By Lesley Davies
Differt paddles for different boats. Photo Lesley Davies
Locally Victorians had their first look at dragon boating during the 1994 Commonwealth games. It all began as a demonstration race in the inner harbour during the opening ceremonies, the following year the first dragon boat festival was held in the harbour.
Fast forward to 2015 and the sport of dragon boating has grown tremendously at the Fairway Gorge paddling Club. The FGPC consists of 28 dragon boat teams and generally each team consists of 23 people. (20 paddlers, a drummer, and steer)
Photo Lesley Davies
At the FGPC, everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. From children to seniors, recreational or competitive and all points in between. To aid the journey each individual is professionally coached in the physical and mental aspects of learning and excelling at the sport. Inclusivity is also encouraged, the docks and gangway were built to be wheelchair/mobility device accessible. And locally we have teams with blind people, and the MS society also has a team. In some circumstances paddlers can be fitted with specialized seating to assist them in being able to maintain the correct posture to paddle.
So from the “greenhorn” events in the spring to festival season and beyond there are many opportunities to learn and participate. All you need is comfortable clothing and a willingness to learn and the rest will be provided.