Coast dragon boaters excel


The brand new West Coast dragon boat racing team took top honours in their section at the Aoraki Dragon Boat Club championship in Akaroa, on Sunday.
The team of teenagers, who have only been practising for a couple months, took out their section final in a close finish, in windy conditions.
The Coasters have only trained in a 20-person boat and with no competition against them, but adapted well to the 10-person boats race boats used for the day.
Twenty-four teams of 10 competed in the championship, which started with a Le Mons-style race involving a crew person having to run down the beach to the boat, which had already started the paddle out to the buoy.
The West Coast team, having not trained for the Le Mons race, managed to manoeuvre the boat around the turn successfully and snapped up 19th place.
In the main event, a 250m paddle to shore, the Coast team won the second heat and took four seconds off their previous best to win a place in the final. The final was raced in strong winds and was hard going for the paddlers, but the Coasters coped well with the conditions to grab the honours.
They now has their sights set on the next championships in the 20-crew boats at Lake Pegasus in mid-February.
The successful team was.— Carrie Vaughan, Chanelle Whata, Brie Wilson, Leteisha Rothera, Bailey Williams, Matt Wakeford, Bryn Preston, Connor Sutherland, Jake Thompson, Shia King, Aylah Peterson, Ingrid van Risjnover, Cain McCartney, Grace Henry, Laychan Parkin-Rae.