By Darren Lum
Published May 26 2016
It’s not just for the ladies.
Minden’s Scotty Boyd encourages other guys to join the Haliburton Highlands Paddlers.
“Come on out. It’s a great time. Great experience with good people” he said.
With a gold medal win last year in the C class at the Christie Lake Amazing Races in Dundas Ont. and a bronze at the Port Perry Festival the club has been competitive. Boyd points out this is still a recreation club though that just happens to get better and better all while having a good time.
There is a push by the club to encourage more men and young people to join the club which offers an opportunity to get out on the water and participate in the dynamic paddling sport of dragon boating.
The club is open to people 14 and up. Members meet at the dock near the back of Patient News in Haliburton starting in May and ending in September. A season membership is $150. The club encourages drop-in paddlers to try it out on Sundays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. which includes a brief introduction and lesson. The cost is $15.
The coach and member of the recreation dragon boat club may have initially joined the club three years ago because of his wife Jane but really has enjoyed the sport for what it is and what it means to him.
“Being up here we want to do things together and this is an activity we both can do” he said referring to curling and cycling.
He dispels any perceived notion that dragon boating is only associated with women and breast cancer.
“There’s a lot of teams formed from cancer survivors but this wasn’t the push for up here. There was a enough interest and it was just mainly ladies that joined for some reason” he said.
The certified competitive curling coach appreciates the technical aspect of sport. When he joined the club and got involved with dragon boating he made a point of taking a weekend course amounting to 16 hours in class and on water (for the steersman accreditation) in Pickering with Dragon Boat Canada to become a certified dragon boat community coach which included the creation of a 10-week lesson plan recognized by Dragon Boat Canada.
Being able to teach others properly was important to the retiree with the Scottish accent and wry sense of humour.
“I get to stand at the back of the boat and tell 20 women what to do and they’ll listen” he said laughing
The club’s other coaches are Janine Papadopoulos who also was the first coach of the club and Lois Deacon. He recognized the efforts of the other coaches and wanted to share the load of coaching work.
The scheduling is very flexible as there are four practice sessions every week to choose from. They are 7 p.m. to 8:30 on Mondays and later in the day from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. On Wednesdays the practices are held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 and again from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Practice sessions are not compulsory.
Boyd an avid sailor loves being on the lake and calls this the next best thing to sailing which he said he can’t do in the Highlands.
“I like the push. The physical part of it. A big part is the social. The friendship with the people and it just nice being with the group” he said.