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Hundreds watch crews battle it out at boat festival

PUBLISHED: 20:56 31 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:33 01 September 2019

The Waverider Buoys team celebrate a win at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Waverider Buoys team celebrate a win at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

Hundreds of spectators lined the banks of the Broads as 15 crews battled it out on the water at the East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival.

Team members working hard at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYTeam members working hard at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

From competitive races to bouncy castles, there was plenty to keep families entertained at the Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad on Saturday.

A total of 18 hotly contested heats took place before nine crews made it through to the semi-finals.

Three boats then battled it out in the final with Netmatters Ltd being crowned the champions.

Team members working hard at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYTeam members working hard at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Event organiser, Lucy Morton, was delighted with how well the event went.

She said: "It was a fantastic day helped by the lovely weather.

"I think everybody had a great time and there was a lot of really close races.

One team ready for the race as they make their way to the start line at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOne team ready for the race as they make their way to the start line at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"It's all for a great cause and I'm sure we've raised lots of money for the different charities."

Among the charities to benefit were RNLI Lowestoft Lifeboat, Caister Lifeboat, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Nelson's Journey.

The crews were made up of competitors from more than 20 different companies and organisations.

Team members working hard at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYTeam members working hard at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dragon boat racing is Britain's fastest growing corporate team building activity and involves crews using paddles to drive themselves through the water in an attempt to cross the finish line before their competitors.

Danny Kaie, 37, from Lowestoft, competed in the first heat for James Fisher Marine Services.

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"It was good fun but by the end my arms felt like jelly," he said.

"It's been a really nice day and the great thing is it's all for charity."

Lorraine George, from Carlton Colville, said she was impressed by the standard of the races.

One of the teams is shown how to row at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOne of the teams is shown how to row at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She said: "There were a lot of close heats which kept things very interesting.

"I really enjoyed the day and hope the event has raised lots of money for the great causes."

The event, which was sponsored by Warner Leisure Hotels and supported by the Lowestoft Journal, entertained more than 300 people.

Boats line up at the race start at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBoats line up at the race start at the East Anglian Dragon Boat festival at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Crews included QD Stores, Lovewell Blake, Netmatters, OneLife Suffolk, Colosseum Dental, Associated British Ports, Scottish Power Renewables, Grosvenor Casino and Continental Product Engineering.

The NHS Health Check team from OneLife Suffolk also offered free screenings throughout the day designed to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

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