The Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club is a group of paddling people from all walks of life who enjoy being out on the water having fun and keeping fit.
They also have a healthy competitive streak which was demonstrated 2021 Urunga Dragon Boat Regatta held last weekend on the Kalang River, Urunga. Teams travelled from near and far for the race weekend.
The Ballina paddlers, who train three times a week paddle along North Creek, Fishery Creek and the Richmond River, have two dragon boats and paddlers who range from 35 years young to 70+ years younger.
Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club secretary Sharon Rallings the club likes to have a lot of fun out on the water. ‘We also like to compete and as a club, we have our fair share of medals.’
The Urunga event saw over 22 teams from the Hunter and North Coast of NSW compete aggressively and hard with Ballina Dragons placing in every category.
A winning weekend
Sharon said that Ballina’s first win was in the 7.5km marathon where they placed first by over 40 seconds. ‘That’s no mean feat as it is a gruelling distance that relies on physical stamina, endurance and true grit.’
On Sunday the Women’s 20s won their event, there was a win in the Men’s 10s, then a second in the Mixed 20s and third in Women’s 10s. ‘In line with tradition our newest paddlers went up to receive the trophies – it was a busy time.
In their ‘Dragon Prawn’ skins, the Ballina Dragons certainly put their early stamp on what should be a competitive regatta season.
Sharon said there are great benefits to paddling. ‘You get full-body fitness while sitting down, you can feel fit, build strength and find your inner power,’ she said. ‘There is a lot of camaraderie among the paddlers, there is the excitement of regattas, paddling at night under the stars and we have a great active social group.’
The club welcomes new paddlers – they offer five free sessions to see if it’s the right sport for you.