Category Archives: Gung Haggis dragon boat team information

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!

On
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
Saturday!

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
10-
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.

On
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!

photo

In
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.

We
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.

Our
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.

We
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. 

photo

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:
http://dragonboatbc.ca/race/race-schedule-results/

2001_June_RTA_Dragon_Boat_DBF

2001_June_RTA_D ragon_Boat_DBF

http://www.flickr.com/photos/53803790@N00/sets/72157626957503130/

Join the Flickr photo group:


Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

http://www.flickr.com/groups/584030@N22/

Gung Haggis races dragon boat Sunday Race 69, lane 2, 10:56am

Next race for Gung Haggis team on Sunday
– 10:56am Race 69 – lane 2.

Please meet at the tent for 9:45am Race briefing… and strategy, and warm-up.
Come for coffee at 9:40 and get settled in.

Good races everybody – no major issues….
Team listens and responds well, on the water. 
Nobody getting lost… we found our steersperson and drummer for the weekend.

We
experienced the confusion of one of North America's biggest dragon boat
races.  8 boat heats… 180 teams… Mixed, Womens, Open + Junior
divisions.

We will have some more muscle in the boat tomorrow with Alice and Eric joining us.

The new site is kind of neat… very urban… very accessible… a little bit crowded on the pathways…

Unfortunately,
the beer garden is not on the
Science World patio… where we had a great view of the finish line +
guts and glory races.   If you can – do stay on Sunday to watch the Comp
race finals… + Guts & Glory race –  18 boats on a double oval
race course, passing each other, with some collisions.  We will do a
mini-version on Oct 8th at Ft. Langley with 8 boat heats… slower
speeds, and safer voyageur canoes.

See you all tomorrow morning.

Please meet at the tent for 9:45am – for race briefing, line up changes, warm up, race strategies.

Cheers, Todd

Come cheer on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team this weekend

Our
first dragon boat race is at 8:55am… and 2nd race should be around
1am. We will try to post when we can. Semi-finals and Finals races on
Sunday
Hope you can come cheer on the GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY team – It's a good mix of rookies, and veterans.

Here is our line up for our races.

drummer Deb
1 – Ruth          Gio
2 – Debbie      Hillary
3 – Keng        Anne
4- Georgia      Maria
5 – Nadine      Karl
6 – Steven       Todd
7 – Aidan        Leo
8 – Eric           Alice
9 – Gerard      Sabina
10
– Caroline   Grace  
steers – Adrian

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is racing at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival this weekend

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is ready to race this weekend at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival is the largest such festival in North America.  The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has been racing since 2002, so this is our 10th year.  The team actually started racing in 1997 under the name Celebration Team, but changed the name in 2002, after the Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner that I had started in 1999.

We had our final practice on Wednesday.  We had 18 people skipping game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs to fine tune our paddling techniques instead.  A number of paddlers were watching the game, or off sick.  We are looking forward to having 20 paddlers on the boat on Saturday and Sunday.

It's been an up and down year so far.  Practices have had inconsistent turnouts.  There have been more than the usual number of illnesses, and vacations.  In my role of coach, I have been away for a week vacation, and a week of workshops, which I have never done before.  But the foundation of the team is strong.  We have had veteran paddlers Steven Wong and Debbie Poon step up to coach the team in my absence.  Every year there are new paddlers and retired paddlers.  And every year there is a great enthusiasm and sense of team. 

Both our practices tonight Wednesday, and on Sunday were all about fine tuning our race strategies and performance.  The team paddled hard with close to full boats each day, and we could really feel a strong start, and the catch and glide that we are used to with a good performing team working together.

Last year three of our paddlers were on work or education visas from Scotland, England and Belgium.  This year we have three people from France on work visas, who have joined us.  We also have some good experienced paddlers who have joined us, who have previously paddled on other teams.  All share a good sense of fun and friendship, that our team is known for.  At the Lotus Sports Club regatta in May, two of the new paddlers tried on the kilts that are so associated with our team.  One of our new local Vancouver paddlers is a friend from our Kilts Night events – so there will be plenty of kilts to be seen this weekend.

Good luck to all our dragon boat friends at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  I look forward to seeing long time friends from Chilliwack, Portland, Seattle and Victoria – as well as friends on all the local Metro Vancouver teams.

The race grid will be released soon, so I will post our race times for
Saturday as soon as I can.  Race times for Sunday, will be posted
following our Saturday races, which will determine seeding for the
semi-final and final races on Sunday.

