Moruya’s Nature Coast Dragon Boat Club has put out the call for interested locals to give the 2500-year-old sport of dragon boating a go.
The club, which was established in 2006, is encouraging anyone above the age of 12 to participate in a free five-week program.
New members will get to experience paddling, learn some techniques both on and off the water, as well as fitness training.
The only real fitness requirement is that you can swim 50 metres, otherwise you’ll have to wear a lifejacket.
Jodie Quinnell, one of the club’s founding members, says dragon boating is a fantastic sport for people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels.
“When I signed up, I’d never paddled before or had anything to do with the sport, but I wanted to try something different and experience Moruya River in a different way as I’d often walked along it but never really been on it,” she says.
The crew trains three times a week on the usually calm waters of the river, and Jodie says there’s little that can put them off.
“If there are white caps we will call it off, but other than that we’ll get out there in wind and cold,” she says.
At various times, the Nature Coast team will also do moonlight and sunrise paddles. Jodie says it’s particularly stunning out and about on the river at nighttime.
Some keen members will also undertake extra training sessions out on the water in a canoe or kayak during the week, however Jodie is keen to impress upon potential sign-ups that there’s a whole range of possibilities when it comes to getting involved.
The crew competes at regattas around the region – including in Canberra with its thriving dragon boating scene – but Jodie says this isn’t compulsory.
“Some of our members prefer the social aspect of it, and aren’t really fussed about the competition so they will just come down and train during the week,” she says.
“Then we have super competitive people who will go into the premier team when we head to regattas.”
The club has grown enormously from its humble beginnings as a passion project of just a few people. Now every financial year it has around 50 to 60 members, and owns three boats.
“We recently got a new boat which was the product of a lot of fundraising as well as hard work to secure a grant, so we sold our old tired one,” says Jodie.
“Now we have two 20-person boats called Yin and Yang, as well as Daisy which is our smaller, 10-person boat.”
Jodie adds that the club is particularly keen to encourage men to come along and have a go to even out its numbers.
The five-week program will commence on Sunday, 15 August at 8:30 am at Moruya boat ramp, next to Riverside Park. Numbers are limited so call Deb on 0402 239 104, or Jane on 0410 094 370.