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Paddlers fast at 20th dragon boat festival in Nanaimo harbour

Cancer research fundraiser was held July 8-9 at Maffeo Sutton Park
Members of the Breast Friends, left, and Angels Abreast teams board their vessels and prepare to race at the Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival at Maffeo Sutton Park on Saturday, July 8. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Paddlers stroked their way through Nanaimo harbour at the 20th Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival this past weekend.

The cancer research fundraiser has taken place for two decades in Nanaimo, with this year’s event taking place Saturday and Sunday, July 8-9, on hot summer days.

“The weather is fantastic. The Nanaimo wind is to be expected and that provides challenges for racers and all of the crew that are looking after the races…” said Erik Ages, Nanaimo festival race director. “Lots of fun, lots of happy people in the sunlight.”

When asked about the 20th anniversary, Ages said Nanaimo has been instrumental in boosting the sport’s popularity in the region.

“It just means that the Nanaimo community has supported the sport of dragon boat for 20 years, which is a lifetime in that sport because it’s very new to North America. Expo ’86 is when the first boats arrived and Nanaimo played a big part in growing that sport in Western Canada,” Ages said.

The winner of the women’s grand final was Stroke the Dragon, which won a close race with a time of two minutes, 29.57 seconds. Other women’s final winners were the Chix With Stix, Chawanda, Catch 22 Monsoon, Gorge Us Gals, Stroke of Luck, Pass the Buk, River Spirit and the Sea Sisters.

The mixed grand final winner was Navy Dragon Anchors in 2:16.81, and other mixed final winners were the Paddlers of the Fifth Moon and the Mid Island Masters.

The women’s Guts and Glory Challenge race was won by the Nusa’Lon Dragons, while the mixed Guts and Glory champs are the Save-On-Foods Nanaimo Dragonslayers.

The breast cancer survivor challenge races were won by BreastFriends and the Island Breaststrokers.

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RELATED: Dragon Boat Festival will mark two decades in Nanaimo

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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