Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Space Coast Dragon Boat Camp

This camp is better known as The Pines (Resort) Dragon Boat Training Camp, none other than Jim Farintosh's camp that he ran for years with GWN and is now running independently after GWN moved to a new location. The Pines has a long history with canoe/kayak/rowing athletes who also share the location due to the protected straight canals and early spring good weather.  

There are more than dragon boats at the Pines!

I'll never forget being at the camp in April 2008 which was just months prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We paddled in our dragon boats as Canadian Olympians such as Adam van Koeverden and Tom Hall zoomed past. In fact, there were many Olympians there from several other countries, including USA, Germany, Holland, etc.   By the way, today is Adam's birthday!

In subsequent years, after the release of the Up! movie in 2009, we would frequently use the code SQUIRREL! on our boat so we knew when to snap our heads to the side as a sleek hulled canoe or kayak would sprint by powered by a well-muscled male or female paddler. Adam was attending his incredible 18th career Florida training camp that year in 2008 as they worked towards Canadian Olympic selection trials in May.  Go to http://vankayak.com/ to see Adam's site and blog entries.

"Squirrel!!" from the Up! movie (May 2009)

The camp is a week (6 days) in duration and includes twice daily paddles for over an hour per session, as well as daily talks on various important topics, warm-up and stretch sessions, and camp wide BBQ and social events.  It ends with a fun regatta and BBQ on the final Saturday, and usually includes a mid-week 8km round-trip paddle to the causeway to earn our "Causeway Club" bracelets. It's a great opportunity to network with paddlers from all over North America and some from beyond.  Campers may also sign up for optional Coaching certification and Outrigger canoe paddling.

Rusty Dragons Serge and Sal in OC-2 practice at the Pines

We usually get a half-day off after the Causeway paddle, when many of us head together to Cocoa Beach for some sun, surf, and SHOPPING!  While the camp is sold out for 2013, please don't hesitate to contact Jim Farintosh if you have any questions, or check out his Face Book page for the camp called "Space Coast Dragon Boat Camp".  It's a great way to kick start your season and make some new friends for life.

Cocoa Beach side trip from Pines after Causeway paddle

The Rusty Dragons will be there April 7-14, 2013 and are composed of many paddlers from Canada and the USA.  More on that team later!

Monday, 28 January 2013

MOF Chinese New Year Banquet

The Rusty Dragons will once again have a table of 10 at the annual Ministry of Finance Chinese New Year Banquet & Valentine's Dance. The event includes a 12-course Chinese banquet dinner, lion dance, on stage entertainment with singers and dancers, guest speakers, and many lucky draws for prizes. There will also be a Gangnam style dance competition for fun. 

The year of the Dragon is coming to a close, and soon it will be the Year of the Snake (lunar new year's day is actually Friday Feb.10). We will be handing out laisee (red lucky packets) for those born in the year of the snake.  Although Chinese New Year's day follows the lunar calendar and does not fall on January 1st, you must consult lunar calendars to see what your Chinese horoscope sign is (12-year cycle).  Generally, snakes were born years 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917, 1905,...

We have been coming to this banquet for several years at the invitation of event organizer Thomas Chong. Thomas is a big supporter of dragon boat racing, and we had met when I paddled occasionally with the Toronto Area Dragons whose coach at the time was Steve Kwok.  Steve was also my first coach on the OPS team he formed when I started racing in 2003.

I will be given the opportunity to provide a dragon boat update to the 500 in attendance on the Rusty Dragons, the PDBC Masters, and a special presentation to the OPS Diversity EANG Dragons. The EANG team will have a large presence at the event with 3 tables.  I will also be bringing my KayakPro dragon boat erg for a paddle demonstration and a VIP volunteer paddle and photo op! There will also be a dragon boat article and pictures in the event colour brochure.


Sunday, 27 January 2013

KRAKEN KREW Parents & Kids Team

I have been coaching a parents and kids dragon boat team since 2006 and this has been the most rewarding program of any that I have been involved with.  The idea of the team started after the Dec. 26, 2004 East Asian Tsunami. My daughter's school (Huron Street P.S.) had a former teacher whose parents founded and ran an orphanage in Sri Lanka called the Paynter Home. After the tsunami, there was an influx of orphaned children in the large area affected. The school raised money for the orphanage and as dragon boat racing is most often about raising money for charity I put two and two together and put together a team to raise additional money. We raised about $1500/year for a few years.  

I had already been doing dragon boat presentations to the school classes for years. This included kindergarten classes for which I was thankful to GWN for loaning me props such as dragon heads and tails, a drum, and their old 4' dragon boat model. At a snowy school assembly in November 2005 where I announced the team, I had a full roster of parents and kids sign up. That team is still going strong after 8 years, with a few original members still on the team.

