Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Knees, Elbows, and Wrists, Oh My!

First, I'd like to give a huge awkward hug to the NOVA Roller Derby league!  Not only did they give me an awesome show, but they also graciously let me attend a couple practices (more like invade!).  Seriously a great group of sweaty athletes.  They are also the reason I was not able to get a post out last week, sorry.

Second, congratulations to the winner of a new Atom backpack, Tamara Dameron! She stomped a huge "2N1" in the snow that was probably visible from space, and I appreciate the effort to advertise to aliens.

Onto this week's topic: knees, elbows, and wrists (oh my!).  Now, there are so many brands and types out there that I just want to start with the basics.  I will get to reviewing products soon so if you have any specific ones you would like me to test out, please let me know!

When fitting knee and elbow pads, you want them to be pretty snug, but not tight enough to cut off your circulation.  If it feels just right then they are probably too big.  These pads will stretch out after a few uses so if you get them where they feel great at first, they will end up falling down once they break in and that means they won't be in place to protect your pointy parts when you need them.  Wrist guards don't need to be super snug as they generally don't stretch as much as the other pads and tend to stay in place better even when loose.

187 Pro Derby Knee Pads
Out of the three items we're discussing, we use knee pads the most (especially when first starting).  There are a couple different designs out there but for the most part they either pull on or wrap around.  Some skaters like the snugness of the ones that pull on, but after seeing a few skaters break legs I would rather not need to have my knee pads cut off of me if that unfortunately occurs.  The most common type of wrap around knee pads have a butterfly strap system like the ones shown here on the 187 Roller Derby Knee Pads.

It is important to check your knee pads every once in a while to make sure the hard caps haven't cracked and that the "stuffing" hasn't squished down too far.  Some knee pads can be recapped by putting double-sided tape on the old caps and sticking the new caps on top.  Other knee pads (like the 187's) have removable knee pad caps which makes it easy to replace or change colors.  Since you use the straps so much, you will probably notice any tears as they develop, and if you do please replace the pads before the strap ends up breaking during your championship bout.

Elbow pads are not used as much as knee pads in derby, but it sure is nice to have them when you are suddenly flying through the air and unexpectedly land on your belly.  If possible, try on as many different types as possible because there isn't a standardized sizing convention and every body is different.  That being said, the majority of my customers who end up trying on all of our elbow pads end up liking the Atom Elite Elbow pads the best.  Not only do they fit well, but they also have a strip of silicone along the top and bottom of the pad that keeps them in place.  Most elbow pads have a hard cap, just like the knee pads, but I haven't seen any that can be replaced so if the elbow pad cap cracks or starts coming off, you will need to replace it.
Triple 8 Roller Derby Wrist Guards

Just like knee pads, wrist guards either pull on or wrap around and generally are pretty much the same.  Two specific wrist guards do stand out from the pack, the Atom Armor and Triple 8 Roller Derby wrist guards.  Both have wider coverage of the palm area than other wrist guards out there, which helps when you slap your hands against the track, but that is where the similarities end.  The Atom Armor wrist guards have an open back which can freak skaters out, personally I like having the wind blowing over the backs of my hands.  The Triple 8 Roller Derby wrist guards are made out of neoprene, have a red loop that helps pull them on (see pic), and the wide strap makes your wrists feel nice and secure.

Since we are talking about pads that we wear whilst sweating, I should mention the wonderful solution to smelly pads that is Stink Out.  Just two sprays on each piece of equipment after practice, then letting it all dry at home makes Shocker smell sweet.  If I'm practicing more often and can't get my pads dry between practices, I will end up having to eventually wash them in the washing machine then lay them out to dry.  Some people put their pads into the dishwasher, but this can ruin some pads and personally, I feel icky about putting sweaty stuff in with my dishes.

Lastly, there is still time to tell us your helmet story for a chance to win a new Nutcase Helmet.  Just tell us anything about helmets in the comments section of One Hit Wonder? by April 15th to enter.

Until we skate again!

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Until we skate again!