Windsor

Windsor teams compete in dragon boat racing on ice

Wonderbroads, a team of breast cancer survivors (and classic dragon boat racers) and a team from the University of Windsor gave the ice version their best shot. The ice dragon boat races were a part of Ottawa's annual Winterlude festival.

One Windsor team made it to semi-finals

The Wonderbroads team races in the bobsled-like ice dragon boat. (Submitted by Wonderbroads)

Two Windsor teams spent a chilly weekend in Ottawa for a different kind of dragon boat race.

This time, on ice.

Wonderbroads, a team of breast cancer survivors (and classic dragon boat racers) and a team from the University of Windsor gave the ice version their best shot. The ice dragon boat races were a part of Ottawa's annual Winterlude festival.

Warren Creates, who guided the University of Windsor law school's team, described the boat as more like a bobseld.

"There are little ice picks on the bottom," said Wonderbroads team member Peggy Hurley. "The most difficult part is to try and get it off the line."

The ice boat only seats 12 where a regular dragon boat seats 18, so four of the Wonderbroads joined a different team to get the experience.

The sold-out event had 125 teams participate — registration actually sold out eight minutes after it opened, back in October. It was the third year of North American ice dragon boat racing.

A demonstration of the U Windsor team's ice dragon boat. (Submitted by Warren Creates)

"We bring the boats in usually a day or two before the event," said Creates. "There isn't much time for teams to practice."

Hurley said they were expecting the unexpected, but that coming from southwestern Ontario was a big disadvantage. They only got a 20-minute practice on the Friday. 

The on-ice dragon boats race is "more fun and recreational," than the classic summer version. 

"In the winter version, it's people getting out in the winter, less concerned about winning," said Creates. "It's really a lot of fun."

Two teams from Windsor competed in Ottawa in ice dragon boat racing. 0:34

Creates said he talked the UWindsor law team into participating in what's now the largest ice dragon boat race in the world. 

While the law school team didn't make it to semi-finals, the Wonderbroads did. 

The U Windsor team at the site of the race in Ottawa. (Submitted by Warren Creates)

"It was something different, something we hadn't done before," said Hurley. She said one of the hardest parts was "penguin" walking across the ice to get to the starting line. The Wonderbroads made it to the women's semi-finals in the C division.

"We were proud we could represent the community like this," said Hurley. "The uniqueness of this was really something."

With files from Arms Bumanlag and Angelica Haggert

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