The 15th Penticton Dragon Boat Festival was beyond great last weekend.
“I don’t think it would just be our race management people that would say this, but I think the general consensus was that this was one of our best,” said organizer Don Mulhall. “Everything went like clock work.”
The event attracted 82 teams, up nine from the year before, and paddlers had the benefit of near perfect weather with sunny skies and just a bit of wind. Mulhall said the northerly wind made it a slight challenge to line up boats, but everything worked out.
Among the winning teams was the Draggin’ Divas from Pitt Meadows, beating out Water Warriors by a second in the Jade Division. The Draggin’ Divas were excited about their victory.
“We have come a long ways in our division. We started as a recreational team (four years ago),” said Lorella Zanetti, adding that in their first year they didn’t perform well and a new coach has done wonders.
Zanetti said this is their fourth year competing in the festival and they love it.
“We love Penticton. As an area we love the race. They are well organized,” she said, adding that they celebrated their victory in the beverage gardens. “We have a good time. There are lots of vendors, lots to do and the music is fantastic. We also love to dance. Last year we created a bit of a flashmob on the beach. I think we have a bit of a reputation for dancing.”
Bill Leboe, a member of the Harrison Dragon Boat Club, said the weekend was awesome.
“This is one of the greatest venues there is,” he said, adding his team ended up in the mixed diamond division, not where they expected. “We had good times.”
Leboe, who has competed in the festival nine times, said all the teams have been phenomenal.
“All the races we have done have been pretty close, within half a second across the finish line,” he said. “This is the event where you come and try to show off.”
What Leboe also loves about the festival are the friends made. He enjoys walking around the grounds and visiting the people he has raced.
“Just the competition, the spirit here is unbelievable,” he added.
Among the highlights for Mulhall were Penticton’s Despirit Housewives making it to Platinum A final, Peach City Dragons winning Top Okanagan Team trophy, giving them the privilege to drink out of the cup, the Flying Dragons (team for individuals with a developmental disability) posted a best time in exhibition on Saturday. Another is the quality of teams that came. When asked if it’s important to attract more quality teams than numbers, Mulhall said he feels it’s a combination of both.
“I think we’re proud and happy to attract the faster teams, the stronger teams. It speaks to the level of competition,” he said. “But we’re also happy to attract teams from all over because it’s a pretty good festival. Teams just love it. Great time of year. Season-ending and a fun atmosphere.”
Breast Cancer Challenge — Survivorship (Penticton), first, North Shore Dragon Busters, second, Breast Friends Dragon Boat Team, third
Breast Cancer Consolation — Abreast in the Rockies, first, North Breast Passage, Kamloops Spirit Warriors
Women’s Platium A — Nusa’Lon Dragons, first, CDBC Yahoo Angels, Creakside, Despirit Housewives (Penticton)
Women’s Platinum B — FLCC Fast & Furious, first, KDBC Dragon in the Drink, Dragonfire
Women’s Diamond A — Black Lashies, first, FLCC Fort Fury, KRD Sisters in Sync, Dragon Bottoms (Penticton)
Women’s Diamond B — EDBRC Washine Kei Waka, first, SDBA Chawanda, Seventh Wave
Women’s Jade A — Draggin’ Divas, first, Water Warriors, North Shore Dragon Busters, Survivorship (Penticton)
Women’s Jade B — 22 in Sync (Penticton), first, The Spitfires, FVBDC Seraphins
Women’s Gold A — FLCC Dragon Alliance, first, Valley Vixens, Paddlemonium (Penticton)
Women’s Gold B — Deep Cove Perfect Catch, first, Hidden Dragons Crouching Cougars (Penticton), Women on Fire
Women’s Silver Final A — Dragonflies, first, Sunshine Dragons Abreast, Bust N Loose
Women’s Silver Final B — Vernon Dragon Riders, first, Kamloops Spirit Warriors, Abreast in a Boat
Women’s Brownze Final A — N’kmapqs, first, Abreast in the Rockies, Spirit Abreast
Mixed Platinum A — CDBC Crew Yahoo, first, FGPC United Mixed, second, Sudden Impact Black, third
Mixed Platinum B — TDBC Driftwood, first, Rice is Right, Navy Dragon Anchors
Mixed Diamond A — Save on Foods Dragonslayers, first, QF Blu By U, FVDBC Club Team
Mixed Diamond B — Peach City Dragons (Penticton), first, Dragon Hybrids, KDBC Blazing Paddlers, Red Eyes Paddling Club
Mixed Jade Final A — O’kai I’kick U’as (Penticton), first, TCC Dragoneers, Thunderstrokers
Mixed Jade B — KDBC High Frequency, first, Draggin’ Riders, GT Racers
Mixed Gold A — Tsunami, first, Dogwood Nothin’ Dragon, Extreme Currents
Mixed Gold B — CBC Wave Catchers, first, Dr’agonize, Cultus Blue
Mixed Gold C — Mackenzie Mussels, first, Dam Survivors, OCC Dragon Sight