Venture Outdoors Festival (VO Fest)
Thanks to all of the wonderful Paddlefish volunteers who have signed up to help take people out for their first paddle in a dragon boat next Saturday (May 20, 2006) at the Venture Outdoors Festival on the North Shore near Heinz Field. Last year, almost 6000 people came to the VO Fest, but among the participants I remember most are a young man named Phil who got out of the boat after paddling for the first time, punched the air, and hollered, "That was freakin' awesome!" -- and, of course, Rich, who introduced himself to the team by handily tripping Lisa as she stepped up out of the boat. ;-)
We’ll take the boats out once/hour, with the first group of paddlers going out at 11 AM and the last group going out at 3 PM. Anyone interested in going out on the boats will register at our tent, get some quick on-land instruction (how to hold the paddle, basic commands, safety guidelines), and then go out on the water in the two boats for a general intro to paddling and then a little scrimmaging against the other boat.
This is also a great chance to let know people how they can get more time in the dragon boats this summer! Opportunities include the recreational once/week TRRA Dragon Boat Leagues (Tuesday night for adults, Thursday night for youth who want to learn to paddle a dragon boat), the Paddlefish teams (adult team and junior team), and community teams that form in order to race at the Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival on September 16th.
People might ask you about the difference between joining the rec league and joining the Pfish.... Paddlefish are all year-round TRRA members who practice two or three times a week with a professional coach and have the opportunity to travel to and compete in races around the world. The recreation league is less of an initial investment and an excellent way to learn more about the sport: participants get once/week practice for four weeks and then race in a local event on a Saturday after their last practice. (Total cost for the Dragon Boat League is $65; scholarships are available through TRRA.)
Info on all of these opportunities is available via the TRRA web site at www.threeriversrowing.org, so you can tell people to check that site or to google us (Pittsburgh Paddlefish) and find information through our blog.