Port Hardy's Tsunamis took part in last year's Triport Dragonboat Society regatta on the waterfront in Port Hardy.

Port Hardy's Tsunamis took part in last year's Triport Dragonboat Society regatta on the waterfront in Port Hardy.

Dragonboat registration opens on the North Island

PORT HARDY — With the 2011 season about to start, the Triport Dragonboat Society is seeking paddlers interested in either recreational or competitive opportunities in the increasingly popular sport. Early-bird registration is under way and will continue through the end of March for spots in one of the society's three boats, in Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Sointula.

PORT HARDY — With the 2011 season about to start, the Triport Dragonboat Society is seeking paddlers interested in either recreational or competitive opportunities in the increasingly popular sport.

Early-bird registration is under way and will continue through the end of March for spots in one of the society’s three boats, in Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Sointula.

The fee is $150 per person for two practices per week, and covers the duration of the season from April through September. For one practice per week the cost is $100. After Mar. 31 the fee will increase $25.

Special senior (60-over) and youth (13-18 years) rates apply for registration of full teams, which are 20-22 paddlers per boat. That team cost is $1,000 for the season.

Triport Dragonboat Society provides the boats, paddles and safety training. New members will need to provide their own personal flotation device, footwear and clothing appropriate for a wet environment.

Registration forms may be picked up in Port Hardy at Irene Paterson and Associates, Cafe Guido and the Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Centre; in Port McNeill at Gus’s Bar and Grill and Progressive Diesel; and in Sointula at the Post Office.

Various practice times throughout the week and weekend will be available, said Irene Paterson of the society’s executive board.

“We try to work around people’s schedules as much as possible,” Paterson said. “If people are concerned about getting a practice time that works for them, they can fill out a form and bring it in with their preferences, then pay when they get placed with a team.

“The sooner people are registered, the sooner teams can let the scheduler know their preferred practice times.”

Spots are also available for those interested in the sport who may be unable or unwilling to paddle, including coaching and helming the boats.

The society, which began with the arrival of its first boat in late 2007, has been expanding since.

Last season, several teams competed in regattas in Nanaimo, Victoria, Comox and Port Alberni, and the society capped its year by hosting its first regatta before a sizable crowd on the waterfront at Rotary Park in Port Hardy.

Paterson said the local regatta will return this season, the weekend of Sept. 10, and that teams from down-Island will be invited to take part.

For more info, email triportdragonboat@gmail.com.