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Byron Shire
May 18, 2022

Sunrise paddler with Rainbow Dragons offers new era for seasoned campaigner

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Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 18 May, 2022

Brilliant entertainment always in the Byron Shire

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Brooke Harris is thriving on early-morning dragon boat racing. Photo supplied

Former long-distance paddling champion Brooke Harris has found new sporting life with the Rainbow Dragons and likes to take advantage of the new 6am Sunrise session in Ballina.

Over 20 years ago Brooke Harris quit a world-class kayak and outrigger racing career, but new life choices and a move to the Northern Rivers introduced her to dragon boat racing.

Back then Brooke was with the Australian Institute of Sport and placed ninth in both the K1 42km Marathon World Championships and K4 500m Sprint World Championships. As an outrigger paddler, she and her team won the ‘Na Wahine O Ke Kai’ Molokai to Oahu channel crossing in Hawaii three times.

A year ago Brooke started dragon boating, after moving from Melbourne to the Northern Rivers, so her wife could be closer to family.

A new life

‘I’d heard of dragon boating and thought it sounded fun. I’d never paddled with such a big team. Being new to the area it was also about meeting people,’ she said.

After quitting elite sport, Brooke led a sedentary life, and acknowledges developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but is now proud to have quit alcohol three years ago.

Continuing to switch old habits for new, Brooke is back on the water, loving the gym, studying (Certificates III & IV in Fitness) and has nearly completed an L1 dragon boat coaching course.


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