The Lakelse Dragons’ refurbished boat, painted by Terrace artist Mark Hart during the cancelled 2020 paddling season. (Submitted Photo/ Lakelese Dragon Boat Society)

New paint in a pandemic: Lakelse Dragons refurbish boat during COVID-19

Paddlers were landlocked during May to Sept. season

The Lakelse Dragons will be paddling in style next time they hit the water in their newly refurbished and painted dragon boat.

The COVID-19 pandemic kept the team on dry land for the season, which normally starts in May with lessons for new paddlers. The 48-foot long boat is usually occupied by 20 paddlers, but physical distancing meant that only four could be in the boat at a time.

“Although this would be a fun challenge and hard work, it does not make for safe or efficient paddling,” said Pam Bibby, Lakelse Dragon Boat Society president in an email.

Instead of paddling, the team scraped and sanded the hull so that Azorcan Collision Center could do fibreglass repairs. Local airbrush artist Mark Hart completed the refurbishing by painting new artwork on the side of the boat.

The Lakelse Dragon Boat Society was created in 2006. The team usually paddles twice a week on Lakelse Lake during the May to Sept. season, culminating in the annual Lakelse Dragon Boat Regatta on the second weekend in September.

READ MORE: Dragon boat races stir new interest


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