Dragons roar in Jacaranda heat

Raiders from the south not just tough talk­ers

The Daily Examiner - - SPORT -

DRAGON BOATS: With the mer­cury soar­ing on the shore, valiant com­mu­nity teams took to the Clarence River to bat­tle it out for ul­ti­mate Jacaranda supremacy.

While the com­mu­nity di­vi­sion was stacked with tal­ent and lots of mus­cle – thanks in large part to the four gyms in the run­ning – it was the raiders from the south, Coffs Crossfit, who roared the loud­est.

The team, coached by Coffs Coast Dragon Boat Club’s Steph Frost, had laid down the gaunt­let be­fore the event and it was quick to back up the words on water.

“Steph said they were com­ing up to beat our lo­cal teams, and they were not mess­ing around,” Grafton Dragon Boat Club pres­i­dent Robin Smith said.

“The team had raced only last month at the Coffs Re­gatta and I think that ex­tra run re­ally showed through this week­end.”

Coffs Crossfit led the whole way in the com­mu­nity fi­nal with Any­time Fit­ness fin­ish­ing sec­ond and last year’s cham­pi­ons Jetts Fit­ness in third.

It was a spe­cial fin­ish in the ju­nior event with CVAS nar­rowly go­ing down to Triple S, a team or­gan­ised and coached by Grafton club ju­nior Travis Gardner-O’Con­nor.

CVAS teacher Penny Burgess praised O’Con­nor dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tions, ex­plain­ing how much work the teenager had put in to make the team a re­al­ity.

“Credit where it is due, it was a lovely thing for Penny to do,” Smith said. “It was a mas­sive ef­fort from Travis. He went at it alone with­out any help and just used his club knowl­edge to help coach the team and run them through their paces.”

It was a thrilling week­end on the water, and de­spite the novice teams pi­lot­ing the ves­sels, only one side found them­selves in the drink.

“I thought the week­end was ex­cel­lent, I couldn’t be hap­pier,” Smith said. “We got through the rac­ing with­out too much in­ci­dent.

“Only one boat ended up cap­siz­ing. The sweep lost con­trol a bit and man­aged to run into another team.

“But there was no in­juries to come from the in­ci­dent so that is a ma­jor plus for us.”

Smith praised the com­mu­nity teams for sup­port­ing the an­nual event and said he hoped they had as much fun as he did.

“By all ac­counts ev­ery­one had a good day and it was a big suc­cess. I know it all starts out fun but then gets quite se­ri­ous when fi­nals come around.”

PHOTOS: MATTHEW ELKERTON

SOUTH­ERN RAIDERS: Coffs Crossfit mem­bers are pre­sented with the com­mu­nity winners tro­phy by deputy mayor Jason Kings­ley dur­ing the an­nual Grafton Dragon Boat Club Jacaranda Re­gatta on the Clarence River.

RIGHT: Triple S claimed the win in the ju­nior cat­e­gory dur­ing the an­nual Jacaranda Re­gatta.

ABOVE: Tweed Dragons show the se­cret to their suc­cess with their warm-up rou­tine.

ABOVE: CVAS teacher Penny Burgess con­grat­u­lates Travis Gardner-O’Con­nor on putting to­gether a suc­cess­ful team.

ABOVE: Clarence Coast Dragons pre­pare for another race dur­ing the Jacaranda Re­gatta.

ABOVE: Pad­dlers from the City Bears and Roy­als Sham­rocks dragon boat teams pose to­gether af­ter the com­mu­nity fi­nal.

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