Dragon Boat Racing

And now for something completely different…

On June 11, I participated in my first dragon boat race competition. It was harder than expected, but soooo much fun. It was sponsored by Bay Area Dragons. They were awesome – they provided boats for practice, instructors, gear… Fantastic organization.

Bay Area Dragons

In May, my novice team and I started our practices. Now, when I say novice, I mean to say that some people on my team had never even gone canoeing or kayaking.

My team! (I’m in the middle…)

It was definitely hard learning to paddle in sync. It was also hard learning all the terminology. I’m tall so was always in the middle of the boat, as part of what they call the “engine room.” That’s where the bigger paddlers are who can provide power. Now, that sounds like a good strategy. However, when the person in front is significantly shorter than you, it causes a lot of paddle clinking – I have a long reach and she, well… didn’t. 🙂 Each practice and, unfortunately, day of the competition, it took a bit of time for us to get in sync. And, then there were the challenges of the other 18 novice paddlers. Haha!
We only had 3 practices before the competition so I wasn’t sure how well we would do. And then, when I got to the event, I saw sooooooo many teams. And, teams who had their own gear – paddles, life vests. Or, PFDs for the cool people. Gulp. Was getting nervous. And, it was crazy windy. The morning started with winds around 12mph and the afternoon saw up to 19mph. Probably no biggie for the seasoned paddlers, but definitely an added challenge for us newbies.

Race day!!!

The good and the bad is that we were in “Division D,” which meant we were the novices of the novices. I was ok with that. It felt fair. After 4 challenging races, we came in first in our division. Woohoo! It was certainly a good feeling, especially since I gave it my all in the final. Would I do it again? Probably. It’s nice to try different activities.

The team before the competition
Division D 1st Place! With a grumpy child who was ready to go home…

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