Category Archives: Dragon Boat photos 2003

Welcome to the 2013 paddling season for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy paddlers building a big lead at the Steveston Dragon Boat Festival – 1st place in our consolation C race.

Scottish Robbie Burns music and poetry
+ Chinese New Year food and culture

+ BC history with Scottish & Chinese pioneers

= Gung Haggis Fat Choy

2013 is year 12, of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, paddling
every year @ Alcan Races and beyond since 2002.  It is also Year 17 for a
team that started in 1997 under the name Celebration Team and for which
the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner event was
created as a fundraiser for in 1998.  This is the only team that has
twice won the Hon. David Lam Award for the team that best exemplifies
the multicultural spirit of the dragon boat festival (2001 & 2005)

We paddle every Sunday 11am -1pm (excluding holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day) and every Wed 6pm -7:30pm (starting next week).  Our first practice in 2013 was on March 10th, last Sunday.

We paddle from Creekside Community Centre, at the East Bay of False Creek.  It is centrally located to skytrain terminals and bus stops.  It is just a few steps southwest of Science World.

Gung Haggis dragon boat team leaving the dock for the semi-final races of the 2012 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – lots of enthusiasm, returning and new paddlers. – photo T. Wong

2012 was a rebuilding break through year for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. We started paddling in March, soon after celebrating our annual big Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner at Floata Restaurant on January 27th.

2012 Highlights included:
– 1st place Consolation Rec C Finals at Rio Tinto Alcan Festival
– 4th place D Division – Harrison Dragon Boat Festival
– 1st place Consolation C Dvision Steveston Dragon Boat Festival, Richmond BC Festival Canoe
– 2 teams in A Final at Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta

We will paddle throughout the Summer, entering races at least once a month, and finishing with one of the most fun events on  Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday October 8th – the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta.  You don’t have to paddle every race.   Pick and choose where and when you want to race.

Lots of smiles on the 2012 team after we paddled in our first race of the season at False Creek, Vancouver  – photo – T. Wong

We have unlimited team registration to join our “paddling and social club”
– but race events are limited to 24 paddlers + drummer + steers.
(20 paddlers in a boat + 4 spare paddlers) – we rotate everybody fairly, and nobody
sits more than one race (unless they choose, or special circumstances).

$150 Team registration includes practices, boat rental, coaching + equipment.  And we have student prices!

Each race event will have a varying price depending on the cost.  From $40 to $20, as the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival team entry is $1800,   RTA is 2 day event with 2 races per day + special races,  one day regattas are usually only 3 races.

We have really enjoyed meeting lots of new paddlers so far this Spring and welcoming back our veteran paddlers.  Everybody has such a great positive spirit.  We want 2013 to be lots of fun, filled with new friendships + race results to rival last year: Our teams over 16 years have raced in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Burnaby, Richmond, Steveston, Vernon, Harrison, Cultus Lake, Ft. Langley + Banff AB, Kent WA, and Portland OR….

CONTACT: Team manager Karl Castillo
Coach and team founder Todd Wong
gunghaggis at yahoo dot ca

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team celebrates 2011

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team celebrates 2011

– photo by Lisa Venables on Dave Samis' camera

Gung Haggis paddlers paddle neck and neck against each other in the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta on Oct 8th 2011.  Both teams are battling for 3rd place in the B Division Final, trying to pull ahead of each other for bragging rights over each other.  Both teams finished in the top half of 24 teams, finishing 11th and 12th overall.  The Gung Haggis Flying Cranberries on the left had 4 rookies and and was anchored by seasoned paddling friends from the Eye of the Dragon team.  The Gung Haggis Firey Chili boat on the right had some of our more experienced paddlers with 2 rookies, combined with experienced paddling friends.  It was an exciting race final that celebrated the friendship of beginner and veteran paddlers, helping and supporting each other, in one of our favorite races of the year.

I am very proud and happy with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  It has been 10 years since the inception of the team in 2002.  Back then we only did two races a year, the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival and its regatta two weeks preceding.  The team had initially begun as the Celebration Team in 1997 which I had also founded and coached, and was renamed in 2002 because: 1) to give the team a new bring more sense of identity with multiculturalism and 2) bring more recognition to the fledgling Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team finished the last paddling event of the year last week with a paddle down Harrison River from Harrison Hot Springs. 

