Students from Yiling Middle School, China, enjoying a paddle with Hervey Bay Dragon Boat Club members to welcome in the Chinese New Year.
Students from Yiling Middle School, China, enjoying a paddle with Hervey Bay Dragon Boat Club members to welcome in the Chinese New Year. Contributed

DRAGON BOATS: Club buys new equipment thanks to grant

TWELVE Chinese students, who attended Fraser Coast Anglican College on an exchange program, joined the Hervey Bay Dragon Boat Club for a paddle to begin the Chinese New Year.

Two boats were seen on the water and, of course, there just had to be a race with students in both boats and some seasoned, competitive paddlers scattered among them.

Congratulations to the students for trying something different.

Everyone was a winner that day.

Several members of the Hervey Bay team joined Cooloola paddlers to form a Wide Bay team at the Brisbane River Dragons Regatta held at Kawana.

It's always exciting, win, lose or draw, to catch up with friends and meet new paddlers.

Our junior, Lukas Taranto, gained valuable experience paddling with the Queensland Sonics squad.

The club was successful in applying for, and receiving, a grant from the Queensland Government Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

This enabled the club to buy and outfit a new container to house much needed equipment, get an erg machine for training, a cox box to enable the sweep to be heard over the wind and water and replace the life jackets.

Our stand at the Fraser Coast Sports Expo was popular.

People who had never heard of dragon boating were curious about the ancient sport and its challengers, with many keen to give it a try.

The erg machine was in demand as members of the public tried to out-paddle each other.

It was great to meet so many interested people.

When I think back to my first day on the dragon boat, I recall exactly how I felt.

The team I joined did an on-water warm up that lasted exactly two and a half minutes.

I thought I was going to die.

My arms were killing me, (because let's face it, almost no one knows how to use their core or leg drive to paddle on the very first day).

I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest.

By the end of the warm up, I was sweating buckets.

I'd clanked paddles about a million times with the paddlers in front and behind me, and I thought my arms might literally fall off.

My first thought when the warm up ended was, 'people do this for fun!?'

Little did I know this crazy sport would take me on a wonderful journey of personal and athletic growth, increased confidence, exciting travel and fabulous friendships.

If you want to give dragon boating a try, come down to the Marina at 6.30am any Sunday, and join the development boat.

The friendly team will soon put you at ease.

You can have three paddles to decide if this is for you.

Bring a hat, sunscreen, water and wear clothes that you don't mind getting wet - no thongs.

Everything else is provided.

Afterwards, join the team at the Boat Club cafe for coffee.

For information, phone the secretary on 0490 420 150 or email herveybaydragon