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The Villages Leathernecks Dragon Boat Team

The Leathernecks Dragon Boat Team

Ah, Retirement – time to sit back, relax, and reflect on life. Not anymore and certainly not for the Leathernecks Dragon Boat Racing Team of The Villages, a retirement community in Florida! This racing team is a National Champion – taking home the “Gold Medal” in the 200 meter race and a “Silver Medal” in the 500 and 2,000 meter races in the 2010 USDBF Club Crew National Championships.

The 24 member Leathernecks Dragon Boat Team is comprised of former and retired U.S. Marines and their wives or significant others, whose average age is 66. The slang term “Leatherneck” is used to describe United States Marine Corps members and originated from the leather collar formerly part of the uniform, worn for protection of the neck during sword combat. A fitting name for our retirees!

Watch Team Leatherneck footage from the 2010 USDBF National Championships.

Though these Leathernecks are no longer protecting their necks from swords, they are protecting themselves from UV. Many of the team’s members are battling skin cancer in one form or another and spend countless hours training and racing in the sun. The Coolibar Short Sleeve Swim Shirt provides UPF 50+ protection for Team Leatherneck, to which their dermatologists are celebrating. You can’t keep these guys off the water!

The Villages Leathernecks practice two days a week on Lake Dora and spend another two days lifting weights and physically training. Their fierce competitive spirit has earned them the respect and admiration of the many much younger teams in the Florida Dragon Boat Circuit. The Leathernecks serve as a reminder that life doesn’t end at retirement, in fact for many, it’s just begun.

The 2011 World Championships will be held in Tampa, Florida this August. Here’s to another Gold Medal for The Villages Leathernecks Dragon Boat Team!

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  • Gary

    Very Cool that you guys are doing the dragon boat races….good luck I think there is an upcoming competition in Tavares FL Apr 8th.
    I hope to attend the fireworks and races! Good luck!

  • Nadine Lowden

    Great article on the dragon boat racers. I have had melanoma so never expose my skin (arms and legs) to the sun. I use alot of coolibar clothing throughout the summer but would never go out so exposed as these racers. What do they use on their skin to allow this type of activity? My skin burns very easily.

  • Kathy Overton

    Impressive. I was surprised though that all of the rowers were wearing short sleeved shirts, shorts, and almost no one wearing hats. This seems risky for anyone given the Flordia sun and the water reflection, and especially so for people already dianosed with skin cancer. Even with sun screen I believe they are putting theirselves in harms way for a cause focused on protecting against skin cancer. Melanoma survivor.

  • aoberg

    They must have left their hats in the boat! Full sun protection includes a wide-brim hat, UV sunglasses, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 or greater and sun protective clothing.

  • Donna Boatwright

    lLooking forward to seeing you for the Neuse River race in June.

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