Photo Essay: Exploring Abu Dhabi on wheels with the Rolleristas

Skating group was created during the pandemic and now spends its days exploring the emirate

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While the Covid pandemic led many people to stay indoors, Hala Krunz used it as a time to discover new hobbies and interests. The graphic designer, who lives in Abu Dhabi, wanted to find a way that people could explore the emirate together and so decided to create the Rolleristas.

The group meets to explore parts of Abu Dhabi while roller skating. Krunz says there are two reasons she created the group. "First to exercise and boost our immunity system, second to feel free on wheels and spread positive energy," she tells The National.

Other members who have been a part of the group – some since its formation while others have joined more recently – agree and say the reason they choose to skate with Rolleristas is simply because of how much fun they have doing it together.

The group’s weekly meet-ups are free to attend, and are for people of all ages.

"Skating with Rolleristas is different, the vibes, the events, the places we choose and the friends we make are a combination of the perfect sport," says Melissa Ramirez, a former inline speed skater. "We not only exercise but we also have lots of fun."

Liselotte Neuteboom, who works as cabin crew, joined in 2020. She says that rollerblading has been good for the muscles in her body and she enjoys getting to explore the city.

Sirin Zengin, who works for a production company in Germany, expresses similar sentiments. "Rollerblading always reminds me of the beautiful old days and it’s a great form of self-expression while exercising, plus it’s so much fun that you don’t feel you’re working out," she says.

Krunz says Abu Dhabi is filled with beautiful places to explore –her favourite places to skate include Abu Dhabi Corniche and Mamsha on Saadiyat Island.

“Skating gave us back our freedom; it’s how we got our slogan, ‘freedom on wheels’," Krunz says. "For us, skating is far more than just a sport or exercise. Whatever you’re stressed about, it all disappears when you skate.

“Of course, there are other skating groups in the UAE and across the world, but I haven’t seen any that are exactly like us,” she adds. “We have an individual identity that we love to express through music and dressing up.

"I want to cheer people up, make them dance and forget their worries."

Updated: September 29, 2023, 6:01 PM