Kitty Decapitate XOXO-London Rollergirls' London Brawling Blocker
Boots: Brooklyn Skate Company's Murillo 340
I was really excited to try these out when we got them in. Designed by Bonnie Thunders and OMG from Gotham, manufactured by Klingbeil who have been custom making figure skating boots for over 60 years, I figured if something was good enough for those two, it must have massive Rad Points! I was really interested in the super soft treated leather which claimed to have relatively no break time compared to stiffer boots. When I first put my foot in these, they felt like comfortable old boots that you'd worn for years (in a good way!)...and they have lightning bolts on them, so obvs were a winner in my book. The low counters meant that I had no rubbing on my arches which has previously been a problem for me when breaking in new boots. I was really hoping the break-in time was quick, because I had about a month before WFTDA Play-Offs so really wanted to be used to my new set-up by then. I did have a little bit of rubbing on my inner ankle bone for the first couple of sessions til I got out my hairdryer and stretched it out a little, and they have felt great since then. They are super light and the fit is perfectly snug so that I can get the response I am after. They have the cinch strap around the ankle so you can pull your laces in a little tighter around the ankle, however I only use it on the outsides of the boot, and just let my ankles do their own thing on the insides. Basically, these boots feel like comfy slippers within no time at all. Win!
Plate: Crazy Skates Venus Plate in GOLD
I tried this plate when I was in the U.S back in June, and even though I only used it in the one session, I was intrigued to find out more about it and give it a proper road test. The lovely people at Crazy Skates gave me one to try out, and I have to say I am a real fan. It has a 20 degree kingpin which is the same as some of the super-high end Roll-line plate, which gives me just the right amount of responsiveness. I was previously on a 16 degree, so not a massive change, but something I can definitely feel. I spoke with Mad MelArena from Victorian Roller Derby League who is a Crazy representative who, as a figure skater, skated on Roll-Lines her whole life, and she reckons the Crazy Venus plate has pretty much exactly the same feel (but for a fraction of the price!). The unique cushion system means that the kingpin is totally encapsulated by the PU cushions so all your movements are translated perfectly throughout the whole setup. This plate is pretty cool---you can choose from 7 different colours! Fancy!
I wear the softest cushions, however the plates come with all 3 cushion variants (soft, medium and hard), so you can play around with the action and see what suits you best.
Toe-Stops: Bionic Super Stopper 30mm
I really like the pre-angled footprint of the Bionic Super Stopper. It has a really flat and wide surface which makes you feel really balanced when you use it. It's great for using the heel-toe method of acceleration.
Wheels: HeartlessHa! My current set-up is pictured. Yes, it is a little ridiculous. But what I Iove about Heartless is that I essentially have 4 in every durometer, and so I can really micro-adjust the feel. This is the combo I wore at Play-Offs and it just suited the surface (concrete) perfectly. I won't bore you with why I chose exactly each wheel for each spot BUT I will tell you a couple of things: as a blocker, one of the things I do predominantly is PLOW...one footed plows, little plows, wide plows. So I like to have a harder wheel on the inside of my back truck. And I wear the hardest wheel (a 96A) on my left foot inside back truck because my left foot one footed plows are not *quite* as strong as my right footed ones.
I have worn Heartless for about 4 years now. I have had a muck around with trying other wheels, and there are definitely things I like about ones I have tried however Heartless just seem to be the perfect match for what I want out of a wheel. I get the right amount of grip where I want it, with a narrow footprint through the pack.They are 35mm wide which is just that little bit more narrow than your Atom Jukes or Radar Bullets (our other top seller narrow wheels), which I really love. Randomly though, they are 62mm high which seems to buck the latest trend for 59mm wheels. I haven't set out to specifically wear 62mm wheels over 59mm, it just so happens that for whatever reason, these work for me.
Helmet: S-1 Lifer Black Gloss
S-1 were nice enough to send London Brawling this helmet for us to wear at Play-Offs. Luckily they are also super comfortable, don't make you look like you have a massive space-helmet on, and they are one of the few multi-impact certified helmets on the market for roller derby. Win!