With a rich history and a number of health benefits, Dragon Boating is becoming a leader in team sports.
Based in Palm Beach, the Akuna Dragon Club not only participates in local regattas and the Qld state titles each year, but has qualified for the National titles in both 2013 and 2014.
Despite the competitive nature of Dragon Boating and the numerous achievements of Akuna, their motto is ‘fun, fitness and friendship’.
We got to have a chat to the president, Robyn Rand, who is in her 4th year at Akuna and was able to give us an insight into not only the sport, but of the numerous benefits it provides.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about what Dragon Boating is?
A. Dragon Boats are deeply embedded in China’s ‘Dragon’ culture. There are generally 18-20 paddlers per Dragon Boat and 8-10 paddlers in the Small Boat, plus a drummer and a Steerer. Dragon Boat Competitions have developed into a serious, high-performance and competitive sport with an ancient past and a very bright future. It’s not yet an Olympic sport but heading that way fast!
Q. Who can participate in it?
A. Akuna welcomes people over 8 and we have never turned anyone away for being too old! Whatever your fitness level and ability are Akuna will find a way to include you. We have members of various ages, from a great variety of backgrounds, athletic abilities and interests. We like to concentrate on the principles of participation and inclusiveness, with a competitive outcome as secondary.
Q. What do you like the most about Dragon Boating?
A. I like the company and being outdoors with friends while I’m doing an extraordinary amount of good to my body and mind without realising. It offers a great upper-body workout and the paddling motion also involves the legs and stomach. The benefits are mental too. People do it for enjoyment, relaxation and fitness. In the evenings it is breathtaking to be paddling in the twilight and you just clear your mind and nothing else matters. On Saturday mornings, we have the beautiful sun and, most of the time the water is so clear and smooth you can see the bottom of the creek and the sea life. Occasionally we are privileged enough to have a dolphin accompany us too!
Q. What makes the Akuna Dragon Boat Club a great place for people to do this sport?
A. I love the social, family and friendly atmosphere and easy going attitude of the members and committee. We do certainly have a team spirit and work very well together; it’s easy for newcomers to fit in as we are a very low stress club.
The Akuna Dragon Boat Club offer people of all ages to ‘come and try’ for free every Saturday morning. For more information head to their website at www.akunadragons.com or contact them on 0491 106 041 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.