We started paddling in March – following the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Dinner – which the team is named after.  Both created by Coach Todd Wong, to celebrate multiculturalism.  The dinner does it with poetry, music and food.  We celebrate by paddling and eating

We paddled on Burrard Inlet for the Lotus Club regatta.  It is a tradition for us to start our season by racing in May at the Barnet Marine Park.  My first-ever dragon boat practice in 1993, was here at the Lotus Club as a spare paddler for the Headliners dragon boat team.  I am always glad to support the Lotus Club, and we have many friends at Lotus.  Too bad, the weather was so wet and rainy that we could not bring out our Chinese dragon and lion for ceremonial dances.

We practiced in False Creek 2X week – Sunday 11am and Wed 6pm

Debbie (black shirt and red tartan head band) leads warm-up at the big Rio TintoAlcan drago boat festival in Jun.  Debbie started as one of our youngest paddlers, and is now an assistant coach and team leader.  We raced in the Rec E Final for medals, and came a very close 4th – just missing a medal by split seconds.

We had 3 paddlers from France on our team: Anne, Leo and Alice. Beside me in a red team shirt is Aidan, this season's rookie of the year – male.

2011 Steveston Dragon 
Boat Festival
photo courtesy of Philip Chin–Dragon-Boat-Festival/18654179_Grpt6V#1456365323_6wTzNTj

We went to the Steveston Dragon Boat Festival in August.  It was the hottest day yet of a damp
cold summer, and 37
dragon boat teams came to Steveston to enjoy the balmy 25 degree
temperature by
the sea.  The 2nd annual
Steveston Dragon Boat Festival was set at the Britannia Historic
Shipyard, located
just East of Steveston Village.  After 3 races, we came 3rd in the C Division Consolation.

– photo Deb Martin

We always enter two teams at the Ft. Langley Canoe Regatta for Cranberry Festival.  Gung Haggis Fiery Chilis had some of our veteran paddlers and paddling friends.  Steered by Todd Wong (myself), and captained by lead stroke Karl Castillo.  2nd seat is Michelle and Dave, 3rd seat is Carly and Tracey (both from Flight Centre team), 4th seat is Aidan and Steve, 5th seat is Remus and Caroline.

– photo Deb Martin

Gung Haggis Flying Cranberries was steered by steered by our friend Harvey, and anchored by Johnny and Maggie in seat 5 – all from the Eye of the Dragon team.  It was captained by lead stroke Debbie.  2nd seat is Xavier and Keng, 3rd seat is Sara and Gerard (in Sara's first race), 4th seat is Leo and Christian (both promising rookies).

Both teams smile together for a picture with our additional paddlers Lisa Venables – photo Deb Martin

We dressed up for a Halloween's Eve Day paddle to Granville Island

– photo Dave Samis on Todd Wong's camera

Deb and Debbie had big smiles, as the paddled down the Harrison River on Nov 27th, Grey Cup Sunday. It was our last official paddling event of the season.  Last year, some of our paddlers joined me on some of the final days of the 5 day “Paddle for Wild Salmon” from Hope to Vancouver.  We wanted to recognize the salmon migrations on the Harrison River, and the bald eagles that feed on them.  Our idea was to paddle and drift pass the eagles feeding on the spawned out salmon – but we ran into a strong headwind that slowed down our travel speed.  After paddling almost 4 km, we turned back to the Harrison Lake.  “A grand failure” was what rookie paddler Xavier called it, while we ate dinner in Agassiz while watching the 2nd half of the Grey Cup Football Game. 

Dragon Boat paddling on Sunday Nov 6th

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team paddles Sunday

2011_Oct_Halloween 009
Karl and Steven hold up dragon boat paddles on Halloween Eve Day.  Karl paddled with the mask for most of the practice.

