Despite the advent of countless other hi-tech and low-tech holiday diversions, skating is a pastime that has never really gone away.
Mums, the odd dad, a handful of grandparents, and plenty of kids flocked to the Central Energy Trust Arena’s Bell Hall on Palmerston North’s Waldegrave St last week for an afternoon of physical activity on self-propelled wheels.
Palmerston North has always been a big skate town, and the Manawatu Showgrounds Skating Club is one of the country’s most prominent.
The club fosters speed or inline skating along with artistic on the more traditionally styled roller skates.
Club vice president Demelza George-Franzmayr said the club had 10 international artistic or speed skaters who were either world championship reps or members of the New Zealand Roller Sports Oceania team.
The club’s youngest Oceania team member is 13-year-old speed skater Serenity Griffiths, who has just been selected again following this month’s national champs.
On her bespoke large-wheeled, light-framed in-line skates, Griffiths showed a formidable turn of speed during the informal races and fun events held as part of last Wednesday’s public skate afternoon.
For freewheeling fun, the club runs a $5 skate-hire at the Bell Hall during school holidays, on its Wednesday skate days, and at its Friday evening discos.
‘‘We like to encourage families, and you’ll notice the number of parents taking their children for a spin,’’ George-Franzmayr said.
That was how Emma Morgan, 14, became involved with the club five years ago, and found herself hooked.
‘‘I came to one of these skate days on my birthday and really got into it. I started doing [artistic] competitions and getting certificates,’’ she said.
The club will hold a family open day in March on the Memorial Park outdoor rink.
Manawatu Showgrounds Skating Club speedsters Chris Morgan, Serenity Griffiths, 13, and Katja Franzmayr, 13, pour on the pace during a race at the Bell Hall.