Last year, the Kraken Krew team (named by a student contest) practiced once a week in May/June and competed at the 128th annual DDRA Canada Day Regatta on Toronto's Centre Island. They won "B" Division gold, beating out other all-adult teams. Our goal was to have good technique and timing, but have fun and patience on the water. That paid off with a boat length win!  In previous years, this team has placed as high as 3rd in the "A" Division.

Last year's team co-captains were Susie Pelenyi (an original team member) and my daughter Sarah (who paddled for the first time). My wife Yoka also paddled for the first time on this team. In all, I have had 9 different family members paddle on this team.  :)

The 2012 Kraken Krew team - "B" Division gold medalists

This coming season is now shaping up quickly, and we are in the process of booking our practice time slots with Balmy Beach (BBCC).

If anyone else is looking to create their own parents and kids teams, feel free to contact me regarding my experience and advice of making the program work. My e-mail address is Tim@RustyDragons.ca. I am looking to expand to run more similar teams in the future.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Rusty Dragons in the Bahamas!

The Bahamas were in our plans for April 2013 one way or the other. Initially, the Rusty Dragons had planned to take a full team (20 paddlers) to Albert MacDonald's week-long training camp in Freeport during the week of April 21-27. We were all looking forward to this, although it would have been disappointing to miss Jim Farintosh's "Pines Camp" for the first time in several years. When the Bahamas Camp was cancelled for this year due to planning issues that were out of Albert's control (on Bahamas side), we couldn't lose going back to our Pines Camp plans, but for Jim's Week #2 (April 14-21).

However, all along we had planned to offer a 4-day vacation extension to the camp via a stay at a friend's villa in Nassau. That will still happen (April 21-25) for an amazing special rate for the 4-days. At this time, there are likely only 2 spots left for the remaining room at the villa, on a first-come first-served basis. The Stargaze Villa is owned by "our" Rusty Dragons' Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) Keisha.  Some pictures of the villa are shown below.

Keisha has also supported the DDRA Canada Day Regatta by offering her RMT services at the 2012 event, and she will be doing so again at the 129th annual 2013 Canada Day event. We are also discussing plans to raise money for a charity with Keisha donating a major prize towards a draw for the contributing fundraisers. More details on this later, as well as the DDRA event itself, where I am one of the planning members.

Thank you Keisha for being a part of our dragon boat world!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

OPS Diversity EANG Dragons

This team is managed by the trio of Kit-Mei Chan, Zoe Lam, and Lele Chiu, and are coached by veteran coach St├ęphane Vertefeuille.  They are well on their way to putting together their 5th season for this team.

This team practices once a week at the Sunnyside Paddling Club (SPC) site on the western shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto.  They race at the annual DDRA Canada Day Regatta on Toronto's Centre Island, and have now started to expand their season to race at the Christie Lake Regatta in Hamilton in the fall.

The Rusty Dragons support the team since the beginning in small ways where needed.  I am very proud of this self-sufficient team, their leaders, and their accomplishments over the years.

The EANG team at the 2012 DDRA Canada Day Regatta
For information on this team, please contact:
  > Lele.Chiu@Ontario.ca, 
  > Kit-Mei.Chan@Ontario.ca, or 
  > Zoe.Lam@Ontario.ca

Good luck to the team in 2013!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

First Blog Entry of 2013

I have just recreated this BLOG account in order to start fresh and use this one account for all things related to dragon boat racing and life in general.

It's the start of the new year and I am looking forward to working with my valuable business partners and friends at the Balmy Beach Canoe Club (BBCC) and the Dominion Day Regatta Association (DDRA).  

This is a shout-out to the leaders at BBCC, including Gaynor Reader, Heather Smith, Russ Dunn (retired), Don May, Dave Moore, etc.

website: www.balmybeachcanoe.com

I also wanted to send a shout-out to the DDRA, including Gaynor Reader, Dave Moore, Judy Sutcliffe, Judy Tutty, Attila Nagy, Chris Hartmann, Joe Lyttle, Bo Fejes, Don May, Ken Butler, Kelly Brigley, Kerri Langois, and many others.

website: www.DDRA.ca

The 129th annual DDRA Canada Day Regatta is this summer at Toronto's Centre Island, and all dragon boat teams are welcome to register to race and try to win prestigious DDRA silver mugs and medals (per person)!  

I am also greatly looking forward to the PDBC Masters team I have re-joined since we last raced in Macau China in 2010.  We race at Canadian Championships in Victoria BC in August 2013, and then race at the IDBF World Club Crew Championships in Ravena Italy in August 2014.  More on all these things in my future blog entries.  

My own Rusty Dragons teams are starting to take shape, as well as the teams that I indirectly support.  I wish all paddlers, coaches, and team captains all the best this summer.  

Paddles up!