Becoming a dragon boat paddler on a women’s team is one of the best things that ever happened to me.
In September 2008 my husband and I made the decision to move to the West Coast to be close to his son and hopefully grandchildren in the future. On one of our visits to Vancouver we did a day trip to the Sunshine Coast and immediately fell in love with the environment. Lush, green, ocean, sand – the vibe was good, and we could see ourselves living there.
After a few months of settling in and getting adjusted to the climate, I was beginning to feel lonely. I missed my friends and family in Ontario. I read the Coast Reporter every week looking for opportunities to become more active in the community and spotted an ad for the Sunshine Coast Dragon Boat Club. They were holding an information meeting for anyone interested in learning more about the sport. I will never forget that night; the room was crowded, the coaches energetic and full of enthusiasm as they talked about dragon boating. I was completely sold when the coach of the beginners’ team started talking about how to dress. At the time we didn’t know she was wearing many layers and she began to strip, explaining as she removed each layer how the clothes corresponded to the time of year for paddling. There was so much laughter in the room! I loved it and knew I was signing up that night.
I had never been on a women’s team for any kind of activity but could sense that being on a dragon boat with 20 other women would be fun, and if I were lucky, maybe I could connect with a few of the women and make new friends. Years later, I am still a member and now coach the women’s team.
I have heard so many versions of my story. Here are some comments about dragon boating from other women in the club: I joined to get in shape and ended up with 20 amazing friends; being with a group of strong, like-minded women of all ages, shapes and backgrounds is unlike anything I have experienced before; especially great for those of us living alone; we feel free to joke about things that only women would understand; one of the best things for mental and physical health, you can be grumpy from a challenging day and the moment you get on the boat it all melts away; anyone can succeed in this sport with the encouragement of your fellow paddlers; it has changed my life, I have more self-esteem and confidence; and I love the whole body workout and the mental endurance as we push and encourage each other.
How lucky we are to experience front-row seats to the fabulous scenery of Porpoise Bay– watching the eagles, seals, and jellyfish from the boat and exercising outdoors all year round with friends. The serene glide over smooth waters brings peace and a sense of well-being. When waves rock the boat, we feel exhilarated and confident as a team.
If you are interested in dragon boating, call coaches Raymonde Worsfold 604-989-3658 or Edna Naylor at 604-741-5143.