My first time walking up to the boat club I was full of apprehension and nerves and I clung to Nicole like a lost puppy. Nicole straight away included me in the little gathering before we got on the boat and we also went through our first race day together. Awarded our Most Improved Paddler Award of 2017, read Nicole’s Soaring Dragons story below…
Congratulations on being awarded as Most Improved Paddler of 2017! It would be great to hear a bit about how you got there. For starts, how did you hear about Soaring Dragons?
I always loved being in or on the water when I was younger but stopped most hobbies due to having kids. Once they were older and after a particularly tough family event, I decided it was time for me to get into something I loved. I saw SD on Facebook and turned up to a very warm welcome!
I’m sorry to hear, it sounds like the team were around at the right time. You’ve been paddling for a year now, what made you stay with Soaring Dragons?
The team were really encouraging. I wasn’t very fit and felt a bit self-conscious but that soon wore off as everything made me feel welcome and part of the team. Also, I was encouraged that if I stuck to it, my fitness would build. I got great coaching from Mike but also all the other dragons. To begin with the team was close to home so convenient for me but after being made so welcome and loving it so much I’d never paddle for anyone else.
Following on from your award, what’s your next goal with Soaring Dragons?
Over time I’d like to have a go at everything just so I understand everyone’s perspective but for this year I just want to polish my technique and try to lose some weight so I can be as fit as possible for racing! Last year I was only able to make 2 race days, this year it’s my aim to go to all that SD attend!
Everyone in the sport is of different ages, abilities, genders etc. What do you find the most challenging aspect of the sport?
Winter! It’s cold but you have to keep going!! It’s all endurance training for fitness! I still struggle more than most and sometimes hard going but once you have completed a session you feel good and strong for it.
Do you do any other sports in your spare time and do these help with Dragon Boating at all?
No, paddling twice a week and the occasional circuits session although I love to swim and go swim outdoors whenever I can (sea, river etc). I love the outdoors, nothing better than a paddle on a Sunday morning in the fresh summer sunshine to get your day going!
Finally, we always encourage people to take up paddling. What advice would you give to someone thinking about popping down?
Come along and see how we tick, no one is perfect to begin with but you will get support from all of us with whatever you find difficult. It’s great fun, once you try it, you will be hooked!