One side of our operation that we don’t really spend a lot of time talking about is our fantastic Dragon Boat teams! With the Concord Pacific DB Festival coming up on 17-19 June we thought it would be great to catch up with a couple of paddlers from the Deep Cove Wave Crashers, and see what being in a Dragon Boat team is really like!
Deep Cove Kayak: Thanks for making the time to meet with me, why don’t you tell me a bit about the history of the team and how you got involved?
Deep Cove Wave Crashers: The team has been going for close to 20 years now – Chris Graham, a former Team Canada paddler, started the team as Catch 22 in 1999. It has always been comprised of local paddlers, and been based in Deep Cove. We both started paddling because of friends, and have been paddling for 12 years now!
DCK: Who is your coach now?
Deep Cove Wave Crashers: Pam Cornell-Watts is our coach and she is amazing – she paddles 6 days a week and is so strong. She works us hard but is incredibly supportive too.
DCK: So give me the basics of dragon boating – I’ve never done it so I’m a complete newbie!
Deep Cove Wave Crashers:Well we have 29 paddlers, a steersperson, a caller and a coach. Of those, only 20 people actually form the race team so it can get quite competitive. We usually average 24 paddlers through the season. Positions in the boat are determined by needing a good balance – you need tall and strong people in the middle and then the boat needs to be balanced around them.
DCK: And throughout the year you take part in competitions around the province, right?
Deep Cove Wave Crashers:Yes – we go to Dragon Boat Festivals in Steveston, False Creek, Victoria and Harrison. Our favourite would probably be Steveston – the organisation is phenomenal!
DCK: What about your team members – who can join?
Deep Cove Wave Crashers:I think our members range in age from 40-70 so there’s a lot of experience there – but we welcome new members who have never been paddling too. There is a great ‘Learn to Paddle’ course which is Dragon Boat specific which you can take in False Creek – it is really helpful for new members to learn the right technique.
DCK: You guys paddle through the summer – what do you do outside of paddling and through the winter?
Deep Cove Wave Crashers: Yes – we start in March and train once a week through to September, then in the winter we stick to indoors but a number of the team snowshoe and ski. Our members are really active volunteers too – we have helped out at the food bank, and two of our nurses have been to Haiti. Community is really close to our hearts so we try and get involved where we can.
DCK: Thanks so much Deep Cove Wave Crashers – best of luck for a successful season. See you on the water!