11am Sunday from Dragon Zone
False Creek Community Centre

We are continuing to paddle for fun and fitness – on Sundays throughout November.  I am also hoping to set up a paddle in voyageur canoes down the Harrison River or Fraser River from Hope to Chilliwack – so that we may see some of the spawning salmon, and the eagles who feed on them.  Our last competitve race was on Oct 8, for the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta.  But last year some of our paddlers joined me for Day 4 & 5 of the “Paddle for Wild Salmon” down the Fraser River from Hope to Vancouver.  It was a 5 day journey to Jericho Beach – and while I started from Hope on Day 1, I skipped day 2 and 3, for work, then returned for Day 4 and 5, from the Katzie First Nations Reserver near the Golden Ears Bridge, all the way to New Westminster and Musqueam First Nations.  Day 5 we paddled from Musqueam, around Point Grey, and we landed at Jericho Beach.

Last Sunday

had a fantastic rain-less paddle last Sunday…   A number of people
messaged because they didn't want to paddle in the rain or cold.

But the rain stopped!!!

strong men, Karl, Aidan, Stephen Mirowski, Steven Wong, Guillaume and
Todd – paddled non-stop from Dragon Zone to Granville St. Bridge.  We
even paddled past Burrard St. Bridge and did a little stop at Sunset
Beach… before going for hot chocolate at Granville Island, courtesy of
Stephen Mirowski who had his wallet with him.  Aidan steered dragon
boat for his first time ever on the way back from Cambie Bridge to
Dragon Zone – GREAT PRACTICE!!!

This Sunday

11am is practice time – Yes we still show up rain or shine – the only thing that keeps us off the boat is
high winds… and if there is a monsoon… but we decide at the time of practice.

Hope to see you out paddling for Sunday –
weather looks rainless for now!

Cheers, Todd

Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta

in our TWO teams at Ft. Langley
– Gung Haggis Fantastic Cranberry Chasers
– Gung Haggis Fiery Chili Eaters

Standing back row Gerard, Steve, Aidan, Remus, Maggie (tartan green hat) Johnny, Xavier, Todd and Sara
Middle standing Carly (black shirt), Keng, Lisa (neon green hat), Dave, Michelle, Tracey
front row kneeling, Harvey, Debbie, Caroline, Karl.

I am proud of both Gung Haggis teams, having a
race down the wire for 3rd place in B Final
– and very glad we did not end up in
C Final.

was an incredible sprint to the finish after the last turn, following
the beach landing in the Pumpkin Final.  Neck & neck – both Gung
Haggis teams trading leads… Wow…  Officially, the score card says
Gung Haggis Fantastic Cranberries won… by milliseconds…

Gung Haggis Fiery Chillis leading the B Final Race after the first turn.  We were the first team under the bridge after grabbing our pumpkin. 

of 24 teams, we were 11th and 12th – in the top half…. and that is a
good thing… bragging rights over 12 other teams… and respect to 10
other teams above us.

I am now completely
fatigued after THREE aprox. 2000m races at the Ft. Langley Cranberry
Festival Canoe regatta…   I can only imagine how the rookie paddlers feel…

So please raise a glass to the rookie paddles:

First race ever – Sara

2nd races ever Xavier, Leo, Christian

other First year paddlers Aidan, Caroline,

experienced guest paddlers racing 1st time at Ft. Langley – Carly, Tracey, Michelle, Johnny Toi

experienced repeat guest paddlers @ Ft. Langley, Remus, Lisa,

Harvey & Maggie

experienced Gung Haggis paddles racing Cranberry for first time, Sabina

experienced Gung Haggis repeat paddlers at Ft. Langley, Karl, Steve S., Debbie, Keng, Gerard, Dave S., Todd

Harvey is steering, Johnny and Maggie in row 5, Leo and Christian in row 4, Sara and Gerard in row 3, Xavier and Keng in row 2, Debbie is lead stroke and captain in row 1.

Todd is steering – right side from rear Remus, Aidan, Carly, Michelle, left side paddlers from rear Caroline, Steve, Tracey, Dave – Karl is lead stroke in seat one.

