Welcome to the first in our Fast Five Series, where we chat all things Dragon Boating with some of the club's members, in five short questions.
First up, is our fierce club president, Felix Hamilton - 2022 DSA Female Paddler of the Year, OC6 extraordinaire, adventurer, plant mum, and 21/22 joint people's choice as the "friendliest member" in the club. Felix is also a member of the 2022 NSW State team and Metro Region team, and recently elected to the DBNSW Board.
Fast Five with Felix Hamilton
1. How long have you been paddling and how did you get into dragon boating?
I was having brunch at Fork and Spoon Meadowbank on one fine Sunday morning with my mates. And OMG that dude was just loud and two boats were racing against each other madly. It was sorta amazing to watch. I actually went on googling "what's on Meadowbank" and DSA came up.
I joined the club in late 2018 and have been actively training since. Next minute I found myself as DSA Recruitment Director for the 19/20 season, and was elected as President next.
2. There are a lot of dragon boat clubs in Sydney, what do you love most about the DSA and why?
Practical reason, proximity - DSA is the closest club to my house. With surging petrol price year on year, that still stands as a good reason. Jokes aside, I'm pretty "popular" with both our prems kids and seniors crew and I love the friendship and comradery fostered through the years. They are my second family, on and off water.
3. What keeps you coming back to the sport every year?
I'm competitive and love to challenge (or torture? 😂) myself physically and mentally. I enjoy racing with my team of course and also endeavour the new water. I was in the Metro Region team (Region v Region racing) in 2021 and 2022, and NSW State Team (Premier division) in 2022. I have a big vision with DSA and our Prems team and I want to see it through while I can.
4. Congratulations on your recent election to the DBNSW board! What is one thing you're most passionate about achieving?
I am determined to step up and break down the structural barriers to address the gender imbalance in leadership in our sporting system and promote a culture that recognises women’s skills and the value of diversity. I would like to advocate for women in sport and particularly empower more women to take up the leadership roles in dragon-boating, to increase participation and access for women, girls or population groups with low rates of participation. I would like to empower the younger generation of the sport by engaging more youth (U24) to join in with a buddy/parent and engaging more with schools and universities.
5. We of course think Dragon Boating is one of the best sports around, but for those who haven't tried it, what are 3 reasons why everyone should consider giving it a go?
First, it's a *whole-body* workout — legs drive, arms, shoulders and back muscles accelerate the paddle through the water. Awesome for abs (looking down checking 😏) and core strengthening, and cardio fitness. Cheaper than a gym membership.
Second, it's therapeutic. You can feel the power, the boat surging forward beautifully effortless, the connection with all elements (water wind sun rain or hail, nah), and when the whole boat works together as one, that rhythm, one team one dream, nothing can beat that feeling mate.
Third, the thrill. Enough said, come and try it for yourself.