Prevailing Wins add youth element

The Prevailing Wins Dragon Boat Team launched an initiative last year to introduce dragon boat racing to youth.

TILLER NORM FLOWER (left) joins the 2013 Dragon Riders and coach Bill Jay in displaying their new logo and the banner that will take them into this summer's competitions.

Carol Sheehan

Contributor

Team Spirit. Friendships. Excitement. Competition.

This is the world of dragon boat competitive racing.

Combating the misconception that dragon boat teams are only for cancer survivors or senior jocks, the Prevailing Wins Dragon Boat Team launched an initiative last year to introduce dragon boat racing to youth. In short order, Prevailing Wins reached their goal when 18 teens arrived at Comox Marina for the first training session—and Dragon Riders was formed.

As the Comox Valley’s first competitive youth dragon boat team, Dragon Riders met their first challenge by entering the 2012 Comox Nautical Days dragon boat races — and soared beyond all expectations, winning their first race with ease.

Coming in second in their second race and scoring another first in their third, the team took second place overall in the mixed teams division.

The 2013 Dragon Riders have reformed to prepare for a new season of racing — and there are 10 to 12 openings for new team members. Training sessions begin at 4:15 p.m. every Monday at the Comox Marina.

Comprised of male and female youth aged 13 to 18, the inclusive team is trained by professional coach Bill Jay and mentored by highly experienced Prevailing Wins team members, including fully certified tiller Norm Flower.

Everyone in this age group is invited — no need to qualify as an elite athlete. Discover how you can be part of the fire in a dragon boat’s belly!

There is no charge for youth to participate in the weekly one-hour training sessions. Prevailing Wins provides the dragon boat, insurance, coaching and water safety instruction. Sponsors have funded team shirts, life jackets, and paddles.

The youth team will train throughout the summer with the expectation of participating in at least three competitions on Vancouver Island this summer. Dragon Riders is tailored to youth who want to learn paddling and have fun on the water.

Dragon Riders are grateful to their sponsors — Prevailing Wins dragon boat team, Investors Group, Canadian Tire, and Lafarge North America — who help them soar to unanticipated heights of excellence.

Youth interested in becoming part of the Comox Valley’s first dragon boat youth team — as well as individuals or corporations interested in becoming part of the Dragon Riders’ Sponsor a Paddle Initiative — may e-mail Dragon Riders co-ordinator Carol Berry at  bcdberry@shaw.ca or phone 250 871-4229 or Prevailing Wins captain Leon Van Noorden at pwyouth@hotmail.com and or phone 250 339-5772  to obtain the necessary waiver and safety documents.

— Prevailing Wins Dragon Boat Team

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