Special thanks to our captains Debbie Poon & Karl Castillo

Special thanks to our steers – Harvey Doucet, Dave Samis & Todd Wong (me)

 Everybody had tons of fun,
lots of smiles, great to see old and new paddling funs…
Now to unload
the car, grab some zzzz's, then take my girlfriend to Hornby Island in
the morning for the next 2 nights…

please send pictures – especially send us links to posted pictures…

Deb will post pictures to my flickr account… 

Remember – no practice tomorrow – take Sunday off on race weekend

See you next Sunday Oct 16 – we will have dim sum lunch following practice

We will keep paddling on Sundays 11am until Nov 13  Remembrance Day weekend.

NO MORE Wednesday evening paddles…

Cheers, Todd

Gung Haggis dragon boat team going to Ft. Langley for Cranberry Festival

Ft Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta will again have two Gung Haggis teams on Oct 8

Gung Haggis paddlers in boat 8, chat it up with another team in boat 5 – at the start line of the Pumpkin chasing final heat, of the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta photo T.Wong

The Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta is one of the favorite events of the year for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  There are no medals.  No huge crowds of cheering fans.  But lots of cameraderie, and a fun obstacle race.  The first two races are double ovals.  The Pumpkin Final, is super fun.  10 boats will line up across the Fraser River slough, then start racing for the bridge.  Pumpkins will be dropped from the bridge.  Each team has to pick up one pumpkin, then proceed under the bridge.  Race 500m up river and make a sharp turn at the buoy marker.  Return under the bridge and make a right turn around a buoy on the south shore.  Proceed to the North side and drop a paddler off at the beach.  The paddler will balance a cup of cranberry juice, and walk 50 feet up the beach, where they will climb back into the canoe.  The Canoe travels back around the buoy on the south shore, then heads back under the bridge to the other side to cross the finish line. 

10 voyageur canoes race towards the pumpkins! – photo T.Wong

We have had great
practices over the past 2 weeks, often running two 10-person Swift
boats, or other boats side by side… doing turns and sprint starts. 
This is all preparation for the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe

We are racing in 10 person voyageur canoes
We will
have 12 people on each team – so there will be 2 spares per race.
people will do 2 races each, and 6 people will do 3 races each. 

is a good strategy because: some people want a rest… while others
might get sick, or lost… and some people cheer the team on and take
pictures!  We would rather have two extra persons as spares, rather than
paddle with 8 people and have to do more work.

Watch these videos – by
clicking on the icons – to see what happens at the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta

2010_Oct_Cranberry_Canoe 015

Watch a race start – Gung
Haggis is #1 on the far side.

2010_Oct_Cranberry_Canoe 055

Watch Jen toss the

2010_Oct_Cranberry_Canoe 056
Watch teams
try to grab pumpkins

2010_Oct_Cranberry_Canoe 057

Watch teams paddle backwards because they missed the pumpkin!

2009_Oct_Ft_Langley_cranberry_canoe_race 065
Watch us do
a nice turn before we go to the beach

2009_Oct_Ft_Langley_cranberry_canoe_race 066

Watch us do a nice beach
landing – then somebody climbs out of the boat, and runs down the beach
holding a cup of cranberry juice on their paddle

2009_Oct_Ft_Langley_cranberry_canoe_race 068

Watch the final
turn – a bit wide – but we are in the lead!!!

See all the photo sets from from past
races below:

2010 Ft.Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe regatta

Ft.Langley Cranberry…

Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta 2009

2009 Ft.
Langley Cranberry…

Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta

2008 Ft. Langley

Oct 6, Ft. Langley Cranberry Canoe Regatta

2007 Oct 6, Ft.

10am practice for Gung Haggis dragon boat team Sunday

10am is
this Sunday's practice time – 
September 25th.
We moved it one hour
early… to help accommodate people attending Word On the Street and
World Rivers Day events…

10am – we meet
– the boat leaves the dock (which is only 30 minutes before we normally
12 noon – back on dryland

We had a GREAT practice on Wed Night
– hardly any rain at all!  only light sprinkles at the beginning then
it stopped completely…

We simulated the pumpkin final race for
Ft. Langley – our lead strokes Debbie and Karl grabbed imaginary
pumpkins and took turns being the single lead stroke in the boat.  We
practiced turns, and beach landings.  I even jumped out of the boat onto
the shore, at one point.

only 4 practices left
Ft. Langley Cranberry
Festival Canoe Regatta

Another Busy Sunday coming up:

on The
Street Festival – 12pm – 5pm

I have to be there for booths for
Kogawa House and Ricepaper Magazine

World Rivers Day
Clean up
on False Creek – on SATURDAY 1-5pm
Paddle Down the Fraser or up at
Whistler on Sunday

To find out more about water issues, and
to get involved with World Rivers Day, visit the
Web sites below for more information.

