Thursday, September 29, 2011

The kayaking author on the Oklahoma River, with Dragon Boats in the foreground.
Photo taken by Leslie Berger.
By Nancy Condit

At a media event held Wednesday by Oklahoma City University, I went out in a recreational kayak from the Chesapeake Boathouse, with the help of Charles Langley getting into it from the floating dock.  My findings -- there is actually water in the North Canadian - Oklahoma River --  enough that I found myself thinking of the river in terms of distance across it.  The kayak was so light that it was no trouble to paddle for half an hour on a calm day.  I've body surfed in both oceans, canoed on lakes and the Illinois, and white water rafted in Colorado, but I've rarely been so happy being on the water in Oklahoma.  It actually is possible for a not well-muscled writer to have a wonderful time.

Should you wish to watch the more in shape athletes, and some amateurs in great races in the Oklahoma Regatta this weekend, here's the info:

The Dragon Boat USA National Championships is the new event this year.  The Chinese sport began centuries ago with Chinese fishing vessels.  The highly decorated boats, including a dragon's head on the bow, resemble canoes.  A drummer at the front of the boat sets the rhythm for the paddlers, usually about 20.  This writer was unable to confirm whether these races would be Friday or Saturday night, but the press release lists them as Saturday night, at 6 P.M. or after.

Dragon Boat USA will host a CLINIC from 9 A.M. to 2 P.M. FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30 at the Chesapeake Boathouse.  Cost is $100 per person.  TRYOUTS for the national team are $20 per person and will take place at the Chesapeake Boathouse from 9 A.M. to noon SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2.
Participants for each event must be at least 15 years old and previous dragon boat experience is required.

For more info or to register for events, visit

The Oklahoma Regatta Festival is a four-day event featuring rowing, kayaking, stand-up paddle board and dragon boat racing on the Oklahoma River in downtown Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District. The 2011 festival includes family activities, the Oklahoma City University Head of the Oklahoma Regatta, OGE NightSprints, blu VIP Party, USA Rowing World Challenge, USA Dragon Boat National Championships, and Corporate Racing. Learn more at

Friday, September 30
11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — USA Rowing World Challenge Heats (2000m); Kayak Relays (4x200m)


6-10 p.m. — Festival activities
7-10 p.m. — USA Rowing World Challenge Night Racing Finals (500m) and Corporate Night Racing

Saturday, October 1
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. — Festival activities
9 a.m. — USA Rowing World Challenge Finals (2000m)
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Head of the Oklahoma racing
5:30 p.m. — Kayak Youth Racing (2,000m)
6-10 p.m. — OGE NightSprints ( Stand Up Paddle Board Relay Races (100m), Head of the Oklahoma, kayak, USA Rowing World Challenge and Dragon Boat USA National Chapionship finals)

Sunday, October 2
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.  — Head of the Oklahoma finishes
Noon — Awards ceremony

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