Australia’s only gay and lesbian dragon boating club, Different Strokes, is two-thirds of the way through its most successful season, but is opening its doors for new members with a trial paddling evening as part of the Mardi Gras Festival.

Formed in 2008, this season the club has a record number of members, has entered more crews in more events than ever before and, for the first time, entered an all-women’s crew in the Chinese New Year regatta held last weekend.

It was also announced last week that four paddlers from the club have been selected to represent Australia in the 10th IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing which will be held in Tampa, Florida in August.

“While this season still has the state championships and the Australian championships to come, this has already been our best year. We started last year with only eight members and we now have more than 80, including four with the Australian team,” club president Nigel Bedford said.

“We have made several finals including our first all-women’s crew, and we’ve come extremely close to winning our first major trophy. There is still much ahead and the whole club is eagerly awaiting the chance to compete in Canberra at the Australian championships — another first for the club.”

To encourage new members to join, the club is holding its biannual open session at 6pm on Tuesday, February 22 at 1 Bank St, Pyrmont. The free session is open to all who’d like to give dragon boating a go. Participants will undergo some basic on-land skills training and about an hour of paddling on the water, followed by a sausage sizzle. They should wear sports clothing or breathable attire that dries quickly and anti-slip shoes or sandals suitable for water sports.

Different Strokes will also have a stall at Fair Day on February 20.

info: Email [email protected] or search for Different Strokes Dragon Boat Club on Facebook.

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