Come and Try ... dragon boating with Vicki's Pride Dragon Boat Club

Karen McKerlie invites you to come and try dragon boating in Murray Bridge.

Is your business interested in promoting fitness and wellbeing in the Murraylands? Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this regular feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email murraybridgenews@gmail.com.

Water is gently lapping at a boat ramp, the sky is overcast, and the sound of birdsong is only partly drowned out by the growl of a distant generator.

Then comes a call: “number off!”

“One”, “two”, “three”, “four”, “five”, “six”, “seven in the boat” come the replies.

A long boat is half-filled with women and men in brightly coloured life jackets: members of Vicki’s Pride Dragon Boat Club, preparing to head out for one of their twice-weekly paddles.

A few more members are missing on this particular Saturday, off competing at Wallaroo.

That’s the way dragon boating works, Karen McKerlie explains.

Those who want to go far in the sport can travel to Adelaide and beyond, even overseas, to race in teams of up to 21, complete with a drummer beating in time with the stroke of the oars.

But those who just like to get out on the river can stick to more laid-back outings.

When did you first start dragon boating?

I started with a cancer group originally, about eight years ago. Then ... a group of us, eight of us, decided we’d start a club up for everyone, not just specific to cancer. A local girl, Vicki Nottage, who used to compete in dragon boating and lost her fight with cancer – it was her vision to have a boat for Murray Bridge.

What do you get out of it?

It’s a great sport in that anyone of any ability can do it. It’s very inclusive. Our motto is “fun, fitness and friendship”. That’s what we strive for – we like to be social.

What has been the highlight of your dragon boating career so far?

We did a 55-K paddle down the Ord (River) at Kununurra – there was a sense of achievement from doing that.

How is your season going?

Dragon boating is normally from October to April. Dragon Boat SA have a calendar of events we can participate in. But we don’t go in that many races – we’re more of a social group. Having said that, though, some join in with other groups. We’ve only got back on the water in the last month.

What do you hope to achieve as a dragon boater?

(It’s) the friendships you form, working together to achieve your fitness goals.

Why should people come and try dragon boating?

It’s a great sport, really good for overall fitness, core fitness, all-body fitness. It’s a great team sport, and great friendships are made doing it. There’s a lot of opportunities to compete if you want to compete – you can go all over the world. Or you can just have a social, fun paddle.

Is your business interested in promoting fitness and wellbeing in the Murraylands? Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this regular feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email murraybridgenews@gmail.com.

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