Cora Nelson (with paddle)

Cora Nelson (with paddle)

Dragons return to Hardy Bay

PORT HARDY - Triport Dragon Boat Society host second annual regatta with visiting crews, even bigger party

PORT HARDY — The second annual Triport Dragon Boat Society Regatta was part competition, part fund-raiser and part party, with two visiting teams joining local paddlers for the daylong event Saturday at Rotary Park.

On the water, Prevailing Wins of Courtenay took the A final, avenging an earlier loss to Port Hardy’s Namaxsala crew. Prevailing Wins covered the 200-metre, straight-line course in 1 minute, 30.22 seconds with Namaxsala following in 1:31.25.

Earlier Namaxsala finished an unbeaten round-robin heat session by edging Prevailing Wins 1:30.59 to 1:31.12.

It was a fitting final matchup, as Namaxsala hosted the Courtenay squad for the weekend.

“They provided us with a tent and chairs and even brought us food,” said Karen Petersen, the Prevailing Wins drummer. “They were fantastic. For them to have done the work they did, you couldn’t ask for more.”

In response, the Prevailing Wins captain promised during the awards ceremony to reciprocate the hospitality to the Namaxsala paddlers at next season’s Comox Nautical Days event.

Namaxsala achieved a measure of revenge by winning the Tiller’s Challenge, a 700-metre, oval-course race, in 4:05.81.

In the B final, the closest of the day, the Warriors of Port Hardy/Port McNeill shaded Sointula’s Lucky Kharma 1:37.91 to 1:38.03.

In the C final, River Spirit of Campbell River beat its previous best heat time by nearly eight seconds to top the Dragon Slayers 1:34.82 to 1:39.69.

The day included kids games, a concession, music and other entertainment, and a beer garden. Before the awards were handed out, Triport Dragon Boat Society auctioned off 10 paddles, each hand-painted by local professional and amateur artists.

The auction raised $1,315 to benefit local youth in sports and the battered women’s shelter, including a $400 bid by Port McNeill’s Kathy Nelson for a paddle painted by Port Hardy teen Kimberly Kufaas.

“It’s a piece of art,” said Nelson, admiring a design in which Kufaas combined oriental and B.C. Aboriginal styling to depict a dragon with a long tail that extended the length of the paddle’s handle. “And it goes for a good cause.”

Other artists who contributed paddles included Mattae Bruner, Curtis Casson, Chabani Matilpi, Jacquelyn Biggs, Lucy Gray, Jan Rosgen, Lynda Biggs, Denise Peterson and Tim Alfred.