The Skaha Underdogs enjoy a smooth sail in the summer of 2018. (Don Mulhall photo)

Upcoming opportunities for dragon boat paddling in Penticton

Beginners can learn the ropes of the sport, compete in Okanagan Super Sprints

In advance of the upcoming dragon boat season, the Penticton dragon boat community is inviting those interested to participate in indoor training and racing opportunities.

“A dragon boat is approximately 45 feet long, four feet wide and weighs approximately 850 pounds. Dragon boats are raced with 20 paddlers, seated in 10 rows, with a drummer seated at the front and a steer-person at the back,” said Don Mulhall, race director for the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival, in a news release.

For beginners, the Intro to Dragon Boat program offered through the Penticton Community Centre and “teaches new paddlers everything they need to know about training and racing in a dragon boat, and culminates with racing at the Okanagan Super Sprints” on June 15.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Age is just a number for B.C. dragon boat champions

“Another way to get your feet wet would be to attend two free Come Try Dragon Boat intro sessions on May 18 and June 1,” said Mulhall.

“The sport of dragon boating is easy to learn, for men and women of all ages, and your level of training determines the level at which you may want to race.”

Those looking to join up with a local dragon boat team can find a place within the seniors’ teams, co-ed teams, women’s teams, or the breast cancer survivor team. Most teams train one to two nights per week on Skaha Lake and many are signed up to also compete in the Okanagan Super Sprints.

Mulhall said the annual Penticton Dragon Boat Festival will also be taking place on Sept. 7 and 8.

Many local teams plan to compete in these two local events and then choose which dragon boat festivals they want to compete in elsewhere.

READ ALSO: Smooth sailing for day one of Penticton Dragon Boat Festival

“The Penticton Dragon Boat Festival is the second largest festival in B.C., behind the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival which is one of the biggest in North America. Each year, the PDBF attracts 80 teams and approximately 2,000 athletes for a two-day event on Skaha Lake,” said Mulhall. “The festival site includes vendors, food and a beverage garden.

“The 500-metre sprint races are held directly off the sandy beach, with a new race starting approximately every 10 minutes. There are some 80 races over the two-day event.”

Those looking for more information about dragon boat paddling and the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival can contact Don Mulhall at or call 450-488-3100.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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