BDA National Championship 2017 @ Nottingham

This year, we entered the competition with many teams both 200m and 500m races: Henley Dragons in the Senior and Mixed category, Henley Hens in women, Henley Heads and Tails in Open and even a junior team. Thanks to all the paddlers from Pershore, Bristol and Preston who joined us for some of the categories. Special thanks to Geoff Bushnell who lent us his van to tow our boats.

A few words from our coach James Blake

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for the part you played in what was a logistical nightmare and a very testing weekend.

With time penalties and a DQs on Saturday, it proved to be as hard as we thought it would be. This meant some very last minute changes had to be made Sunday morning to prevent the same issues Sunday.

Henley’s first appeal in my 4 years with the team was thrown in for good measure in the 2km Grand Final for an impeachment from St Neots. In doing so we went from 5th to the 3rd meaning we finished 3rd overall in the 2k.

The Tails also did the shirt proud when I challenged them to try and catch St Neots by the 3rd and final turn. It appears I know nothing as when we came out of the first turn (430mtrs) the guys were doing a race start to overtake them! 2 boats were in front 15 seconds apart and the ‘Tails’ did them both with not a single boat getting anywhere near us!

Your achievements in the 2km meant we were bumped up from finishing 3rd overall to 2nd! For this my Silver medal goes to Pauline for everything you did with the ‘tails’. The ‘Heads’ may get it but it was because of you guys.

The second day saw even more excitement than the first…

With paddlers concerned about stamina and injury (and my sanity) a meeting was held early on Sunday between the Captains. The ladies had to sadly be pulled for not only welfare reasons but also tactical. This meant the Seniors could still run and their times from the 200s were looking promising.

It appears the decision paid off as the Seniors went on to win 2nd place losing out to Wraysbury who have paddled together since the 19th Century!

The BDA then announced that the ladies would go ahead as time had been made up. We were able to ‘acquire’ 4 ladies from another team to give us a full boat and the ‘Henley Hens’ did the club proud only losing out to league teams who have raced together all year.

Now it’s over to you ladies to race as an S12 next year and show them what you have got 🙂


Silver Medals for finishing 2nd Overall

3rd 200mtr Open

3rd 2000mtr Open

3rd 500mtr Open

2nd 500mtr Seniors

Not a bad weekend really!


The not so little paddling Machines ‘Henley Teen Titans’

3 x 200 mtr races on top of everything else with just 12 paddlers in an S20! Winning all 3 races by 15+ seconds and taking GOLD.

2 x 500 mtr races and doing times that were only 2 seconds off some of the mixed boats! GOLD again and again with only 12 paddlers! Power Saints were even allowed 2 extra paddlers but that didn’t put our Titans off at all!

These guys are doing their clubs proud

X2 Bristol

X1 Preston

X2 Pershore

X 10 Henley

I think they have proved their worth and ability and have shown us all their ability and talent is what will take us all on to greater things.

A special thanks goes to Linda, Badger, Adi, Julie, Chris and Pauline for running each boat and taking off some of the pressure. 46 people was a lot to manage 🙂

Also a few words from captain Mark Roberts

I would like to add a few more words. Firstly, to the whole team. It was a genuine pleasure paddling with all of you (most of the time!) and the smiles on people’s faces after the racing was done said it all to me. It was a great event and one I shall remember for a long time made all the more special by the people I shared the experience with.

Secondly, to all those people who did that bit extra to help out in whatever capacity that was, it’s one thing to be a captain but that is never possible without the little helpers!

Lastly to the one person without which nothing would have happened, James! His tireless activity in organising this event is what made it all happen in the end. This is also a constant during general club training and events and doing any of it without him would be a different kettle of fish! I know he doesn’t like the attention but a genuine and heartfelt thanks to him.

I look forward to seeing you all soon as my dragon boat grows ever larger.

We also passed on the trophy for the Best Improved Team to Purple Warriors.

And here are some videos from the weekend racing.

If you would like to have a go at dragon boating, just get in touch. We welcome new members of all abilities from age 11+ .

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