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Women In Paddling

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dragon Boat Camp

I fell into dragon boating nearly 10 years ago. I used to say, "by accident", but life has showed me there's rarely an accident. It's been an interesting evolution, my life as a dragon boater. There was a time when it wasn't my thing and I would spend hours thinking about my new favorite paddling thing, Outrigger Canoe paddling. Living in the Midwest presents some obstacles for competing in OC-6 paddling so I had to reserve it as a paddling favorite with different expectations. And so I've become a dragon boat junkie seeking out races across North America and Canada. I love the competition. I love trying to achieve the team mentality with 2o others. I love coaching new teams and getting people who would have otherwise never picked up a paddle fired up about learning an efficient, powerful stroke. I love the feeling when it all comes together personally and as a team. I love Flow.

This past April, armed with my trusty Kialoa hybrid dragon boat paddle, I attended dragon boat camp in Tampa, Florida. Yep, you heard me right. I wanted to learn more, improve my skills, pick up some coaching tips and jump start my on-water season. The camp was beyond my expectations and I can assure you that I will be making this a regular part of my spring.

Here's a clip from one of the section-specific training. We were focusing on "the engine room" or "the middle eight" of the dragon boat. The engine room is usually regarded as the source of power in the boat. Usually occupied by men due to size and need to balance the boat, we were short on the dude-factor and I had a chance to sit in a seat I'm not familiar with. The feeling of that power was truly awesome. Coach Andrew Fox, a highly decorated paddler and coach from Toronto sits up front as our motivator.

Two weeks later, I'm still reminiscing about camp and wishing I could paddle that intensely twice a day followed by the camaraderie of like minded people. Life calls and even if I did break from work twice a day for paddling, I would be hard pressed to find 21 others that could do the same! So it's back to personal training, weekly team practices and looking forward to festivals and races this summer. Make sure to come find Kialoa and myself this June at the Rio Tinto AlCan Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver, BC June 18th-20th ! We'll be there with demo paddles to share why we think a hybrid paddle is great for dragon boating!



Blogger GMH said...

I know the feeling. I'm new to the sport, and am seeking out every possible way to paddle, and to be able to afford to do so around the world. Wish me luck! gmh

August 4, 2010 at 1:30 PM  

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