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Dragon boat regatta draws 20 teams

Sunshine Coast dragon boat competitors get ready for a race at Tin Can Bay on Sunday.
Sunshine Coast dragon boat competitors get ready for a race at Tin Can Bay on Sunday. Tanya Easterby

THE Cooloola Dragon Boat Club hosted the sixth Sleepy Lagoon Hotel Dragon Boat Regatta at Tin Can Bay on Sunday.

Twenty teams competed in three divisions from 10 dragon boat clubs throughout Queensland.

Cooloola Dragon Boat Club spokesperson Gayle Barnett said the first Sleepy Lagoon Hotel Dragon Boat Regatta was held in 2005 and had been a relatively “modest” event.

“At that event, there were sports paddlers and corporate teams competing on the day, as well as some local school team races on the program,” Barnett said.

“At that time, there were just nine sports teams competing.

“With the growth of the sport, the Cooloola Dragon Boat Club soon had to run Corporate and Youth Challenge races as separate events and by 2008 the regatta had become a sporting team only event, fielding 20 teams in three categories.

The regatta is the first on the dragon boat calendar and many teams use it is an opportunity to come away together, compete and socialise.

“It is as much about the social occasion as it is about the competition,” Barnett said.

“It is one of the bigger events for Tin Can Bay and the locals certainly look after the paddling fraternity, which is why they all love coming back.”

Barnett said some of the regular competitors from the Gold Coast and Brisbane were absent this year, due to their involvement in the Club Crew World Championships in Macau but the Division A trophy was still hotly contested.

“The Redcliffe A team paddled valiantly in the grand final but the two crews from Te Waka Taniwha proved too strong in the end,” Barnett said. “There was only 1.22 seconds between first and third place, which made for an exciting finish.”

Nine crews were entered in the B Division, with many close battles throughout the day.

Redcliffe made the final but were beaten by the Sunshine Coast Dragon Boat Club and Lakes District crew finished a close third.

Barnett said a highlight of the regatta was the Pink Challenge.

Every year survivors of breast cancer, the Pink Ladies, bring their own special quality to the event.

“It is obvious having fun is high on their list of priorities but by taking on the physical challenge of dragon boating, they are constantly promoting breast cancer awareness and demonstrating there is life after a cancer diagnosis,” Barnett said. “With team spirit and camaraderie second to none, they are not only an inspiration to others faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer but to all members of the dragon boating fraternity.”

Breast Mates were the eventual winners, beating Missabitattiti in the final.

Gympie Times