Dragon boats and chocolate Easter bunnies

Easter Dragon Boat Practice… 
Easter weekend and many dragon boats are on False Creek.  We arrived early to the Creekside Community Centre to watch some paddlers on the water paddling race kayaks and outrigger canoes.  But soon, members of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team showed up for the 11am practice
Paddlers discovered special Easter Eggs under their seats. We paddled
along the south shore, towards the seawall lookout, beside the
Pedestrian bridge. There were 4 gold foil wrapped Lindt chocolate
bunnies, hanging from strings of tape. We paddled underneath and
paddlers tried to grab the hanging bunnies!
But as the dragon boat passed under the seawalk outlook, and paddlers grabbed at the chocolate bunnies, it was noticed that one of the bunnies was not on the end of his tape!  Lead stroke Debbie, spotted a shiny gold bunny floating toward the centre of the creek.

“Let's go get the bunny!” somebody shouted.  And just like that, people started paddling!  The boat quickly approached the floating bunny, and Debbie was able to scoop it up.  But wait… there was still one little gold bunny flapping at the end of tape, under the outlook.

“Let's go back and grab the last bunny,” I shouted to the team.  Our steers person Guillaume, swung the boat around, and the team paddled again under the seawalk outlook.  They grabbed the tape, and the remaining bunny.  Mission accomplished.  Now on with the dragon boat practice, after our fun warm up.

We did our normal practice drills for reach and rotation.  We paddled left side and lead strokes, then right side and lead strokes, to help paddlers get focused on following the lead stroke on the opposite side from them.  We paddled with veterans only, so new paddlers could see good technique demonstrated, and keep our veteran paddlers setting good role modeling.

Paddlers on our first practice on March 27th.  A mix of veterans and new paddlers are forming the core for the 2011 season – photo T. Wong

Over at the bay beside David Lam Park, we practiced starts.  We went back and forth, starting with 3 strokes only, then building up to a 6-12 start. 6 slow strokes to get the boat moving, followed by 6 medium strokes, and finally 6 fast strokes to bring the boat up to plane. 

Good job everybody.  Then we paddled over to Alder Bay, behind Granville Island.  We docked the boat and took a walk over to a restaurant for hot chocolates and coffees, and to stretch our legs.  It was a special treat on a holiday weekend, that we try to make practice a little more fun for paddlers.

Thank you Debbie and Karl for hiding the
chocolate eggs on the dragon boat, and hanging the chocolate bunnies
over the water. 

Everybody had fun paddling to grab the hanging bunnies and to the floating gold bunny.  They did not
worrying techniques such as timing, or rotation, or reaching out.  Maybe on
Wednesday… I think we should put the team into two or three 10 person
boats… throw some gold bunnies into the water… and let the teams
go after them!

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