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Editions

Channel your inner dragon

25 Oct 2016

Channel your inner dragon Image

Dragon boat paddling was once seen as a novelty event only in Melbourne’s Moomba Festival on the Yarra River, but now it’s a thriving and growing sport in Australia. 

Originally from China and popular in all Asian countries, the sport is now worldwide with just as many competitions and teams in Western countries as there are in Asia.

In Victoria the local association now has 22 teams with 700 members right across the state – with six of those teams based at the purpose-built Community Hub here in Docklands. 

The Southern Storm Paddle Club was formed in March 2012 by a handful of members from other clubs to create the sixth Melbourne club with the aims of fun, fitness and friendship at the core. In just a couple of years the club has become a strong competitor at state and national level and has also travelled overseas to compete in China.

Teams compete against each other in various categories including men, woman, mixed, masters and junior divisions.

Spokesperson Mal Bowker said: “We are a very inclusive mixed team. We have had up to 60 members at one time with an age range spanning 30 years and 20 different nationalities from right across the world.”

“It’s very reflective of the makeup of Melbourne. And dragon boating truly is a team sport where 20 people in a boat have to do exactly the same thing at the same time or it just doesn’t work.”  

But in this sport, as in life in general, at the end of the season people move on or travel and each year the teams look to rebuild, strengthen and train hard for the next season of competition. 

The 2016-17 racing season is just underway with regional competitions around the state. 

“We hold monthly ‘team try-out’ days at Docklands where you get to experience dragon boat paddling to see if it’s your new sport!” Mr Bowker said. 

“Our next try-out day is Saturday, November 5 at 10.45am at the Community Boat Hub next door to the Library at Dock. People may think that you need strong arms to paddle but that’s for canoe and kayak. Dragon Boating is more a body movement like rowing and requires more core strength and flexibility and, oh, a good attitude!” 

Melbourne Docklands will again host the Victorian State Championships for dragon boating in March 2017 and the Australian Championships will be in Albury-Wodonga in April. To register for the free try-out day or for more information go to www.southernstorm.com.au

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