North America’s biggest dragon boat festival takes place this week and a Burnaby-based team is ready to go for gold.
Simon Fraser University's dragon boat team – known as SFU Shockwave – is a group of undergraduate students that have come together to create some competition in the dragon boat community.
The team co-captained by Nick Leung and Caroline Therrien, who says the team is about competition and building friendships.
“We paddle together on the water three times a week, but we all train individually in the gym and on the water up to seven days a week,” said Burnaby resident Therrien.
“I love dragon boat because it is the ultimate team sport,” she said. “With 22 people in the boat during a race, everyone must be moving in complete synchronicity. This means that our wins and our losses are equally shared with the whole team - there are no bench warmers or MVPs - everyone is vital to our successes. I think this team mentality has contributed to the dragon boat community as a whole, which has stood out to me compared to other sporting communities, for being so welcoming, inclusive, and tight knit. Quite literally, we're all in the same boat.”
The Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival is expecting 125,000 spectators to attend. This has grown from a local Vancouver event to become North America’s flagship dragon boat festival, drawing 6,000 racers from across the world. The festival takes place over three days: All Access Friday (June 21), International Saturday (June 22) and Championship Sunday (June 23).
An investment in the live music program by Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia means that visitors will enjoy an extensive revamped entertainment program:
- The 102.7 THE PEAK Main Stage will bring together Eastern and Western music traditions with a heavy B.C. musician presence
- Headliners include k-os, Yukon Blonde and Jill Barber among others
- Acrobats, stunt performers, dancers, circus shows and circus workshops
- Interactive arts and cultural exhibitions on site
- Chinese culture and tourism Pavilion
- Over 100 booths and food trucks on BC’s largest patio