Come and ride a Dragon Boat! That’s the challenge to Islanders from the Kangaroo Island Dragon Boat Club, based at American River

Dragons in American River: Practicing front shot. Photo: Daniel Clarke, Red Hot Docs.

Dragons in American River: Practicing front shot. Photo: Daniel Clarke, Red Hot Docs.

Get wet, get fit, have fun, get your paddle pants on and hop into a dragon boat! That’s the challenge to Islanders from the KI Dragon Boat Club.

Club president Mary-Alice Swan said, “It’s a fantastic sport and we do it throughout the year – we paddle in American River which is reasonably protected – up into the lagoon or out through the channel towards Island Beach.” 

The Club usually takes out two boats on a Sunday morning and runs practice races for fun, keeping the boats evenly matched with experienced and new paddlers, so all new paddlers get a chance for some one-on-one coaching.

Ms Swan said dragon boating was not a sport for “slackers”.

“While it’s different from kayaking, canoeing and rowing, anyone who enjoys those sports would easily take to dragon boating. I’d encourage anyone to have a go, especially those winter sports players looking for ways to keep fit through summer,” she said.

The team also has some outstanding young paddlers in-training and it won’t be long before they’re able to compete. Young paddlers need to be 12 years old to paddle in the boat.

Three die-hard club members flew to Port Lincoln for the day recently, to compete in a regional meet.

In March the team goes to Victor Harbor to compete in the Fleurieu Festival of Sports, and in October to Tasmania for the National Masters Championships.

“We won gold at the West Lakes regatta in Adelaide last year, and we plan to repeat that in Tasmania, so we’ll be training hard,” Mr Swan said.

“We’ve made some great friends with the paddlers from Victor Harbor, Copper Coast, Desert Dragons, Murray Bridge and Port Lincoln clubs”.

The season is well under way with regular training sessions on Wednesdays from 5.30pm and social training and ‘Come and Try’ sessions on Sundays from 8.30am, meeting at the American River Wharf.

If any school groups, sports groups or individuals want to ‘Come and Try’ on a Sunday, please contact the club on 0427 610 268. For information contact Pat Austin on 0424 199 987.