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Dragon boaters rejoice: Okanagan-wide race comes to Penticton's Skaha Lake

Racers converge on the south end of Penticton for season's first race

Dragon boat season is officially back in the Peach City.

Skaha Lake in Penticton played host Saturday, June 8, to an annual 250-metre race that welcomes teams of 20 paddlers from across B.C.

Okanagan Super Sprints, organized by Penticton Paddle Sports, marks the beginning of the local dragon boat season every June.

Racers on Saturday were celebrating the event's 15th edition.

"Everyone's in such good spirits because they're so ready to get the season going again, so that makes it pretty special to us," said Thyra Carroll, race manager.

With dragon boat racers typically asked to complete 500-metre courses, Saturday's event in Penticton marks the season's shortest race

"Because it's only 250 metres, it makes for a nice first race of the season and an easy way for people to work their way in," Carroll added.

But Penticton Paddle Sports' event this weekend wasn't just about the racing.

It also served as a fundraiser in support of Muscular Dystrophy Canada, with all collected funds set to stay within the Okanagan Valley.

Carroll said that over the years, the dragon boat race has helped raise $35,000 for the cause. Event organizers are hoping Saturday's strong showing at Skaha Lake will result in at least $5,000 raised.

Out of 18 teams to register for this weekend's race, seven of them were from Penticton. Dragon boaters from as close as Kelowna to as far as Fort Langley also made the trip to the Peach City.

Although Saturday featured racers of all ages, the south Penticton lake also hosted a "Seniors' Sprints" race on Friday.

"It's nice to represent seniors in the valley and show that sporting is good for any age," Carroll said.

Penticton Paddle Sports says it always looking for more people to join the club and try the sport.

Its flagship event, the Pentincton Dragon Boat Festival, returns to Skaha Lake on Sept. 7 and 8.





About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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