By Sarah MacMillan
Kamloops This Week
The B.C. Seniors games being held in Kamloops means a first for the city.
“It will be the first time there will ever have been a dragon boat festival in Kamloops,” said Phil Maher, first vice of zone eight for the B.C. Seniors games and member of the Kamloops Dragon Boat Club.
Maher says that Dragon Boat Racing is becoming more popular because it’s a sport that people of all ages can participate in.
“It’s the kind of sport where you don’t have to run, you don’t have to have good hand eye coordination,” said Maher. “And it discourages you from being a superstar because the team has to blend together.”
A dragon boat is a long boat, usually multi coloured, sporting a dragon head and tail on race days, which seats 22. On the boat sits 20 paddlers, a drummer who gets his beat from the strokes, and a steersperson who steers the boat.
In the first seat of the dragon boat is the stroke person, and this is the person who sets the stroke rate for everyone else.
Races are usually 500 meters in length and at the games, there are an unlimited number of teams per zone who can participate.
Maher began dragon boating when he began having trouble getting people to go white water canoeing with him. That’s when Maher discovered dragon boating.
“It’s great. It’s a great way to get some exercise, it’s a great team sport, and it’s a great way to meet new people.”
Maher stresses that dragon boating is both a physical and mental sport.
“It’s a core body exercise,” said Maher. “Your stroke incorporates your core.”
Dragon boating is also a mental sport because each team member must follow the rate set by the stroke person.
“It’s being a team and working as one unit,” said Hellen Byron, B.C. Seniors games Zone eight Dragon boating co-ordinator. Byron has been dragon boating in Salmon Arm since it started there.
As the 2013 B.C senior games held in Kamloops will be the first time a dragon boat festival will be held within the city, Maher said the venue is still unknown.
For more information about dragon boating in Kamloops please contact Phil Maher at 250-371-1860.
For more information regarding dragon boating in zone eight for the B.C. Seniors games please contact sport co-ordinator Hellen Byron at 250-832-3372, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the B.C. Seniors games website- www.bcseniorsgames.org.