Roll model: Skating late starter inspires others to ‘go for it’

Karlee Cobby embracing a new passion for artistic roller skating (also known as figure skating)

A class on a whim, triumph over injury and now a masterful success: meet Glass House Mountains woman Karlee Cobby, who shows it’s never too late to embrace a new passion.

Karlee, 35, was looking for a fun way to keep fit when a class at the Caloundra Rollerdrome caught her eye. 

Eight years and hundreds of hours of training later, Karlee has fallen in love with artistic roller skating (also known as figure skating), mastering her craft at competitions throughout the country.

With the help of a Sunshine Coast Council Individual Development Grant, Karlee recently travelled to Bunbury in Western Australia, winning bronze in Ladies Masters Freedance at the Australian National Artistic Skating Championships.

“Artistic skating is a fully self-funded sport, so the Council grant was a big help when paying for flights, accommodation, car hire and competition entry fees,” Karlee said.

“I have received a Council grant each year since 2019 to compete at a national level, which is amazing, especially for a mature age athlete as most other grants are only for children.”

Along with placing third in competitions nationally this year and in 2019, Karlee said her biggest achievement was returning to the sport after an ankle reconstruction, with no plans to scale back her skating ambitions anytime soon.

The talented athlete is set to make her second attempt at mastering the fourth level of dance skating assessment and has begun work with her coach on her 2024 Freedance routine for the upcoming season.

Freedance is an advanced event in masters roller skating requiring lots of technically very difficult turns, flexibility elements and choreography.

Keen to give roller skating a try?

Karlee is a volunteer roller skating instructor and encourages anyone looking for a fun and exciting sport to join in a Learn to Skate lesson at the Caloundra Rollerdrome which are held on Saturday mornings.

“It’s a beautiful and incredibly challenging sport where you never stop learning,” Karlee said.

“I would say if you are interested, go for it! You are never too old. We have events to suit most people and it’s an inclusive sport.”

How to apply for a grant

Council offers a range of grants and funding throughout the year. Visit  sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/grants for more information.

Council’s Individual Development Grants support individuals who are performing, competing or representing the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area at national or international competitions, conferences and events and are selected by a recognised national body. 

Did you know?

There are four main disciplines of artistic roller skating*:

  • Dance – Dance Skating is to perform a rhythmic and patterned succession of steps to music. One of the prime objectives is to interpret the rhythm of the music eg. Waltz, Tango etc.
  • Freeskating – Freeskating consists of jumps, spins and footwork blended in harmony with the skater’s choice of music.
  • Freedance – The combination of dance and freeskating with combined technical elements and choreography.
  • Figures – The individual follows the figure circle line on a specific edge. Figures become progressively more complex with the addition of turns and the use of the third circle.

*Source: Caloundra Rollerdrome

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