Dragon boat races stir new interest

Water splashing, men paddled hard against each other in opposite directions in the tug-of-war dragon boat event September 12.

The Lakelse Dragons paddle their boat in after a race against the City of Terrace White Lightening team at the Dragon Boat Regatta September 12.

Water splashing everywhere, a boat-load of men paddled hard against each other in opposite directions  during the new tug-of-war dragon boat event September 12.

The event was a new feature in the annual Dragon Boat Regatta at Furlong Beach. Two boats were packed, with eight men facing east and eight facing west as they fought for each ripple of distance.

Dragon Boat Society Treasurer Sally Ryan says it was a good day all around.

“The sun shone on us all day which was beautiful and the wind didn’t pick up until the end of the day,” she said.

“Everybody seemed to have a good time and the races went well.”

The regatta had 140 participants, or seven teams, competing, including three from Terrace, two from Kitimat, and one each from Prince Rupert and Smithers.

Two of the Terrace teams were made up of volunteers and new paddlers.

Briana Pellegrino put together a team of new paddlers for the City of Terrace.

A new paddler herself, Pellegrino says it was “harder then it looked… but really fun.”

She enjoyed the camaraderie and enthusiasm in the boat and just being out on the water.

“I’m hoping to continue my dragon boating career,” she said, adding that several on her team talked about joining the Lakelse Dragons next year.

Ingrid Overbeek, who put together the second team of new paddlers from Northern Health, said she also had a lot of fun.

“It was a really upbeat event, lots of team building. It was great fun,” she said. “Everybody had a really good time.”

The big Guts & Glory race took on new shape this year. Instead of the strenuous 1,000-metre race, the two lowest-scoring teams lined up to paddle a race backwards.

“That was fun to watch,” said Ryan.

In the finals, Kitimat Leftovers and the City of Terrace White Lightning team went head to head, and Ryan says it was a real nail biter.

“The difference in the finish was point 8 of a second,” she said. “A great finish to a great day.”

Ranked from top to bottom were Kitimat Leftovers at 1:12.0, Terrace White Lightning at 1:12.8, and the Prince Rupert Rainbow Warriors at 1:17.3. Next was the Terrace Lakelse Dragons at 1:20.5, Kitimat Free Spirit at 1:24.7, and the Smithers Tyee Lake Dragons at 1:26.0. The new Health Mob team of Northern Health volunteers did not make finals.

The regatta wrapped up the season, and paddlers are organizing for next year. Next spring, the season will kick off with workshops for new people who want to try our dragon boating.