Ice dragon boat competitor and grandmother of four reflects on the hobby she found late in life

Linda Nimshon found her passion for paddling nine years ago, at 49

When Linda Nimshon received an email about the first Tim Hortons IDBF World Crew ICE Dragon Boat Festival that was taking place this year in Ottawa, she knew she really wanted to compete in it.

The dragon boater and outrigger paddler at the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club had trouble finding a single ice dragon boater on the island or even in all of B.C. to team up with, let alone corralling the ten women it would take to row the boats on ice.

She decided to sign up as an individual.

“I thought, ‘Jeez, that’d be different to do,’ and ‘I’ve never done that,’ so I decided to give it a try,” Nimshon said.

ALSO READ: Vancouver Island women golden at national dragon boat championships

After a while, she received an email from organizers that teams were full and there were no spares needed, but they had received interest from enough women and decided to put them together.

Nimshon was placed in a crew that assembled five other women from Newfoundland.

“Coast to coast,” the Victoria native said.

Another crew member was from the Czech Republic and one had flown in from London, England.

“We’d never met each other.”

The crew continued to “touch base” over the phone before the event, Nimshon said. When they got together they “just clicked.”

“We absolutely got along,” she added. They had around 20 minutes to practice during the afternoon before beginning the chilling “Shiver & Giver” event at nightfall.

The women on the team had all raised money to be a part of their first ice dragon boat charity race.

“It’s amazing that we were able to pick it up quickly and learned how to use the sticks because they’re unusual,” she said.

Glacial Globetrotters had 20 minutes to practice before their first race (Submitted

The next day, the team started by paddling two 500-meter races in the morning and two more in the afternoon, placing them into the semi finals and in the Final “B” race, before being knocked out. Their best time in the 500 meters was 1:06.

Nine years ago, Nimshon, 58, who was active when she was younger, realized she missed doing sports being a busy mom.

“I met a woman who said, ‘You know, you should try dragon boating,” she recalls. At first, she said she was afraid and thought, “‘Well, I don’t know how to do that.’” Then she realized it may help her relieve some stress.

“Then I started dragon boating. I moved up the ladder from recreational to more advanced groups and went to nationals with Fairway Gorge in Welland, Ont.,” she said.

The following year, she was unable to continue paddling competitively due to “a very stressful situation” in her personal life.

Nimshon developed PTSD and said she used “paddling as therapy.”

She said paddling has helped to ease her mind.

“I can take it out on the water and the water’s very forgiving,” she said with a laugh. “You can put all your sadness and your frustrations into the water, and the only way it fights back is tossing you into the water.”

ALSO READ: Paddle power: Gorging Dragons victorious at Dragon Boat Festival

Padding and out-rigging has given Nimshon a reason to visit Nanaimo, Welland, Vancouver and Hawaii. For three years, she participated in the BC 55+ games.

Nimshon’s family, whose support she said she always counts on, includes two children and four grandchildren.

Looking back, Nimshon is pleased with the hobby she found late in life and nevertheless turned into a passion.

“I’m grateful to have been on each and every boat, with each and every paddler and with each and every club because that has allowed me to achieve a great deal of friendships, sportsmanship and memories,” she said.

Glacial Globetrotters, Nimshon’s circumstantial team from Ottawa, are thinking of competing together again next year.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Green New Deal meeting in Sooke part of a larger movement

Humanity has 4,000 days left before it will be too late

Small crews battle ravenous invasive bullfrogs that gobble up native species

American bullfrogs diet includes smaller native frogs, local salamanders and songbirds

Council pursues water line extension for north Sooke

Properties affected by Highway 14 project may see water service

ArtsAlive voting begins Thursday in Oak Bay

Residents can vote for the 2019 ArtsAlive top prize

Tuesday will be mainly cloudy

Plus your weekly forecast

Oak Bay mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Jury to make recommendations based on death of Elliot Eurchuk, 16

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

EDITORIAL: Sooke council’s pot approach an opportunity lost

When the federal government tabled Bill 36 in September 2018, it threw… Continue reading

Sooke residents can’t be trusted to have dogs off-leash

Council delegation questions why five of seven restricted parks are in Sooke

Most Read