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No race wins, but a journey for Squamish dragon boat team

The Squamish team was the only one from North America at the Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival last month.

The Squamish Dragon Boating contingent—Chawanda—has returned back to Canada after their expedition to the Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival in the Philippines.

Not with a trophy, but certainly with a refreshed sense of camaraderie. 

“We went out and we did our best,” said Squamish Dragon Boating Association team member, Cathie Greenlees.

In the mixed small boat race they managed to make the semi-finals but failed to qualify for the finals, and in the mixed standard boat race they didn’t make the semi-finals. In a third race on the second day, they came last.

“It was disappointing, however it almost didn’t matter because we had an amazing time,” said Greenlees.

In all, a team of 13 from Squamish had made the trek to the Philippine island of Boracay for the festival which was on April 27 and 28 which saw 52 teams mostly from around Asia converging for the races which Greenlees said were quite the spectacle.

“They really do it up right.

“They had a march for all the teams to come in for the opening ceremonies with banners and flags. We were the only North American team there.”

Greenlees said that despite the lack of victory in the races, the team came away with a lot.

“It was fun, we made a lot of connections, it brought our team closer together—it was a fabulous time.”

So, would the team head to the Philippines again?

“In a heartbeat,” she said, adding that paddling in warm water was a treat in and of itself when compared with training in the cool temperatures of the Salish Sea.

“Overall it was an amazing experience that I think has brought our team more together, and put some fire in us to do better, to come together, and to invite others to join us.”

The Squamish team now have their sights set on key races in British Columbia that are just around the corner, with the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival to be held in Vancouver in June.

*Full disclosure: Cathie Greenlees is sales manager at The Squamish Chief


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