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Dragon boaters recruiting

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The Pemberton Spirit women’s dragon boat racing team has found itself short a couple of paddlers this season, and is looking for a few adventurous replacements.

"This is kind of a rebuilding year for the team this year," said Cathy MacLean, a paddler who is helping the Spirit’s recruitment drive. "It’s a really fun sport, and we’re a pretty fun team. We’re looking to fill a few seats."

The team competes in three events every year: The Rip Up the River in Richmond; the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver, and the Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival, which the Pemberton Spirit has won two out of the last three years.

About a dozen new paddlers are needed. While experience is an asset it’s not a requirement for joining the team. There will be a coach to help.

Training will start in March with practices in Pemberton on Wednesdays and Saturdays lasting up to an hour and a half.

Although the races are short, they are intense.

Dragon Boat racing is a 3,000 year old sport that originated in China. The boats are propelled with ordinary canoe paddles and between 18 and 22 paddlers. The pace is set by the drummer, and a coxswain steers the boat.

The races themselves are often part of larger festivals, and although most teams enjoy the thrill of competition, the atmosphere is friendly and supportive.

Races are also good workouts, with teams paddling up to 75 times in a minute for approximately two and a half minutes.

If you are interested in joining the team, they will be having a meeting in the next few weeks to work out the details for this season. New rowers are welcome from Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton.

For more information, contact Catch MacLean at 604-932-4412, Meg Gallop at 604-894-5035, or Shawn Wallace at 604-894-5481.

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