Groups of enthusiastic paddlers, clad in neon-pink-and-green shirts docked at Skaha Lake for the 14th annual Penticton Dragon Boat Festival happening Sept. 6 and 7.
Lynn Allin and Bre Symchuck of the Penticton Dragon Bottoms, who had just finished a race, commented on the event and how they became involved in the sport.
“It was amazing,” said Allin. “The water was beautiful, the start was great and the wind wasn’t too bad.”
Symchuck said it’s difficult to know how much the wind will affect paddling, but she said it really wasn’t a factor for their team.
Allin got into the dragon boat racing when she was attending the festival five years ago.
“I was walking around and looking for Penticton teams along the shore,” she said. “For some reason, it really captured my interest level.”
Symchuck joined the team after talking to Allin about the health benefits and the social aspect of the sport.
“I think it’s really nice to workout with a team and to be on the open water with your teammates,” said Allin, who noted that a highlight for their team was winning a gold medal in an international dragon boat race in Las Vegas.
Their coach is Don Mulhall, who is also the organizer of the two-day event.
“He is dedicated to making us better, but he’s also entertaining and he keeps us interested in what he’s saying,” said Allin.
“It’s a lot of fun and what I like is the group element and being a part of the team atmosphere,” said Symchuck. “It’s really worth the effort, and the support you get from others is really motivating.”
Mulhall estimated 2,300 paddlers along with 73 teams were participating, with teams coming from throughout the B.C. Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Racing happens Sunday from 8 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m.
For more information visit www.pentictondragonboat.com.