A new Qualicum Beach-based dragon boating team is gearing up to begin its second season, and is looking for new members.
Team Hot Flash was formed by coach Judie Coulter last year, who said they had an impressive season for being newbies.
The team participates in an eight-week season from mid-May to July, during which they competed in three dragon boating festivals around the Island.
“The first race was in Port Alberni and it was more of an adrenaline release than anything else,” Coulter said. “Eighteen paddlers with their heads down just going for it.”
The team did much better during their second festival in Campbell River in June where it won its first race.
“We actually beat out one of he high-end teams from Port Hardy, which was huge,” Coulter said. “We also won the Spirit Award.”
The third and final festival for team Hot Flash was held in Nanaimo, where upwards of 70 teams participated in a variety of categories. Hot Flash was in the Jade category, a middle-level class, and took silver.
Coulter began forming the team after her husband, Peter, said he would be the sponsor through his work Nurse Next Door.
Having coached dragon boating for 10 years, Coulter said it was a dream come true to be able to hand-pick her own crew.
“I teach fitness for a living, so out of my classes I started choosing people to get on the dragon boat,” Coulter said. “My first year we had 19 crew members including myself and of those 19, 15 had never been on a dragon boat before.”
To be a good dragon boater, Coulter said one should be physically fit, have a strong core, have rhythm and be able to focus.
“We started putting things together and came up with the name of the Qualicum Beach Hot Flash because most of us our menopausal,” Coulter laughed. “The name really stuck for people who didn’t know us.”
The team is made up of members from Bowser to Nanaimo, and Coulter said she is looking to recruit six new paddlers for the coming season. Practices take place two nights a week in Nanaimo and if people are interested in joining the team, they can contact Coulter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s a sport, where in all of my 10 years, I’ve never really seen any display of poor sportsmanship. Everybody supports everybody else, everybody cheers everybody else on,” Coulter said.
Throughout the year, the team raises money for the Oceanside Hospice Society.