Gung Haggis Dragon Boat Team

The Gung Haggis Dragon Boat team is based on multicultural principles of inclusivity and the emphasis of cultural values.  It attracts people who are interested in recreational paddling and want it with a taste of cultural experiences.

Dragon Boat racing is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world.  Its origins date back to 1000 BC in China.  Dragon boats were introduced to Canada during Expo 86 in Vancouver.  Four wooden boats were donated by the Hong Kong Tourism Bureau.  I watched the first races but it wasn't until 1993 when I first joined a team. The Headliners team won the inaugural Novice Division cup that year, and I have been hooked ever since. 

Dragon boat paddling really is for everybody.  There are teams composed of breast cancer survivor women, seniors, transplant recipients, social clubs, work groups, etc.  I have been lucky to paddle beside high calibre atheletes who have competed at the World Dragon Boat Championships – very inspiring.  But mostly I paddle with friends who want to exercise recreationally and go for beers and appies afterwards!

I organized my own team in 1997, created for the Celebration of Life Centre, a spiritual New Thought centre in Vancouver.  I would apply the Ministers' lesson for daily living into a working application of sport psychology.  It was a wonderful way to apply my knowledge of kinesiology, sport psychology and athletic coaching from Simon Fraser University.  I have since coached many teams, some corporate teams for Electronic Arts, Unipharm and Motorola as well as many community based teams.

Since 2001, I have been involved with the race committee for the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  This has led to organizing coaching sessions for NCCP training (National Coaching Certification Programming), as well as helping to found and organize the Taiwanese Dragon Boat Race of Vancouver (brand new for 2003).  I have raced and won medals in Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, Victoria, Seattle, and Kelowna – but the most satisfying thing is creating new friendships and having wonderful experiences from people falling in love with dragon boats and paddling.

I can promise a culturally enlightening summer for you, if you  join the Gung Haggis Dragon Boat team,  Each May or June – I take the team to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens for both a tour and Tai Chi lesson.  This way, the paddlers learn the importance of Chinese concepts of harmony and balance and can integrate it into their paddling and racing techniqe.  As well, Tai Chi teaches body movent,centering techniques and force application.  I really should call these classes of the Tao of Dragon Boat Paddling.  It is a perfect blend of Eastern Taoist & Buddhist philosophies with Western sport psychology.

In 2002, the Gung Haggis d-boat team raced in the Alcan and Kelowna Dragon Boat Festivals.  In 2003, we raced at Alcan, Kent Washington, Portland Oregon, Victoria BC, and the inaugural Taiwanese Dragon Boat Race of Vancouver, bringing home medals from both Portland and Victoria.

If you would like to join the Gung Haggis Dragon Boat Team, contact me at 604-987-7124 or email: gunghaggis@yahoo.com

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