Although the weather forecast is cool with a chance of rain on Saturday, paddlers will stay dry as they compete in the April Fools Indoor Regatta at the Penticton Community Centre on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted by Don Mulhall)

Paddlers to race at indoor regatta

Event will be held at Penticton Community Centre on Saturday morning

Although the weather forecast calls for cool, cloudy and rainy weather on Saturday, organizers of a regatta in Penticton are promising warm, calm conditions with no chance of rain as paddlers compete in the April Fools Indoor Regatta.

The regatta will be held at the Penticton Community Centre Saturday, April 6 at 9 a.m.

The event uses paddling ergometers, similar to the rowing machines in gyms.

Computer monitors keep track of the paddler’s progress, and the races will be broadcast on a giant TV screen.

Paddlers will race individually in two heats before being placed on relay teams for the grand finale. The racing format allows paddlers of all levels to compete side by side.

RELATED: Upcoming opportunities for dragon boat paddling in Penticton

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“The paddle machines are fantastic for racing, dryland training and coaching,” said Don Mulhall, race director and coach. “They measure a number of training paramaters including speed, stroke rate, distance and time down to the hundredth of a second. Plus they allow you to coach while standing right next to your athlete, something you can’t do as easily in a moving boat.”

Penticton’s dragon boat community has a fleet of paddling machines at the Penticton Community Centre for several years, allowing paddlers to train over the winter while the lake is frozen, or the weather too cold.

Canada’s national teams use paddling machines for their training and time trials for potential crew members.

There are similar indoor events across the country and through the United States.

For more information about dragon boat paddling and the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival, or to join a team, email Mulhall at don@pentictondragonboat.com or call at 250-488-3100.

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