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PHOTOS: Inaugural dragon boat festival makes splash in Victoria

The Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival continues Sunday

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.

READ MORE: Bike-powered music festival returns to Victoria Aug. 14


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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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