World Rivers Day Web Site:

Rivers Institute at BCIT:

BC Rivers Day Web Site:

United Nations “Water For Life Decade”

No Dragon Boat practice on Sunday


but do take part in 1) Terry Fox Run 2) Vancouver Sports Day on Saturday & Sunday

No Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team practice this Sunday Sept 18th, neither Steven Wong nor myself is available… logistics are challenging.

– so please go to a Terry Fox Run site as your sports alternative for
Sunday…  Usually I speak at at Run Site as a Terry's Team Member
(Cancer Survivors who serve as living examples that research has made a

I recommend going to Coquitlam for the 9:30am Opening Ceremonies.
will be very poignant and emotional because Betty Fox would always
speak at the Coquitlam Hometown Run – and unfortunately, Betty passed
away this summer.  Last year, she was one of the Olympic flag bearers at
the Opening Ceremonies.  I am pleased and thankful, that I was able to
meet and get to know Betty, and her family over the years, since I have
been a Terry's Team Member since 1993.

There are also run sites
in Stanley Park, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and
throughout all of BC.  Times vary from 8am start to 10am starts.

Paddle or Ice Skate
please see below for details of City of Vancouver Sports Day @ Creekside Community Centre


Dear Paddlers, Volunteers, Residents,
Neighbours and Friends,

Just a reminder that we are holding an
open house as part of the City of Vancouver’s Sports Day. New Dragon
Boat participants will be instructed in basic dragon boat paddling and
then taken out on the water for about 45 minutes.
All ages and
abilities welcome. Bring your family and friends. We’ll also be
barbequing up some hotdogs with proceeds to the Greater Vancouver Food

Boats depart at 1, 2 and 3 pm on Saturday.
Dragon Zone at Creekside Community Centre, 1 Athletes Way (Boating
Centre hallway to start)
Times: 1 pm – 4 pm
Please email
with the boat time you’d like to depart.

Please come a little
early so you are ready to go out on time!

Here is more
information on the City of Vancouver’s Sports Day

Sports Day in
Creekside Community Recreation Centre
Athletes Way
Vancouver, BC V5Y 0B1

Saturday September
17, 2011 1:00 – 5:00 PM
Hillcrest Ice Rink
4575 Clancy
Loranger Way
Vancouver, BC   When:
Sunday September 18, 2011
12:45-2:15 PM
Dear Sports Enthusiasts,  Sports Day in
Canada is taking place on September 17th.

Join Canadians in
rallying support for Sports Day in Canada – a national celebration of
sport at all levels.

Sports Day in Vancouver: Two Days on Land,
Water & Ice 

Day One: Sept 17, 1-5 PM at Creekside
Community Centre

Celebrate at Creekside and participate in sports
on water and land! Enjoy your favourite sport or try a new sport in our
gymnasium with the help of MoreSports staff and volunteers. Discover
the exhilarating experience of dragon boating on False Creek; please
pre-register to save your spot on the boat. Also, take advantage of
DragonZone's hot dog barbeque with all proceeds going to the Greater
Vancouver Food Bank. Scheduled sport times and registration information
for the dragon boat “try-it” sessions available at
For more information on other boating programs, visit

Two: Sept 18, 12:45-2:15 PM at Hillcrest Rink
Get involved on ice!
Experience the pristine ice of Hillcrest Rink with your family. Skate
for free, enjoy complimentary refreshments and watch great ice sport
demos provided by our local community sports groups!

invited, no need to RSVP (other than dragon boat)!

