Tweed River dragon battle
A FLOTILLA of dragon boats and crew members will hit the water at Condong second boat ramp this Sunday.
Mt Warning Dragon Boat Club will host its annual festival which is one of its biggest sporting events of the year and is fast becoming a serious destination for paddlers.
The event, in only its second year, has doubled its entries, drawing a field of 22 teams opposed to 10 last year, with participants coming from a variety of areas as far afield as Grafton and Brisbane.
Club president Chris Lonie said it was encouraging to have so many more people involved this year.
“We even have two junior teams competing this year, which will make it a hot contest between Mt St Patrick and Grafton, who competed at the national championships in Adelaide,” Lonie said.
“There are also teams from Murwillumbah Hospital, Tweed Shire Council, Murwillumbah Gym, JH Williams, Twin City Hire, Tweed Valley Four-Wheel-Drive Club and two corporate teams from Brisbane, among many others.”
In preparation for the event, the club has hosted two training days to the assist with paddling technique.
Each team will be put to the test in three 200m races, including two heats and a final.
The sport is quite a physical challenge when logistics are taken into account. There are 20 paddlers, a sweep and a drummer powering a 12m-long boat weighing 250-300kg (not including the weight of paddlers).
Competing crews have been charged an entry fee to cover insurance but also, and most importantly, to raise funds to assist with the purchase of new training equipment, running and promotion of the club.
This year has been a buoyant year for the club which had six paddlers compete at last month’s national championships in Adelaide.
The team of six includes Jacqui Turner, Shauna Hughes, Brenda Cumming-Thom, Norma Robertson, Dougal Cumming-Thom and Chris Lonie.
They were awarded silver in three categories, 500m premier women, great grand masters and grand masters categories.
Lonie said club membership is open and hoped more men would join.
“We would like to be able to build up enough numbers so each age category can have their own team,” she said.
“It would be great if more men would come along, because at the moment we only have five male paddlers.”
Lonie said everybody was welcome to come down and have a look from the water’s edge.
Competition starts at 9am.