Yesterday saw the maiden voyage of Oxford Paddlers For Life – and we believe the first dragon boat based in Oxford. After parking up and walking down to the Isis Farmhouse, Esmee and Chris gave us our safety briefing and worked out who’d sit where. We had lots of lovely people come to help us out from clubs all over the country; Sarah took some photos of some of the various tops people were wearing, and the picture below gives some idea of how many different clubs were represented. A massive thank you to everyone who came along!

Janet presented Anne-Marie with a wonderful new drumstick with our logo on it, hand crafted by a friend of hers.

The new drumstick looks awesome!

The next challenge was to get the dragon boat out and onto the water for the first time – it needed a little shunting about to get around some tight corners, but everyone worked great together and it wasn’t long before we had the boat on the water and everyone sat inside raring to go!

Some pictures paint a thousand words, so here are some shots of everything in action…

Pushing the boat out…
The crew in position
Janet kept us in time with the drum
Chris reversed us out from the launch ramp

Chris took the helm and coached us expertly, with some assistance from Janet at the front too. We made a couple of runs downstream to the railway bridge and back, with Chris introducing various different elements to help us learn the technique – including paddling with our eyes closed, which was interesting!

It didn’t take her long to wear us out, but we all had big grins on our faces.

Paddles up!

Esmee then took over on the helm and guided us back to base with aplomb.

Esmee on the helm

It was then a team effort to get the boat back on the dolly and return to the pub, where we then had a quick warm down.

Warming down

After tidying everything away we then had time for a drink and some lunch, before we all had to say our good byes.

Lunch at the Isis Farmhouse

A massive thanks to everyone who came along, especially to Chris for all the time she’s given and her superb coaching. We’re all looking forward to the next paddle!