Paddles up! The Blue Mountains first dragon boat club has finally hit the water.
After months of COVID lockdown, the Blue Mountains Dragon Boat Club (aka Mountain Dragons) has had its first paddle on Wentworth Falls Lake.
In their boat 'Yo Banfa' which means 'it can be done' in Chinese, the paddle took place on Sunday November 7 - a year after the club was officially formed.
Secretary Juan Roberson said there are about 60 dragon boat clubs in NSW with around 3,000 members. The Mountain Dragons are grouped with the western region.
A dragon boat holds 20 paddlers and clubs are typically well mixed with men and women and all ages.
"Our club is socially oriented, its theme is fun, fitness and friendship, but for enthusiasts, there are competitive dragon boat regattas all over NSW and Australia and indeed the world," he said.
Purchase of the boat was made possible with the help of a $3000 grant from MP Susan Templeman last year and many other local supporters. Ms Templeman said the club submitted a very thorough application under the Stronger Communities grant.
The club has 14 members, with another six signed up for a trial paddle.
"That was at the time of the first paddle ... not a bad start before we even had a boat in the water," Mr Roberson said.
The club meets on Sunday mornings at Wentworth Falls Lake at 8.30am for a 9am paddle (weather permitting). They also hope to start a 6pm Thursday night paddle in daylight savings.
"Being more of a social sporting club, there is no pressure on a member to attend paddling sessions; the idea is to enjoy the paddle and not feel it is an obligation. Paddle sessions are about an hour ... if more than 20 paddlers turn up, we will make some arrangement ... so everyone can have a turn."
Mr Roberson said the idea had its inception with the Rotary Club of Katoomba. He also thanked Bendigo Bank, The Canton Palace, Theo Poulos Real Estate, Sinofield, the Chinese Language Teachers Association and the Federal Government for their support.
"We are fortunate to have all our main items of equipment fully paid for from the start of operations (boat, trailer, paddles, etc.) so it is important that we acknowledge this and recognise financial sponsorship," he added.
Trial paddles are free (you can have up to five before you sign on) and membership is $190 annually (includes state membership and insurance cover etc.). There are no session fees. If you are interested in supporting the club, as member, sponsor, or non-paddling supporter, visit bluemountainsdragonboat.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.