Australia’s only gay and lesbian dragon boating club, Different Strokes, is ready to kick off the new dragon boating season.

Dragon boat racing is a longstanding Chinese tradition that has developed into a fast and furious water sport around the world. In Australia, it’s the fastest-growing water sport, with 22 people required to propel a boat from start to finish.

Formed in 2008, Different Strokes recently capped off its best-ever season by competing in the National Championship in Canberra (and finishing a creditable 24th out of 66 teams).

The club marked the 2010/11 season by making inroads into the top echelons of the sport (achieving a number of finals berths in NSW races), fielding its own all-women’s crew for the first time, and having four members selected to train with the Australian squad. It also won a prestigious award from Vision Australia (for its support of vision-impaired paddlers and the assistance it gave Vision Australia so it could field crews in two regattas), and marched in the Mardi Gras parade.

Different Strokes is looking for new members. Whether you play other sports, go to the gym or just want to get fit and are looking for a change, you can go to the next biannual open session on Saturday, June 4. The free session starts at 10am at 1 Bank St, Pyrmont.

Wear sports clothing or breathable attire that dries quickly, anti-slip shoes or sandals suitable for water sports, and bring some warm clothes to change into after paddling.

Expect some basic skills training on land, a warm-up and then about an hour paddling on the water, followed by a sausage sizzle.

info: Email info@differentstrokes.org.au, call Ray on 0412 322 336 or search for ‘Different Strokes Dragon Boat Club’ on Facebook.

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