In 2008, a handful of tenacious women formed Pacific Roller Derby, Oahu’s first modern-day roller derby league. In the 1960s, roller derby bouts were a popular pastime on the banked track inside the now-demolished Honolulu Civic Auditorium on South King Street. But it was a different sport; the moves choreographed, the game staged. Pacific wanted to legitimize roller derby in the Islands as the sport was undergoing an evolution across the nation: leagues were skating on flat tracks, official game play was forming and skaters were being seen as athletes, not entertainers.
They taught themselves how to skate, learned the rules of the game and practiced on any available basketball court they could. In 2009, Pacific became Hawaii’s first member league of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, a nonprofit organization that fosters roller derby around the globe.
Today, the league has grown to more than 25 active skaters, not including its referees and non-skating officials, who are integral to running successful bouts. Its members are diverse, from teachers, writers, students, firefighters, nurses and active-duty military to mothers, caretakers and wives.
While Pacific has grown since its inception, it remains rooted to the community, holding regular joint fundraising events. Skaters practice in diverse areas around Oahu, including a covered volleyball court in Native Hawaiian homestead land in Honolulu, an inline hockey rink on Oahu’s south side and the Marine corps base on the Windward side of the island.