In the figures discipline, skaters trace figure circles painted on the skating surface. This is different from skaters of compulsory figures on ice, who skate on blank ice, and draw their own circles on the ice as they skate. The official dimension of plain figure circles, measured at their diameter along the long axis, is 6 meters (19 feet, 8¼ inches). The official dimension of the smaller loop figure circles measured similarly is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10½ inches). Circles are typically painted in “serpentines”—sets of three circular lobes.

The basic figures skated are typically referred to by numbers, the same as those skated by ice skaters, ranging from simple circle eights through serpentines (figures using one push for a circle and a half), paragraphs (figures using one push for two circles), and loops (smaller circles with a teardrop-shaped loop skated at the top of the circle). There is one category of very simple figures (111 and 112) that are unique to roller skaters; these are serpentines that begin with a half circle skated on one foot, then change to the other foot, for the next circle, then change back to the other foot for another half circle. Some of the more basic figures are numbered 1, 2, 1B, 5A, 5B, 7A, 7B, 111A, 111B, 112A, and 112B, in which the letter B means you start on your left foot. These figures are often taught as beginning figures for those just starting. They include simple circle eights, circle eights with [three turns], and serpentines. The harder figures include counters, brackets, rockers, etc. and they are number 19, 21, 22, 26, etc.

Judges in figure events consider the quality of the skater’s tracing of the circle, clean takeoffs, edges and correct placement of turns. The skater’s form and posture is emphasized as well.

« Back to Glossary Index