PHOTOS: Inaugural dragon boat festival makes splash in Victoria

Dragon boat teams paddle toward the finish line Saturday during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Dragon boat teams paddle toward the finish line Saturday during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Spectators watch as dragon boat teams cross the finish line in a 100-metre sprint Saturday during first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Spectators watch as dragon boat teams cross the finish line in a 100-metre sprint Saturday during first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Dragon boat teams cross the finish line Saturday during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Dragon boat teams cross the finish line Saturday during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Teams line up at the starting line during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Teams line up at the starting line during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A dragon boat team prepares to push off from the dock Saturday during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A dragon boat team prepares to push off from the dock Saturday during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Dragon boat teams paddle toward the finish line Saturday during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Dragon boat teams paddle toward the finish line Saturday during the first day of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A stuffed dragon sits on top of a drum on a dragon boat Saturday during day one of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A stuffed dragon sits on top of a drum on a dragon boat Saturday during day one of the inaugural Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

Dragon boat teams took to the waters of Victoria’s Upper Harbour for the first Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival, hosted by the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club.

Saturday (Aug. 6) marked day one of the two-day event, which saw 30 teams from all over Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland compete in races ranging from 100-metre knock-outs to 500-metre flag relays. The event served as part of the larger Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Race Series, and as a fundraiser for the club’s campaign in support of the BC Cancer Foundation.

“We have actually run traditional 500-metre races here for the last 15 years at least, but this is our first full, two-day festival,” said race director and festival producer Erik Ages. “Coming out of COVID, a lot of athletes around B.C. and beyond really want to race again, they have sorely missed it over two years … This is an apex festival – highly competitive, a lot of fun.”

Speaking to Black Press Media just after the Saturday lunch break, Ages said he was happy with the number of teams participating in the event, the weekend weather, and the work all the volunteers have put into making it a success, but said he would reserve final judgement for the event until the last race is done, and the medals have been handed out.

“So far, I can say things are going very well though.”

Ages said he hopes this festival will stand out given its excellent location for dragon boat racing and he hopes it will grow each year with more and more teams from further afield signing up.

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@JSamanski
justin.samanski-langille@goldstreamgazette.com

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