Dragon boating

The Penticton Dragon Boat Festival is inviting other Okanagan groups, clubs and organizations to paddle one of their seven dragon boats to learn more about the sport. The South Okanagan organization holds two competitive events each year: the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival in September and the Okanagan Super Sprints in June, above.

Organizers of the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival are inviting other Okanagan groups, clubs and organizations to paddle one of their seven dragon boats.

“If you have a group of individuals who might be interested in trying something new, or if you are looking for a fun team-building activity for your organizers/friends/family, we would like to invite your group to try dragon boating,” said Thyra Carroll, the festival’s program co-ordinator.

“During a dragon boat session, we take participants out together and introduce everyone to the basics of paddling. Each session is approximately 90 minutes in duration, and is led by a certified coach and steers-person. Our rate for a booking is $250 plus GST per boat with each boat holding between 14 and 20 individuals. This price includes all equipment and coaching.”

Those who are interested in taking part or would like more information can email Carroll at: admin@pentictondragonboat.com. More information is also posted at pentictondragonboat.com. The group also has a Facebook page.

“We are a locally managed, non-profit society, which was founded in 2000,” said Carroll.

“We currently have eight teams which practice out of our boathouse on Skaha Lake. We have mixed teams, women’s teams, a breast cancer team and even teams like our Flying Dragons — Canada’s first team for individuals with an intellectual disability.

“All of our teams practice every week (weather dependent).”

In addition to holding its own festivals, her group also provides race management to dragon boat festivals across the Okanagan, she said.

“Our own festivals include the Okanagan Super Sprints and the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival. Our Super Sprints event is a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy and has raised nearly $40,000 to date. All funds raised go towards equipment and services for those people in our area who are affected by a neuromuscular disorder.”

This year will be the 19th annual Penticton Dragon Boat Festival. Proceeds go to Survivorship — the South Okanagan’s Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team.

“Approximately 80 teams (over 2,000 athletes) participate in 500-metre sprint races during our Sept. 6-8 festival. Teams come from all over B.C and we do have a handful of teams from Alberta. Dragon boat racing happens on 11-kilometre-long Skaha Lake,” she said.

For the Okanagan Super Sprints, there are two days of 250-metre sprint races: Day 1 is the Senior Sprints (55-plus teams only) and Day 2 is for all teams. The June 14-15 competition was the 12th year for the Okanagan Super Sprints and fourth year for the Senior Sprints

“This year, we had eight teams compete in the Senior Sprints and 18 teams on the following day of racing. Teams come mostly from around the Okanagan Valley. However, we do get a few teams from out of town, i.e. Vancouver and Trail,” said Carroll.

“Penticton teams do well there as well.”Results are posted at pentictondragonboat.com/events/past-results/

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