Dragon Boat Festival 2023 happened on Saturday (Sept. 16) at the Comox Marina Park. Thirty teams registered from across Vancouver Island, as well as neighbouring islands.
The Festival was put on by VI Paddling in partnership with the Town of Comox.
Ideal conditions helped provide fans with a spectacular day of racing.
“We got great weather for racing, and the paddlers really delivered some exciting action,” said VI Paddling president Tom Arnold. “For example, in the final two races combined, the top three women’s standard dragon boat teams were separated by a mere two-tenths of a second.”
Ladysmith Dragon Boat Team and VIP Team Wild from Victoria raced to a dead heat, both finishing in 2:09.8, with Fly Dragons Fly from Comox posting a time 2:10.0, for third place.
The Navy Dragon Anchors from Victoria finished first in the Mixed Standard Boat division with a time of 1:49.8 - five seconds clear of the Dragon Riders, Comox’s youth dragon boat team.
The Spirit Point Dragons of Salt Spring Island rounded out the top three with a time of 1:55.1.
A pair of Nanaimo teams to took the top two finishes in the Women’s Small Boat division.
Nusa’Lon Dragons won in a time of 2:11:7, followed by the Nanaimo Dragon Slayers, at 2:19.0
Comox’s own Hope Afloat Canada (a breast cancer survivors team) placed third with a time of 2:25.3
Victoria teams took the top two spots in the Mixed Small Boat Division, in another very tight three-way race.
The Navy Dragon Anchors were first to cross the finish line, with a time of 2:04:7, a scant 1.2 seconds quicker than their Victoria rivals, VIP Smoke on the Water.
The Dragon Slayers from Port McNeill placed third, with a time of 2:07.9.
The Spirit Award, honouring the team that showed the most soul, spirit and enthusiasm at the event, went to the
River Spirit Dragon Boat Team from Campbell River.
“Vancouver Island is such a great place for water sports and, at VI Paddling, we were excited to work with the Town of Comox to build this new showcase event for dragon boating in beautiful Marine Park. We can’t wait to do it again next year.”
”Congratulations on a successful event,” said Comox Mayor Nicole Minions. “We are extremely thrilled to have this event in our community.”