Boating and fraternizing have gone hand in hand ever since the Royal Navy's HMS Endurance set sail to Antarctica with a Jimmy Buffett album lodged in its tape deck. Socialize by sea with today's Groupon: for $45, you get a four-week Intro to Dragon Boating program (a $90 value) at Dragon Zone, located at the Creekside Community Centre on Athletes Way.
Sport and social club Dragon Zone dips its oars into Canada's diverse multi-cultural heritage through dragon boat races and events. The Intro to Dragon Boating program ($90) fosters floating friendships and athletic feats Fridays at 6:30 p.m. for one month at a time (sessions begin on the first Friday of each month), covering the ancient basics of dragon boat paddling as a team and seal sorcery. Boats plunge into the depths with twenty paddlers, a drummer, a steersperson, and up to four spares. As the watery rhythms enchant each middy to scull forward, the team paddles in unison, making it possible to achieve great speeds and slice large loaves of bread worthy of Poseidon's breakfast. Due to its teamwork nature, squads often socialize at nearby pubs or restaurants afterward. The ability to swim is not required, but everyone must wear a stylish life jacket. All equipment is provided.
- The Dragon Boat Festival, now in its 22nd year, is an annual tradition for many Vancouverites, who train for the races with work colleagues, friends and family. The races take place in False Creek and finish at Science World, where the free festivities include watching the races, live music from the World Beat Stage, Desifest Entertainment, and plenty of food vendors. – Dana Lynch, Inside Vancouver blog
Dragon Zone Paddling Club
Operated by the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society, a registered non-profit society, Dragon Zone Paddling Club makes it easy for people to experience the ancient art of dragon boating, as well as many other types of paddle sports. In addition to 10- and 20-person dragon boats, the club equips guests with canoes, six-person outriggers, one-person outriggers, and kayaks.
For those who are new to dragon boating, Dragon Zone Paddling Club offers four-week classes that introduce basic techniques and get participants used to working as a team. More specialized workshops supplement foundational skills with more advanced instruction, which is especially useful for anyone who decides to join a racing team.