Steveston Dragon Boat Festival raced by Gung Haggis dragon boat team

2011 Steveston Dragon  Boat Festival

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team steered by Deb Martin and drummed by Debbie Poon.  Deborah Gee is 2nd seat left – it is the 3 Deb team at the Steveston Dragon Boat Festival.  photo courtesy of Philip Chin–Dragon-Boat-Festival/18654179_Grpt6V#1456365323_6wTzNTj


It was the hottest day yet of a damp cold summer, and 37 dragon boat teams came to Steveston to enjoy the balmy 25 degreetemperature by the sea.  The 2nd annual Steveston Dragon Boat Festival was set at the Britannia Historic Shipyard, locatedjust East of Steveston Village.

We weren’t in D nor E Division, nor A or B.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy team placed 3rd in C Division Consolation

And with many brand new paddlers including 5 race virgins: Xavier, Christian, Mary, Leo & Alex

In race #1 – 200m – we came 3rd – 1:17.040
In race # 2 – 200m – we came 1st – 1:14.600 – improving by 2.4 seconds
In race #3 – 500m – we came 2nd  2:41.400 only 1 second behind Deep Cove Catch 22
Our race #4 was in C Division Consolation – we came 3rd 2:49.160

Great captaining by Steven Wong, drumming by Debbie Poon, and steering by Deb Martin. Great team chemistry and attitude by everybody, with special additions
Steve Sywulch, Carly Sywulch, Tracy Ghirardi, Alex Park and Wen + Mei-Fah Mah

Great work to Gung Haggis paddlers Aidan, Xavier, Karl, Todd, Steven W, Gerard, Barb, Deborah, Anne, Grace, Keng, Caroline, Christian, Leo and Mary

Top race honours went Team Lifescan who repeated their 1st place finish from 2010 with a time of 2:07.400.  2nd place went to False Creek Grandragons, a seniors team with 2:09.950.  And 3rd place overall was a very tight race that saw Swordfish beat Dragon Hearts Beat by 0.28 sec with a bronze medal time of 2:10.84.

“My seniors, the Grandragons kick ass!!! 2nd overall in Steveston! So fun and so proud!”

– said their coach, former Olympic kayak paddler Kamini Jain.

Meanwhile, David Wong the coach of the Strathcona Youth Team, was telling his high school paddlers about why the Grandragons
should never be underestimated, and how amazing it is that paddlers aged 60+ are beating almost every dragon boat team.

This was the last race of the season for the Metro Vancouver area.  Many of the teams start practicing in March, and looked forward to the final race of the summer.

It was a lively and festive site, set among the heritage buildings that remain from Steveston’s historic Cannery Row.  Many of the paddlers learned about the history by reading the display signs, but were still unaware that area they were lining up in was later being used as the setting for the Salmon Row theatre production produced by Mortal Coil.

Teams came from as faraway as Ft. Langley and Saltspring Island.  Local teams included many different teams including Dragon boat paddling is an inclusive activity with many specialty teams.  O2P is a team of paddlers on kidney dialysis, which came 1st in the D Division.  Strathcona Dragons is a youth team from Vancouver’s inner city neighbourhood that came 4th in B Consolation.  Off Balance is a team that includes paddlers with multiple schlerosis.

My own team is named Gung Haggis Fat Choy, which found itself right at home in Steveston.  Our team celebrates the multicultural history of BC, and we shared some of the stories of the Scottish and Chinese, Japanese and First Nations pioneer origins of Steveston and BC with our paddlers – many of whom are immigrants from Asian, Europe and
South America.  Our team made it to the C semi-final, but got bumped into the consolation round.

The atmosphere at the Steveston Dragon Boat Race was very friendly, filled with the camaraderie of a full season of paddling.  Many teams had started paddling in the wet months of February and March.  There were also many new paddlers who only started in July and August.  For them, their first race was very exciting.

Prince William and Kate race dragon boats in PEI

Here are some pictures of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge taking part in a dragon boat race in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island.

