dragonForty-three dragon boat paddlers from the northern region of New South Wales have been chosen to represent the region and NSW at the Australian Dragon Boat Championships, to be held on Kawana Lakes, Caloundra, on 23 April 2009.

The paddlers selected for the New South Wales State Regional team are from eight clubs on the North Coast, based in Byron Bay, Grafton, Maclean, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Camden Haven, Urunga and Taree.

Training commenced several weeks ago and will continue in earnest in the lead-up to the championships.

A Masters Women’s crew and a Masters Mixed crew (consisting of men and women) will be entered in the State vs State competition.

Gavin Godfrey, Head Coach of the New South Wales State squad, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for regional paddlers to represent their State.

“In addition, the crews will compete in the Regional Final against regional crews from other States.”

With over 2000 years of history originating in China, dragon boating is steeped in tradition.

Each boat has an ornately carved dragon’s head at the bow, and a dragon’s tail at the stern.

The hulls are painted with dragon scales and the paddles symbolically represent the claws of the dragon. This creates a colourful spectacle on the water.

Dragon boat festivals will often feature ‘eye dotting’ ceremonies to bless and awaken the dragon within.

Prospective paddlers can visit Dragon Boats NSW for more information.