DRAGONS on the CANAL
CORNWALL, Ontario – Team Sigma Point has been practicing hard in the St. Lawrence River to prepare for the upcoming Cornwall Waterfest on Aug. 11.
According to Kevin O’rourke, a nine-year Committee Member of Cornwall Waterfest, there are currently over 20 teams registered, and four of them are coming from outside of the region.
He believes that the dragon boat races offer physical activity, teamwork skills and a lot of fun.
“Because you’re going to boat with 20 people, paddling in sync is critical,” said O’rourke. “Missing paddle strokes slows the team down a bit; they lose momentum and a straight line.”
On the day of Waterfest, races will occur in three different divisions: community teams, competitive teams and a women’s division. O’rourke noted that this year there is a youth team competing, with young men and women from ages 14 to 19. He will be assisting the youth team during the races.
“The people who have the most difficulties is the canoe paddlers,” said O’rourke. “( They have) long term efficient strokes, but dragon boating is about power and speed, opposed to a smooth arm stroke. It usually takes one practice to get everyone paddling in unison.”
The event will feature vendors, a marketplace, crafts and entertainers this year.
“This is the busiest part for me, but that’s what I enjoy, helping people get out on the water and learn some skills,” said O’rourke.
The race is this weekend. For more information, visit cornwallwaterfest.ca.
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Team Sigma Point practicing for the dragon boat racing at Cornwall Waterfest on Saturday, August 11. (Shawna O’neill, TC Media).