by Alina Rylko
THE Rainbow Region Dragon Boat Club Regatta at Shaws Bay, East Ballina, on Saturday, was a fun-filled affair despite several obstacles.
The notorious Northern Rivers flu hit several participants of the annual competition between Queensland and NSW dragon boat clubs.
Fourteen teams from as far as Campsie and Manly in Queensland, the Gold Coast and Murwillumbah made their way to Ballina early on Saturday morning for the highly anticipated regatta.
On the way, a tragic head on car collision near Grafton killed one man at abound 8:30am and halted traffic.
Traffic was congested until 2pm around the M1 Pacific Motorway, near Summerland Way and the Bruxner Highway entry/exits.
Two teams travelling to the Rainbow Region Boat Club Regatta arrived to the bay only 10 minutes before the first race at 1pm.
However, the Rainbow Bay Boat Club regatta rallied on.
An extra four boats were brought in from other nearby clubs so the starting race could get under way.
Rainbow Region Dragon Boat Club president Elizabeth Woodbry, of Ballina, said in the hotly contested State of Origin race Queensland beat NSW.
Lucky for Qld, it was for the second year in a row.
"The wind dropped down, it's easier for the sweeps to line up and we haven't had any flips,” Ms Woodbry said on Saturday.
"Everyone is just fighting the flu and a lot of team are short because of it.
"It's been a great day.”
The Dragon Boat Club is based at the Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreation Centre, Lennox Head.
It started more than 10 years ago by a group of breast cancer survivors and was sponsored by the Lions Club.
It has since grown to more than 70 members, with both sports and survivors' teams.
Everyone paddles together, but there are some regattas specific to survivors and their supporters.
"There is one great team that includes breast cancer survivors called the Titavators,” Ms Woodbry said.
"They're very formidable, and come to the regatta every year.”
The Regatta finished with sprints and community teams on Sunday.