Having been living in Exeter for a couple of years I was looking for an active and social club to join (primarily in search of like minded drinkers!). I'd seen the dragon boat on the river a few times but only decided to brave the slightly menacing shouting and drum beating after seeing a few members recruiting with the race boat in the middle of town.
I found you'd really have to try very hard (or not speak a single word of English) not to find a few like minded people in the club. After getting the hang of it (which seemed to take me longer than most) I re-discovered that I love the competition and the racing, something I didn't realise I'd been missing since swimming in school days.
Barely 12 months since joining the club, with great encouragement and help from the Exe-Calibre team (with paddling, gym, diet etc.) I've just qualified to race in the Great Britain Premier Open Crew AND the Great Britain Mixed Crew at the World Championships in Florida this August.
For me racing with Exe-Calibre is the best part of Dragon Boating and there's a space in the club for anyone - from social loafer looking for some exercise to hyper competitive paddling obsessive.
Jon Lobb - May 2011
I joined Exe-Calibre in January 2009 at the age of twelve and I was hooked very quickly. Up until very recently I was the youngest member of Exe-Calibre but I always feel like a valued member of the club. I raced in my first league event after I had been paddling for 3 months and last year I was selected to race with the open crew at all nine National League events and the National Cup finals.
I began training with the British National Training Squad Under 18 crew last year and was selected to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Amsterdam in August. We raced over 3 distances 200, 500 & 2000 metres and although we just missed out on medalling it was still an amazing experience.
I am now training hard for the 2011 season with Exe-Calibre and with the GB Under 18 squad. I've just been selected to go to the World Championships in Florida in August 2011. I train on the water 4 or 5 times a week either in the dragon boat with the rest of the crew or in an 01 which is a converted racing kayak designed for individual training. I also do some weight training.
Alex Windsor - March 2011
With my children getting older and finally finding some independence I wanted to find an activity to force a better work life balance, something new to help me keep fit as running was getting boring plus I needed a new challenge and wanted to meet new people! I started paddling in May 2010 and haven't looked back since. In the first few months I felt I'd never get it right but paddling is completely addictive and I now feel withdrawal symptoms if I miss a training session - which I only do if I really have to! As a sport it is great for keeping fit and getting out in the fresh air, no matter what the weather; it gets the adrenaline flowing nicely and you have the amazing feeling that only competing with a team gives you.
As an added bonus I have the absolute privilege to now be able to call my team mates my friends and have a social life my teenaged sons are in awe of. I have never laughed so much or had so much fun in all my life. Come and join us, you won't regret it!
Tracey Roberts - January 2011