Kalamalka Lake is a bee-you-ti-ful site for the inaugural Vernon Dragon
Boat Festival. I went barefoot in the sand for most of the day, and I
was helping load and unload team from the beach. Every now and then I
got to steer, drum or paddle for a team.
Saturday morning was beautiful sunshine – very appreciated after the
rainstorm on Friday. I drove in Friday night, found the race organizers
and volunteered my services – they are the Alberta Dragon Boat Race
Foundation – an Alberta equivalent to Water's Edge or Foundation 2000.
Turns out I will be meeting them in San Francisco for combined Men's
and Women's teams… very cool!
Calgary's Dynasty boats were used. I met the developer Gary – He
explained that compared to Gemini dragon boats – teams have more rooms per
seat and it helps to maximize a team's reach and potential. The deeper
gunwale is good for rough weather – as Saturday morning the wind blew
up and the race organizers sent the teams out in white caps.
Kelowna and Penticton races have postponed races due to whitecaps. But
give the teams credit for rising up to the challenge. Before the first
race was called, the wicked wave action knocked one drummer into the
water. And another team came in and exchanged their steers for the
services of the race director himself. This first set of morning races
were technically “Orientation Races.” Timed races took place in the
afternoon, and they set up the seeding for Sunday.
Pacific Reach was the only team up from Vancouver (I didn't have enough
paddlers to run a Gung Haggis Fat Choy team – but one of our paddlers
joined a local Vernon women's team, and she is thrilled with this
race). Magic Dragons came from Calgary as a conglomerate of Calgary
team.s Just Add
Water was the top Kelowna team, Desert Spirit travelled the length of
the Okanagan Valley from Osoyoos, and Extreme Current came from
Top teams were:
1. Pacific Reach (Vancouver)
2. Extreme Current (Kamloops)
3. Magic Dragons (Calgary)
4. 100% Juiced sponsored by Sun-Rype (Kelowna).
Top Women's teams were:
Extreme Curves (Kamloops)
Just Add Water
A cup was awarded to the overall best team –
no surprise – Pacific Reach.
After the finals – there was a FUN race! All top fastest 4 times… and
everybody was agreeing to stacking a team to beat Pacific Reach… PR
said “Bring it on!” Ended up being Kamloop's Extreme Current with some
paddlers from Magic Dragons + me as drummer.
A water skier was pulled up by the Pacific Reach dragon boat team. They
pulled an adult female for about 250m, to the approving roar of the
audience from the beach and dock.
I will definitely be back for next year!