If you ever make it to Loughborough Boat Club to try out Dragon Boating, the chances are the first laugh you’ll hear is Nikki’s! Joining the team in June 2016 Nikki has become an integral part of the team both in and off the boat. Read more on Nikki’s journey below…
To start off, what got you into Dragon Boating?
Well…in a word, Tracey! We work together and she kept telling me how much fun it was and I should give it a go. So I did, and quickly became hooked!
Nikki was certainly hooked! 2 years later and still part of the team, we know why you started but why did you stay?
The people! Soaring Dragons is made up of some awesome people, all extremely friendly and a good laugh. The banter in the boat during training is brilliant! Also the buzz on race day is phenomenal!
What sets Soaring Dragons apart from say other teams in all sports?
Such a friendly team to be part of. We don’t just paddle together we also do other things, I’ve been walking in the Peak District, camping, meals out, the Aqua Park was a particular favourite.
Amazing! What is your favourite memory with Soaring Dragons?
Best memory is between two. One on my birthday a few years ago, everyone stood up in the boat and sang Happy Birthday to me as we were paddling along the river. Two, the first ever time we raced as a scratch crew at the National Finals in 2016, I then understood what Dragon Boat Racing was all about.
Do you do any other sports in your free time?
I try to run a few times a week, but this is more to help with paddle fitness. I also own a horse so try and ride as often as possible.
You’re very busy! Do you have anything you’d like to try your hand at next within the realm of Dragon Boating?
I’d quite like to try helming, it’s just standing at the back of the boat steering, how hard can it be?! It would also be amazing to paddle for Great Britain, but unfortunately I just don’t have the time to commit to this currently.
It’s nice that a sport can open up so many other opportunities. What do you feel is the most challenging and most rewarding part of the process?
My usual seat in the boat is left stroke, this is both challenging and rewarding. Challenging as it’s down to me and Vicky as stroke pair to set the rate for everyone to follow. On race day if we get this wrong it impacts the whole team. However, if we get it right it’s very rewarding.
The team definitely rely on you guys. For a complete newbie, what advice would you give them about taking up Dragon Boating?
Come and give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen, you get wet! It’s a water sport after all. You do not need to be super fit to paddle either.