Ben Mister is not your archetypal artistic skater.
The burly 36-year-old furniture remover says he took up the sport as a joke that got out of hand, yet just six months, into his competitive career, is a national champion.
“I’ve never done anything graceful in my life, so people got a good laugh thinking about me trying to skate artistically, but I quickly discovered I really enjoy it.”
Ben joined four other Nelson Roller Sports Club Artistic members who travelled to New Plymouth to compete in the National Championships last month.
It was the first time competing at Nationals for Ben who had only taken the sport up just before Christmas.
He and pairs partner Hayley Nam made it a memorable debut for Ben as they took home four golds between them.
Nelson took home six medals in total with a silver and bronze to go with their four golds which saw the club finish sixth in the country.
“My partner is very talented and makes up for a lot of my shortcomings.”
Ben says the next step for him and Hayley is to make themselves eligible for Oceania Championships next year.
“We are planning to do three years of progress in six months, it’s ambitious.”
Ben drives to Tahunanui from Motueka five times a week for skate training.
A self-described adrenaline junkie, Ben’s previous sporting endeavours have been in roller hockey and motocross.
“I have always played sports that are fast and aggressive with little to no concern for precision.”
However, he says there is certainly a place for men in the sport.
“It’s not all sequins and hairspray.”