If joining a World Championship dragon boat team and competing in Italy is there, you are in luck.
The competitive team ‘Great Lake Paddlers’ features paddlers from across Ontario, but a core group hails from the Quinte region, under the “Quinte Rouge Paddling Club (QRPC).” The club was formed in affiliation with the group, “Pickering Rouge Canoe Club”.
In spite of their limited time together, the team enjoyed tremendous success at the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Championships held recently in Sarasota, earning several medals in 2K, 500m and 200m races.
The next World club crew championship event is slated for Ravenna, Italy in 2024.
Chamber Past-President Peter Kempenaar has been a member of the competitive team for several years.
“Our coach Konrad Doerrbecker is one of the top coaches in Dragon Boating and is really the difference maker for our team,” Kempenaar explained. “ He has had an offer to coach the U.S. National Women’s team but I know he loves his home in Prince Edward County and he is really excited about our success in Sarasota last week and wants to build on that to bring an even stronger team to Italy in 2 years. We would have to first qualify at the Canadian Nationals next year.”
The competitive team is recruiting new members, with training in Belleville Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. They also have indoor training throughout the winter months in their custom designed indoor paddling tank as well as a fully equipped gym at the Quinte Rowing Club on Keegan Parkway. There is a range of age categories to compete in from Senior A ( 40 - 49), Senior B (50 – 59) and Senior C ( 60 and over) There are Mens, Womens and Mixed crews.
For a recreational dragon boat experience QRPC Top Gunnels meets each week on Tuesdays for a fun team-building practice, as well as two or three Dragonboat Festivals. They also offer single water craft opportunities with Canoes, Kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards and Outrigger Canoes and organize group paddles on a variety of area waterways. QRPC also has 2- 6 person outrigger canoes which are the big ocean racing canoes you see in Hawaii and offer both early morning and evening paddling opportunities.
Check out QuintePaddlingClub.com for more information.
Where will your paddling adventure take you?