Manning River Dragon Boat Club is keen to place paddles in the hands men and women who want to boost their fitness, train on the Manning River and enjoy the camaraderie of team sport.
The club is recruiting and one of its goals is to boost the number of men in its ranks. It will host its annual 'Come and Try Dragon Boat Paddling Day' this Saturday, June 22, and is inviting people aged 12 years and up to turn up at the boat ramp near Sailo's from 9.15am.
The recruitment drive comes in the wake of the club's recent nationals success, with four team members selected in the NSW Mid North Coat Team to compete in the State v State Competition at Australian Championships, with the mixed team securing a podium finish.
Club head coach Warren Blanch says the club caters for competitive and social paddlers, and this year the focus is on boosting the number of men in its ranks as current membership is mostly women.
"On the boat it's amazing how much power men have in the water, and it's the power they have in their core and shoulders that is a good asset to a mixed team.
"When we don't have a lot of men, we just don't have a good ratio compared to other teams that we race against in regattas because they might have eight to 10 men in a boat, and we might have a maximum of four - the power is just not there.
"It's not all about winning, it's about participating and enjoying yourself, but it is also nice to win."
Warren says the club is keen for younger men and women to pick up a paddle.
Wayne Sullivan came to the sport in February 2018 and says he would "like to see some new faces so the girls can pick on them and leave me alone."
"Give it a try. The girls are really fantastic and it's been a lot of fun. There's never been many fellars and that's something we want to change.
"It's great exercise, the camaraderie in the boat is wonderful and it's out on the river."
Michael Champion is a new recruit and has been paddling for about four months.
"It's a great team sport and it's a good hour of sometimes intense, and sometimes medium exercise.
"It's a bit cold early in the morning in winter but you warm up fairly quickly, and it's nice being on the river."
Warren says it's not a hard sport to learn and is a great fitness leveller, but does require a reasonable commitment to weekly training sessions.
"It's not a sport you can do for a few weeks, go missing for a while, and then come back for a few weeks and do it again. You really do need a level of ongoing fitness if you want to be a bit fair dinkum with it."
He hopes people will come and try the sport on Saturday and says anyone aged over 12 years and all fitness levels are welcome.
He says participants will need a sense of humour, to wear clothing that is comfortable and loose fitting, enclosed shoes that can get wet, and bring a drink bottle.
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