1 October 2022

Would the world's skaters roll to Wagga? Twin City Skate is hoping so

| Chris Roe
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Roller skates

The Riverina’s Twin City Skate has become the biggest club in NSW. Photo: Supplied.

Henty couple Kurt and Bec Wawszkowicz have a dream to turn the Riverina into Australia’s roller-skating Mecca.

The pair, who founded Twin City Skate in 2021, have been gearing up for a busy school holiday schedule of roller discos at Wagga’s Bolton Park Stadium.

“Yeah, it’s pretty much a flashback to the 70s and 80s,” says Kurt with a smile.

“You’ve got a one-metre diameter disco ball in the middle of Bolton Park Stadium, disco lights, music playing and basically you can roll around and enjoy yourself for two hours.”

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A former high school teacher and mother of three, Bec found her new calling after reconnecting with her love for artistic roller-skating.

“My wife is the roller-skater, I don’t know how to skate,” laughs Kurt, explaining that Bec had been an accomplished artistic skater in her teens.

“She didn’t do it for 20 years but then basically she went skating, just to see if she could do it again, and when people saw what she was doing some of them came up and asked how they could learn.”

Woman and children

Bec Wawszkowicz rediscovered her passion for skating and wants to share it with the world. Photo: Supplied.

It was a lightbulb moment for the couple and soon Twin City Skate was running classes five days a week in Wagga and Albury.

“We’ve got a sizeable group in Albury, but it’s really taken off in Wagga,” Kurt explains.

“When we started, there was no (artistic) skating presence at all, even though they’ve had quite a long history of roller-skating and there are some great historical photos of people in suits and top hats on skates back in the 1920s.

“When people say roller-skating is a fad, I say – hold on, this is a fad that’s gone on for 120 years!”

While it remains a niche sport in Australia, Twin City Skate has become the largest roller-skating club in New South Wales.

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Kurt says it’s Bec’s skills and coaching that are the “secret ingredient” of their growing business.

“There’s a lot of support we can give to get people on their wheels and enjoying it and past that initial barrier of falling or hurting themselves or whatever,” he says.

Helping aspiring skaters get off on the right foot, on the right surface with the right pair of skates is the key.

“Everyone loves roller-skating,” he enthuses.

“People want to be there, they’re happy and it’s a sort of a joyous, uplifting thing to be a part of.”

Roller disco

Wagga’s Bolton Park has become the city’s home of roller skating. Photo: Supplied.

While the roller discos are a fun, casual affair, Kurt says first-time skaters are inspired by what they see Bec and her students doing.

“It’s fantastic to see someone do jumps and twirls and spins and all this stuff and just think, ‘Wow, how do you do that?'” he says.

“The little kids watch and say to their parents, ‘I want to do that!'”

Looking to the future, Twin City Skate is a supporter of Wagga’s Mardi Gras celebrations and are planning a rainbow disco hosted by Drag Queens on Wheels.

They are also dreaming big about potentially holding the world’s only ‘Roller Fest’.

“Roller-skating is this universal pursuit that people all over the world are interested in but there isn’t really any sort of enormous festival that happens anywhere,” Kurt explains.

“So why don’t we start one in Wagga?”

In the meantime, you can find out how to get rolling these school holidays here.

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