The original plan was to have them both steer – making for good photo ops.  Kate has steered for her own dragon boat team in England.  But the weather was a bit choppy, so they both opted instead to paddle.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team improves with each race at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

The Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival is the biggest in North America. 
and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is one of the most fun and positive teams in the Festival

Rec A consolation Final Race, Sunday afternoon.  Scaly Bytes team is in forefront with red shirts in a green boat.  I have paddled many times with paddler friends Ron, Stuart, Sarah, and Laurie.   In boat 3 is Eye of the Dragon team, coached and drummed by Dan Hebert.  They are the subject of the newest dragon boat film – “We Can't See You Beating Us”.  It's a special team where half the paddlers are visually challenged. – photo Todd Wong
Thank you all for a great weekend filled with positive energy…
We improved our performance with every race… our best races were on Sunday!

Saturday… we got to know the festival site, and jell
together as a team.  We especially thank Deb Martin for stepping in as
drummer, Adrian Lee for stepping in as steers, to Nadine Ross for
traveling from
Nanaimo to join us for paddling, to Joe Easton for being our land manager..  And to Grace for joining us on

Here was our lineup:

Drummer Deb Martin
1 – Ruth               Gio
2 – Debbie Poon   Hillary
3 – Keng              Anne
4 – Georgia          Maria
5 – Nadine           Karl
6 – Todd               Steven
7 – Aidan             Leo
8 – Eric               Alice
9 – Gerard           Sabina
Grace           Caroline
Steers- Adrian Lee

We raced
without spares all weekend, as 3 paddlers called in sick during the
week.  On Saturday we raced with 17 paddlers and 18 paddlers.  On
Sunday, we raced with 19 paddlers.  We NEVER finished last in a race.

Sunday, we did some technique training, with our warm up, to remind us
to reach farther.  We also did the one-finger lift with our lead stroke
Gio, to lift him into the air – a Gung Haggis team tradition!


our 1st race on Sunday semi-final.  We were in lane 2, which meant we
were the 5th seeded team. – we came 5th, of 8 boats, which put us into
the Rec E Championship

In the afternoon – we prepared with a
visualization and warm-up.  We arrived at the marshalling area early. 
We were in lane 7, as the 6th seeded team. 

It was a tight
race.  Our start was
good.  We were neck and
neck with boats on both sides.  Lane 8 was right beside us.  Lane 6
pulled ahead of us, but wasn't too far away.  Everybody paddled hard. 
We called power series, and mid-strokes Todd and Steven Wong, counted out
the strokes.  The back half was strong… the front half was in time…
Drummer Deb called the finish, and we did a running finish… with
ups… grabbing the water to bring up our rate… and we finished… in
maybe 3rd or 4th place.  It looked like third… but was very close.

did not go back to our tent for the debrief – but stayed on the East
side of the Race Registrar tables.  We debriefed our race, then saw the
times being posted for our race. 

“Third” shouted Nadine… and our team cheered!

“Fourth” corrected Gio… and our team sighed.

We felt good about our race.  We improved 7 seconds from our morning race.  Drummer Deb said she could tell we all emptied
ourselves in the race, and there was nothing left.  We did our best.

team has lots of potential.  For the past few months we have had lots
of ups and downs, as paddlers have been sick or away.  We had 19 people
paddling on Easter Sunday, with another 6 paddlers away for the
weekend.  But the roster shrank as paddlers were injured or decided that
dragon boating wasn't for them… and that is okay.  We are are a
recreational team with a flexible schedule.  We emphasize fun,
friendship and fitness… along with a multicultural twist.

now have a group of paddlers that is battle-tested.  They are race
ready.  They are enthusiastic.  They are a team.  There is tremendous
positive energy with this present group. 


The 2011 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boa team at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – What a happy bunch of paddlers, who just raced their hearts out for a close 4th place finish. – photo Brooke Samis

No practice on Wednesday – Dragon  Zone is closed.

Next practice is Sunday June 19th Father's Day- if it is open…  
Bring your father to
join us for a paddle…

Next race is July 16th – Richmond @ UBC Rowing Centre
August 13th is Vernon BC
August 20th is Steveston BC
Sept 10-11th is Penticton
Oct 8th is Ft. Langley

Please see below for pictures or results

Cheers, Todd

Complete Race Results can be found here:


2001_June_RTA_D ragon_Boat_DBF

Join the Flickr photo group:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team