by Alex Wilks/Special to the Langley Advance
Community members who are seeking a new physical workout challenge, combined with the calming aspect of being surrounded by the great outdoors, are encouraged to try dragonboating at an upcoming Langley event.
“Dragonboating gives me a sense of calm and release from everyday challenges,” explained coordinator Karen Corness.
“It is very special to be on the water with my team, working hard and taking in all the beauty of the surrounding environment.”
Corness, 61, alongside the Fort Langley Canoe Club (FLCC), is hosting a community Come Try It Day for residents living in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. People are being encouraged to pick up a paddle and get out on the water.
A dragonboat is a human-powered watercraft that consists of a team of paddlers who race others to a finish line.
Often boating teams are determined by age or gender. But for dragonboating, that is not always the case.
“Dragonboating is a very fulfilling sport,” she said.
“In addition to a tremendous physical workout, dragonboating provides opportunities to build strong supportive friendships [and] I believe this experience is shared across every single team in the club.”
Corness is not the only FLCC member advocating for the sport, 64-year-old Walnut Grove resident Terry Linden is also driving the paddle every week.
“Dragonboating is a great way to enjoy the water, improve and maintain fitness, meet new people, be part of a team environment, and compete at regattas locally and around the world,” he said.
“Whether it’s at practices, regattas, or the numerous social events we participate in as a team. We always have a lot of fun.”
Linden has been dragonboating with the FLCC for more than 15 years.
“In dragonboating your team has to work as a single unit,” he explained.
“That’s what makes it so exciting.”
There are teams for all ages, levels of fitness, ability, and commitment.
As a leading member FORTified, the 55+ mixed team, Linden has seen almost everything dragonboating has to offer – including the picturesque landscape along the Lower Mainland riverbank.
“Paddling on the Bedford Channel and Fraser River is always interesting – depending on weather conditions and seasonal changes,” he said. “The views are stunning, and through the years we’ve seen seals, beavers, sturgeon, deer, and a black bear while practising.”
The FLCC has more than 650 members and four divisions – dragonboating, kayaking, outrigger, and voyageur – but the club is hoping is to expose more people to the sport and maybe even recruit some new members at an event on Saturday, April 7.
“Our goal, if someone comes out and tries it, is to help them find out a team that works for them,” said Linden.
“We ask them what their schedule is and usually there is already a team practising on those days.”
It costs $84 to join the FLCC, and each team has other varying fees depending on the amount they practise and what competitions they enter, he explained.
The Try It event takes place between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. at the Fort Langley dock.
“The goal of our event is to share all of this with the community,” Corness said.
“Members of the public see teams paddling and often stop to watch. This event will give the community the opportunity to try it out and perhaps even join one of the FLCC teams.”