I started as an older age paddler (48+) in the sport of Dragon Boating and I’m pleased to say it’s been a wonderful experience. I had been a competitive sportsperson my whole life across a range of sports and was still looking to keep up that sporting interest. However, years of toll on the old knees had started to tell and so to find a sport I could do seated was a bonus. I started as a true novice and thought that Dragon Boating would at least keep me active. Little did I know it would lead to more competition.
I found Dragon boating to be ultra competitive. At club level we were striving to be the best. The sport offers State representative opportunities and I soon found myself wanting to achieve more. My competitive spirit was being aroused once again and club racing was a challenge to be met. To be competing again was great. I also found out that many older paddlers were competing at an age well above my own and I was inspired by these paddlers who were in great shape, and not just for their age.
Representative opportunity again came up with the Australian Aurora’s seeking members and all that was required was hard work, strength and fitness levels that were out there and a passion to compete. I had all these and so started a few more years of hard work. Racing at this level means travelling to race, Hong Kong, USA, Hungary, Italy, Singapore and some I didn’t get to.
I didn’t originally start with DSA but I joined for a few reasons. DSA has a great coach, loads of experience, tough and passionate about the sport. Many good paddlers have come from the ranks of DSA as it is a focused club. I also knew DSA wanted to be competitive and all this suited my goals.
Despite all this though, the real benefit I have had from years of Dragon boating is the camaraderie and friendships I have built over the years. We see many new faces in this sport but plenty of old ones as well. I now consider some of these people to be amongst my closest friends. The paddlers in this sport do it for many reasons but I’m sure those that stay the distance are in it for the same reasons I am, good times, competition and friendships.