Dragon Slayers

Ancient Chinese boats inspired local women to get paddling.

“Dragon boat” isn’t a term that is used often in daily conversation—unless you’re Lisa Banning Enders or Karen Anderson, who started the Off the Edge Dragon Boat racing team five years ago. A dragon boat, for those who might not know, is a long, low boat with 20 paddlers, a drummer (who sits in the bow and sets the pace for the paddlers’ strokes by beating a drum or calling out) and a steersperson.
The team found and restored their newest boat, which is now white with blue waves, with the help of White Bear Boat Works. “We had to deal with some rot, and re-fiberglass things; [it was] just a lot of sanding and a lot of painting.” Anderson says.

With 28 women on the roster, age 27 to 65, the team meets three times a week to practice, and attends four or five festivals each year. Teamwork is something they seem to all agree is most important. “We’re all right there. We’re all in the boat together,” Enders says. “We’ve got one goal: To get to the finish line as quickly as we can.”

Off the Edge Dragon Boat
Manitou Days in White Bear Lake
June 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.