Skating at Central City Arena in Surrey. Note the awesome floor!

Where to Skate: Central City Arena

by Melinda on February 1, 2011

Updated Sept. 29, 2011: New time information for fall 2011

Central City Arena is at 10240 City Parkway (135th st), Surrey, B.C.

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Getting there: Central City Arena is right across the street from Surrey Central Skytrain station. If you drive, Central City has a small parking lot right out front.
Times: Central City has Public Skates from 8 PM to 10 PM on Saturday nights. The Public Skate is $7 plus tax, roller skate (quad) rentals are $3, and in-line skate rentals are $2.
Website: Find out more at www.centralcityarena.ca

Our favourite derby girl, Snow Crash, says of Central City Arena, “Awesome floor, awesome people. Go skate there and be nice to them.”

Central City is the arena formerly known as Stardust. If you grew up in Vancouver, you may remember it from back in the day. Central City Arena offers indoor public roller skating sessions from 7 PM to 9 PM, Friday and Saturday nights. During the long, wet, dark Vancouver winter, Central City offers the only indoor roller skating for the general public.

The public skates come complete with cheesy laser lights, and music ranging from top 40 to classic 80’s to country to that rockin’ party favourite, The Chicken Dance. Some people complain about the lack of “good” music, but frankly, if you are too cool to polka like poultry, you may not get along well with the roller skating crowd anyway.

This is an all-ages crowd, and Central City rents skates (and roller blades too, if you must). Because they rent roller skates, it’s the perfect place to try out skating if you are not sure if you are going to like it. That said, the rental skates are not even remotely as comfortable as proper derby skates. Don’t be discouraged from skating if the rentals hurt your feet.

For all of you parents out there whose little girls watched “Whip It”, and want to learn derby, Central City is the best place for your girls to skate. At the moment, there is no Junior Derby in Vancouver. Let them come to the public skate, and see how long the love of skating sticks with them. (We bet it’s a long time. Come see Raw Meat when you are 19!)

Central City Arena is covered with sport court flooring, which is specifically designed for roller skating. It’s smooth, and much more forgiving than wood or concrete. The floor makes it a nice place to learn, because you won’t hurt yourself (as much) falling on this surface. That said, for a beginner, the light show and music can be distracting and overwhelming. Just remember to relax, and breathe.

The rules of Central City are simple. Skate in the direction of the crowd, no stopping on the track, no speed skating, and no backward skating unless it is a designated backward skate interval. Because of the nature of a public skate, you won’t be able to practice all of your tricks, but it’s a great place to just let loose and enjoy skating.

The are just two hazards to watch out for at Central City: small children, and Ass-hats. Small children will skate in random directions, stop to talk to each other, hold hands five across, and generally get in people’s way. Try to relax, and consider them an agility challenge. Small, animated pylons! Parents: if you are bringing your children to Central City, please make sure they know the rules, and keep an eye on them. If your kid trips a large adult, it’s the kid who is going to get hurt. And the adult, for that matter. In fact, it’s probably the adult who will get hurt. Kids are remarkably bouncy. So, watch your kids, ok?

Besides the kids, the other main hazard is what we in Raw Meat like to call Ass-hats. Ass-hats skate beyond their ability, do tricks they haven’t mastered, skate too close to other people, skate backward when it isn’t a backward skate, move erratically, cut lanes, and generally constitute a risk to themselves and others. Remember, even if you are certain of your skills, at Central City you will be skating around beginners, who can easily be startled and fall. Save the tricks for an empty parking lot. Oh, and by the way: you are not as good as you think you are. Don’t be an Ass-hat.

Despite the occasional sugared-up small child or random Ass-hat, Central City Public skates are overwhelmingly safe, fun and enjoyable. The people at Central City are extremely nice, and are amazingly supportive of the derby community. These are good people, and it’s good to support them.

Pros

  • It’s indoor!
  • The soft, smooth surface is great to skate on
  • It’s run by really good people, who are enormously supportive of the local derby community
  • It’s all ages
  • There are laser lights and cheesy music

Cons

  • It’s all ages
  • There are laser lights and cheesy music
  • Small children and Ass-hats create some hazards on the track
  • It’s been getting increasingly popular, and some days it’s very crowded
  • Because it’s a public skate, and everyone needs to skate in a predictable way, you can’t practice certain technical drills

After skating, if you are thirsty, do check out the excellent beer at Central City Brewing, just over from Central City Arena. Central City Brewing has been really supportive of Raw Meat, and they do have tasty beer!

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