury so I've been waiting for someone to take skating as seriously here as Gargan is," Kerr said.
"The reality is in 2022 you can't get people to come to your birthday party, let alone come to a weekly skate event, so it's kind of cool that people are rocking up and having really good conversation and a skate.
"I've been skating my whole life so I have the license to say that skating is a really dorky looking activity and in a small town it can be overwhelming - but when you've got a big group of skaters, you're just having fun and saying to everyone hey look at me, I'm skating."
Roller skating originates back to the 1800s as both a recreational activity and a sport.
Today skaters have a choice of what skates they use, whether it be inline skates for outdoor exercise (a single row of three to five wheels) or traditional roller skates featuring quad wheels with a rubber break.
Those passionate about the sport can use their skating skills to compete professionally in speed skating or roller derby.
Singh confirmed that Bunbury had great pathways for skating where skaters could "easily" travel from Jetty Road to Carey Park and back.
He recommended that those interested in starting skating purchase a second hand pair online before they invest.
"Even if you just go into City Beach and purchase a pair of Impala skates, they'll last you for your first 12 months," Singh said.
"Then if you go out for a skate for an hour or two every week - you'll be a confident skater in six weeks.
"For me, skating is a big part of my mental health and my physical wellbeing, because you can get outside, enjoy the outdoors and get your body moving - it's so freeing.
"And as long as you learn how to break, you'll always feel safe on skates."
Interested in getting involved?
The Bunbury Social Skating group meet at 5.30pm Wednesdays at the Jetty Road carpark for a skate and pizza. For more information, visit the group's Facebook page.