Dragonboaters Joy Zwicker

Dragonboaters Joy Zwicker

Locals to take national stage

A team of local Dragonboaters will compete in the Canadian Nationals after earning a spot with the Gorging Dragons.

A team of local Dragonboaters will compete in the Canadian Nationals later this month in Victoria after earning a spot with the Gorging Dragons.

The Triport Dragonboat Society set out in the fall of 2012 to establish a team of Triport paddlers to take part in the Nationals. As the scope of the challenge and the amount of training required became evident, some of the original members decided that competing in this year’s event was not realistic for them and withdrew.

A core group of Joy Zwicker, Sandra Logan, Shari Woodside, Irene Paterson, Marie Cheetham and Adele deWit pressed ahead with training for the event.

The remaining members had an uphill challenge to earn their berth. In order to qualify the remaining members of the original team had to compete for their seat by joining Vancouver Island Paddling and race in qualifying events as part of a VIP member team.

To be considered for a Nationals-bound team, the paddlers had to make trips to Victoria to compete in time trials.

The time trial events involved racing the clock over set distances in a single-person outrigger canoe, known as an OC1. Unfortunately, a lack of appropriate equipment available in the Triport area meant the hopefuls had to schedule regular trips to Victoria in order to train.

A successful fundraising campaign was put in motion, asking local businesses to contribute towards the push for the Nationals.

Originally, the intention was to use the funds generated to offset the costs of jerseys, equipment and regatta fees. But, after receiving donations from GDF Suez, Lemare Lake Logging, Port Hardy Bulldozing, Parr’s Construction and AON Insurance, the paddlers come up with a different plan for the funds.

After consultation with the businesses and the Triport Dragonboat Society, it was agreed to direct the monies to the purchase of an OC2 or two-person outrigger canoe to assist in training efforts.

The new equipment proved instrumental in the preparations of the local paddlers, all six of whom qualified for the event after the July 21 time trials.

In addition, the equipment will provide a foundation for training for the next batch of hopefuls from the Triport area.

The Canadian Nationals are held annually, and locals will have ongoing opportunities to compete through Vancouver Island Paddling.