The Nehalem-based Wasabi TideRunners dragonboat team finished fourth at the Salem World Beat Festival races on June 30.
The women’s team competed against more than 20 other teams on a course set in the Willamette River at Waterfront Park.
In addition to finishing well, the team also held the best overall time of the 250 meter races at 1:01.21.
Coach Char von Ahlefeld, of Manzanita, said she was pleased with the team’s performance.
“The team showed their athletic prowess to come in a boat length ahead in our second race,” said von Ahlefeld. “I could not have been more proud. This was our Zen race to be sure!”
Margie Nielson, of Wheeler, was the steersperson for the races, and she said this event provided some interesting challenges.
“It was difficult to deal with the effects of wind, current and tides at the starting line, and then to hold that position until the start,” said Nielson.
She added that maintaining her balance during the race was also important as the person steering stands up for the ride. “Lose the steers, lose the race, she said.
The boats used for the Salem race were 10-person boats, somewhat smaller than 22 person boats the team is accustomed to paddling.
Von Ahlefeld siad the Tiderunners went to the Wasabi Paddling Club location on the Willamette River the weekend prior to the race “to give our newbies a chance to practice in a 10-person boat, which are smaller, tippy boats like those we would be paddling in Salem.”
And while most of the TideRunners have experience racing, a few paddlers participated for the first time in Salem. Sue McGrath of Manzanita was enthusiastic at the end of the day.
“Everything we practiced worked,” McGrath said. “And we had the best time of the day for any of the women’s teams. Now I’m hooked!”
The team is still recruiting paddlers, women ages 16 and up. Practices start at the Nehalem city dock on Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Anyone interested in joining the team, contact von Ahlefeld at 306-904-3899 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.