Roller Derby team is heels on wheels

Shore Shots takes to the rink Saturday for the exhibition game.

By Jonathan Smith

During the day, Los Angeles resident Jacky Shu produces film trailers for some of Hollywood’s biggest releases. But when she steps out on a roller rink, it’s “Shunami Bomb” time.

Shu said she considered other roller derby nicknames, but somehow Shunami Bomb stuck. “When I first started, I think the name brought out something in me that I didn’t know I had,” Shu said. “But now I feel like what you see is what you get.”

Shu is one of the handful roller derby players on Shore Shots, a team in the Los Angeles-based Angel City Derby league. The team is scheduled to step out on the rink Saturday in Culver City for an exhibition game against the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, a team from Colorado. Most of the Shots home games are based in Culver City. “I love my team,” Shu said. “It’s been a while since we’ve been in the rink together. Can’t wait to get back out there.”

Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five people on roller skates. During each game, both teams designate a jammer, who scores points by lapping the opposing team’s members. Each team attempts to hinder the opposing jammer from scoring while trying to help its own jammer to score.

Culver City resident Lisa Kapasi, who goes by Phoenix on the team, said she started playing roller derby in Salem, Oregon back in 2009. She now coaches the Shore Shots. “I had the opportunity to see a game in Portland a year before, and that piqued my interest,” Kapasi said. Kapasi was the 13th person to sign up on her first team, she said. She still uses it as her playing number.

Shu began her career in 2009 after meeting players in a Santa Monica park. The New Jersey native said she was just looking to hang out with like-minded people “I definitely didn’t know how to skate,” Shu said. Kapasi said she loves how roller derby brings people from different backgrounds and ethnicities together and how passionate people are to the global sport.

“There are leagues all over the world making derby work for them,” Kapasi said. “Skaters practice in rinks, parks, open streets, wherever they can to make their dream a reality. “Roller derby is for everyone,” she added. “It’s not just for fringe groups. I’m a consultant with no tattoos and I have a big affinity for Disney movies. Another friend owns her own production company, has a family, and an affinity for tattoos. “There are writers, artists, nurses, moms, zookeepers, and everything in between,” Kapasi added. “People should just come try it.”

Tickets for the event are $20 for general admission, $30 for VIP and $12 for kids at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at Games will take place at the Culver City Veterans Auditorium at 4117 Overland Ave. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with games slated at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.