Camden Haven paddler Fran Jordan has celebrated her 89th birthday and a state accolade as she becomes the oldest active paddler in NSW.
Mrs Jordan is a national and state competitor as well as a founding member for the Camden Haven Dragon Boat Club.
She originally retired to Laurieton after working with young offenders in the juvenile justice system and began competing in sport in 2008 when the club was formed.
"I was very surprised to find out that I was the oldest active paddler because I've met a lot of paddlers in my age group at competitions along the Mid North Coast. When a club officer told me I was very surprised," she said.
"I've been paddling since the club was formed in 2008 but I'd never tried the sport before that. Initially a friend of mine who was paddling with a different club, asked me if I wanted to have a go at it.
"I'd never been in a boat at all and it was all very new. I enjoy the combination of the beautiful river, the social interaction and being able to get into state and national titles to carry it on.
"I'm usually in the back of the boat where they need the power. I was put there in the first place because it was a small seat and they said 'we need a good strong paddler at the back all the time', so there I sit.
"All of my friends are very supportive of me and they are all a caring lot. The competitive drive is still there in me and as long as I can get in the boat I will continue."
Mrs Jordan said she credits her success to a social atmosphere and keeping active.
"Dragon boating is such a good sport for every age and I enjoy it very much. We paddle twice a week on the river for an hour each time," she said.
"I also do a lot of walking and I walk my golden retriever Sally about three times a day. I think that when people get older if they can just keep moving it is better for them mentally and physically.
"I say to them, come down and look at us in the boat going out because it's quite a sight to see the 20 person boat on the river."