By Mackenzie Myatt
=Dragon boats are coming to Porters Lake this summer, thanks to Trevor Marshall and Jason MacKenzie’s company, Narrows 9 Dragons.
Marshall is a former Canoe-Kayak National Team Coach and current Training Officer for HRM Fire. Fitness has always been a priority in his life. His experience includes body building, cross-training, coaching Junior and Olympic athletes, guiding his two sons to play professional soccer,
and coaching his wife Sarah Cameron through a canoe-kayak career leading to multiple World Cups and the 2000 Olympics. (She is a strong behind the scenes influence on the Narrows 9 Dragons team.)
MacKenzie has made a career in applying and introducing dragon boating to different countries and communities. He brought dragon boating to the United Arab Emirates, and became President of their Dragon Boat Association and primary race organizer.
“We’re working together to create an energetic club for members to reach their athletic goals,” Marshall said. “All of our programs are specifically designed to be inclusive and capture all age groups.” Marshall says that people fall in love with the sport: “Honestly, once people get hooked on this, they will never look back.”
The company will be hosting the First Annual Dragon Boat Festival at Cicero’s on Porters Lake on Saturday, July 13. There’ll be racing, BBQ, live music, and a free T-shirt for all competitors with a medal ceremony to top it off. The event will introduce the community to dragon boats and raise money for cancer.
“The donation is going to be kept in house with fire fighters of our union and their families who face cancer in our department local 268,” Marshall said. “Because it sits so close to all of us as fire fighters, Narrows 9 Dragons wants to be able to contribute to those who face the battle.”
Each colourful dragon boat is 40 feet long and 45 inches at its widest point. They hold 20 racers plus a person who steers and a person who drums. They are made out of wood and fiberglass, weighing 600lbs each. Cicero’s will be running everything out of their tiki bar, serving BBQ-style food. Races are typically 200 meters long; the boat crews will be mixed male and female. Hit singer turned fire fighter Chad Doucette will be performing live. (Locals will remember Doucette was 3rd runner up in the Canadian Idol in 2006.) ]=
Local HRM firefighters will be participating in the first race. “You can put your own team together,” Marshall said. “We are going to drum up businesses both locally and in HRM to enter a boat, which gives them two free practices before the event. It’s a great corporate team building event. With fire fighters, it’s all about TEAM.”
Narrows 9 Dragons programming will be available to all from May to September at 9 Narrows Lane, Porters Lake. “We’re putting together programs for everyone,” Marshall said. “As we grow, we will build a premier level that will be a serious group of people who will compete internationally. This will take time, baby steps for now. We just want to show the community that Dragon Boating is for everyone here.”
And for people with kids, all Narrows 9 Dragons programs offers child care, ages 5-12 at $5/h. While parents are on the water, their children will have their own activities. He says you can register online. (narrows9dragons.com)
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://www.narrows9dragons.com.