The Comox Valley’s first youth dragon boat team — Dragon Riders — began their racing season with a bronze in the Race the River 2013 dragon boat regatta.
Wearing their new team jerseys for the first time and holding their banner high in Campbell River on the Canada Day weekend, the team of 13- to 18-year-olds surprised seasoned racing teams with their speed and skill.
The youth team pounded across the finish line in the Mixed Final heat with a time of 2:01.3, just two seconds behind Port Hardy’s Na’max’sala team at 1:59.1 — taking third place overall in their division. The Spirit Point Dragons from Salt Spring Island were second in this final heat between the best four out of eight mixed teams.
With new team racing jerseys provided by the Comox Valley’s Investor’s Group Financial Services, Inc. and an anonymous individual supporter, the Dragon Riders proudly accepted the bronze commemorative paddle and individual trophy pins.
Mandy Baker of Investor’s group said, “We are extremely proud and grateful for the opportunity to be linked with the Dragon Riders and Prevailing Wins! We are proud to be a part of such a positive, inclusive, enriching sport like dragon boat racing. We believe in youth and the power of good sport and stand tall behind an environment that promotes values of fun, fairness and the pursuit of excellence.”
The Dragon Riders are grateful to their anonymous donor and their sponsors: Prevailing Wins dragon boat team, Investors Group Financial Services, and Lafarge North America.
In April, mentored and sponsored by the Comox Valley’s Prevailing Wins dragon boat team, Dragon Riders began their second year of training to race in competitions around Vancouver Island this summer.
There are still 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 ages 13 to 18, the inclusive team is trained by professional coach Bill Jay, mentored by highly experienced Prevailing Wins team members, including a fully certified tiller, Norm Flower. Everyone in this age group is invited — no need to qualify as an elite athlete.
Youth interested in becoming part of the Comox Valley’s first-ever 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 Carol Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-871-4229 or Leon Van Noorden at email@example.com or phone 250-339-5772.