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Dragon boats hitting Kamloops waters this week

Members of the Kamloops Dragon Boat Club on the water.
Image Credit: Contributed
April 05, 2016 - 11:36 AM

KAMLOOPS - The dragons are about to be let loose on Kamloops.

The Kamloops Dragon Boat Club will be hitting the water later this week and that means locals will soon see boats of 20 people paddling furiously through the river near Pioneer Park.

“The boats themselves seat 20 people including a drummer and steerperson,” club member and volunteer Ben Chobater says. “When all 20 people are rowing you can actually feel the front end start to lift out of the water.

Chobater, who has been with the club for eight years, says the season starts this week with a sign up session on April 6. He notes the club organizes teams and training sessions and helps organize the annual Kamloops Dragon Boat Festival as well.

The festival is introducing a new competition this year, with corporate races pitting businesses and organizations against each other. Chobater says the club will supply the boat for any organization which can put together a team of 20 people. He says the club is already talking to the City of Kamloops about signing up one or two teams and the Royal Inland Hospital about another team.

The festival will also have a youth component, he says, through a partnership with School District 73.

The club is the umbrella organization for dragon boat activities in the city, Chobater says, with some some teams coordinating with the club, but operating on their own, like the Spirit Warriors — a team of breast cancer survivors. He says there’s another team just starting up for people 55+ as well.

The club is always looking for new participants and right now the club is hoping for a few more men because there are currently three women to each guy. The club is working with the city to introduce people to the sport with training sessions in April and May, he says, with the May session already filling up.

“It’s one of the best bangs for the recreation dollar here in Kamloops,” he says. “Every last inch of you get’s a work out.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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