The Okanagan has world champions in hockey, skiing, swimming, and now dragon boating.
At the Dragon Boat World Championships, Kelowna’s Jeremy Siddall brought home the hardware with seven gold medals.
He and the rest of Team Canada, who competed in various divisions, took home first place in all seven categories the team competed in.
Siddall, a member with the Okanagan Dragon Boat Racing Club, said the team was very happy with their performance.
“We knew we had a strong team going in and that we could do well,” said Siddall.
“It’s very competitive, it was not the ideal temperatures for us Canadians and every race was really tight, no blowouts.
“When we figured out we could sweep, the whole team was just vibrating at the start line. We wanted it; it was very cool.”
Siddall got involved with dragon boating shortly before moving to Kelowna for work.
Friends invited him out to check the sport out and have a few drinks on the water.
From there, his desire to pick up dragon boating, as well as other paddle sports, increased as he settled into the Okanagan.
Along side outrigger canoeing, Siddall pushed himself to get into the competitive sides for the sport, which included some traveling and dedication, including trying out for the national team with very little experience.
“I went to camps and got the coaching and learned the techniques,” said Siddall.
“I just did it a lot more, started competing in the highly competitive levels in the Lower Mainland and on the Island. And it just built from there.”
He said that he’s noticed an increased in interest in paddle sports in general and that Kelowna is the perfect place for recreationally getting involved.
He credits his fellow paddlers and coaches at the racing club with helping him succeed.
With his success in the dragon boat, Siddall is now hoping to add another paddle sport world championship to his resume.
“I swept in the golds in the dragon, now it’s time to improve in the outrigger canoe,” he said.
He had an eighth place in an outrigger championships prior to the dragon boat finals, and look to improve on that in 2020.
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