Kangaroo Island dragon boat 'hat regatta' a resounding success

The Kangaroo Island Dragon Boat Club's statewide Hat Regatta attracted visitors from all over SA.

The event saw 76 competitors participate, including from Port Lincoln Blue Water Raiders, Dragons Abreast Port Lincoln, Adelaide Combined Dragons Club, Copper Coast, Subsonix Club, Victor Harbor Dragons, Black Sea Dragons and Adelaide Survivors Abreast.

They competed in nine races during the day in some strong SE winds and a very low tide on the waters of American River, Pelican Lagoon.

The festival atmosphere was embraced by all the competitors and many spectators. The event bought more than 150 people to American River injecting some well needed community support and excitement.

Entertainment with drumming by Sam Oshidi on the wharf added to the paddling spirit.

The races were all fun events with two races of 1.8 kms the competition was strong, with some State champion paddlers and our keen and enthusiastic breast cancer survivor's joining together in different teams each race.

The fun started on Friday afternoon when State coach Vi Duong held a training session attended by 50 paddlers.

Saturday's events also included a "Survivors KI" race where a paddle across the lagoon's entrance to Strawbridge Point, two people jumped from the boats to dig for the hidden treasure and race back to the finish line.

Copper Coast Club held a raffle and a fun lunch time a three-legged race where $800 was raised for the Bush-Fire relief funds on Kangaroo Island.

The fun continued with dressing up in crazy hats and crazy costumes bought out the best in the flare of the day.

On Saturday evening, the American River Community and Sports SHED catered for 90 and prizes were given.

A cheque from the Dragon Boat SA clubs was donated to the Kangaroo Island Dragon Boat Club of $2,600. This will be used to help the Western Districts sports club in the future.

Sunday we had a Tai Chi session on the oval and a morning paddle followed by a homemade cakes morning tea for the visiting clubs

KI club president Mary-Alice Swan said; "Everyone was thrilled with the whole event and continued to stay for a few days, contributing to the economy of Kangaroo Island. I am overwhelmed with the generosity and support of the dragon boat clubs towards our small club and community on Kangaroo Island".

Mary-Alice thanked all the KI Dragons Club members for their huge efforts to make this such a successful event, our community is resilient and special.

Thanks to all the sponsors: KI Electrical, American River Sports and Community Ass, American River Progress Association, Islander Estate Winery, American River General Store, Sam Oshidi, Sarah Strong-Law, Hats by Sam Parkinson, and the Victor Harbor Dragon Boat Club.