Family eat, sleep and paddle together

THERE are very few sports where dad, mum and the kids can all play together and even fewer that can also offer everyone a chance to represent their State.

The discipline of dragon boat racing is one sport that does, and the Webster family of Yamba is testament to what the fledgling sport can offer.

Peter Webster, his wife Angela and children, Molly, 14, and Ben, 12, are all dragon boat paddlers and members of the Grafton Dragon Boat Club.

Last weekend the family competed in the sport's national titles all representing NSW.

“I'm not sure if an other family has every achieved the feat in dragon boat racing, it certainly makes me feel great about the clan,” proud dad Peter said.

“Angela and I got into paddling a few years ago and the kids have followed us through.

“It's a great sport and when you live near such a beautiful river as the Clarence. It just lends itself to the sport growing on you.”

Peter's performance to make the NSW mixed team is a tribute to his dedication. The 40-something athlete had half his left leg amputated following a bike accident when he was 26.

For a number of years he was a champion weightlifter, holding Australian titles, and he narrowly missed out in going to two Paralympics.

“I lifted weights for more than a decade and twice when the Paralympics loomed I suffered injuries and lost my chance,” he said.

“I now glad I've found an even better sport to pursue and I can do it with all my family.”

The Webster family was joined by six other members of the Grafton Dragon Boat Club at the national titles in Caloundra.

More than 1500 competitors from all parts of Australia participated in the titles, revealing the strength of what was once regarded as just a fun sport.

The Grafton club is always on the look out for new members and anyone interested should contact Martin Thompson 0438 453 794.

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