Check the Festival website for the race grid here:
http://dragonboatbc.ca/the-rio-tinto-alcan-dragon-boat-festival/

No dragon boat practice this Sunday

There is NO PRACTICE for GUNG HAGGIS dragon boat team on SUNDAY – May 29th

Unfortunately
– with the Dragon Zone Regatta on from 9am to 4pm – it is very chaotic,
and all the boats, paddles and PFD's will be in use.

But do come out and watch the False Creek Women's Regatta on Saturday

and
especially watch the Dragon Zone Regatta around noon Sunday – as the
Competitive and Rec A teams will be racing their finals.

Next Practice, Wednesday June 1st, 7pm. then 10 more days afterwards until Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Cheers, Todd

Kilts Night Tonight for Cinco de Mayo

Kilts Night Tonight for Cinco de Mayo

Did you know that the head
chef at Doolin's Irish Pub is Mexican?

Good social event for
members of the Gung Haggis dragon boat team.  Learn to sing along to
Canadiana and Maritime songs + Scottish and Irish traditional tunes +
dance to celticized folk & rock tunes.

FREE PINT OF GUINNESS BEERif you wear a kilt.
1st thursday of each month


I have a few extra kilts for people to wear… 
so email to reserve – or first come, first choose!


Canucks game start is 5:30 PST today –
so it might be
over just in time for the Halfax Wharf Rats
to take over the
stage at 9pm.

I'll be there for 8:00pm to watch the 3rd
period.

Cheers, Todd

Gung Haggis dragon boat team gets ready for Bill Alley regatta @ Lotus Sports Club's Barnet Marine Park race site.

First dragon boat race of 2011 for
Gung Haggis team is next week
at Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby

2010_May_Lotus_Races 003 by you.
May 2010 – Gung
Haggis dragon boat team gets ready for their first race of the season,
as they paddled to the start line at Lotus Sports Club's Bill Alley
Dragon boat regatta @ Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby.   photo T.Wong


Our dragon boat season always starts off with a fun event – the Bill Alley Dragon Boat Regatta, hosted by the Lotus Sports Club, at Burnaby's Barnet Marine Park.

Three things happen.
1) We have our first races of the season against 23 other teams.
2) We help to raise money for the Bill Alley scholarship fund, by bringing out our Chinese lions and dragon to create a special event.
3) It's an incredible team bonding experience that a) makes new friends of team mates and b) gives the new paddlers their first race event!

The next TWO
practices are IMPORTANT

Sunday – May 1st 11am
Wednesday
May 3rd  6pm


These are the final two
practices before May 7th Race at Barnett Marine Park.
This is one of
our funnest events of the year…. Our team is ready for a race now.  Our paddlers have now paddled 500m distance (not a full strength) but they have done full
strength starts and finish…. so this coming week will have full race pieces.

At the Burnaby event, there will be 2 warm-up races +
Division Final + Challenge Final.  Usually every paddler
on our team will spare one race out…. so everybody paddles at least 3
races… for about 2 1/2 minutes.

We now need everybody to sign
the Team Race Waiver
cost per event is $30 per person – includes
CORA fee.

We will be at the race
site aprox 9 to 3pm.  We have tents, tarps and usually set up a bbq. 
Bring your own picnic chair and blanket. 

Here is a link to my
blog story about our race at Lotus last year:
http://www.gunghaggis.com/blog/DragonBoatInformation/_archives/2010/5/2/4519875.html

more
information + maps – can be found here:
http://lotussports.com/races/lotus-dragon-boat-regatta

Our next two practices will focus on race preparation and
race routines…
eg. What happens during a race.

Planning the 2011 season for the Gung Haggis dragon boat team

Gung Haggis dragon boat team on first practice of the 2011 season – lots of enthusiasm, returning and new paddlers. – photo T. Wong

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

+ BC history with Scottish & Chinese pioneers

= Gung Haggis Fat Choy

2010
was a break through year
for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. We
started paddling in January then took a break for the Olympics. We
celebrated with a big Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner at Floata where we
first met a Chinese lass born in Scotland, who came to join the dragon
boat team, starting the string of Irish, Yorkshire, French, Belgian and
Australian visitors to Canada who came to paddle and race with us.

2010 Highlights included:
– A Division at
Lotus Races with the Community Spirit Award,
– Rec B Finals at Rio Tinto
Alcan Festival
– Silver medal in Senior B Race at Rio Tinto Alcan Festival
– Silver medal and
2nd overall at Richmond
– Top prize in the steering challenge race for free entry at 2011 Richmond Festival
– Silver Medals in C Division in Banff where we partnered with Spirit of Vancouver 
– 2 teams in A Final at Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta


2011 is year 10, of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team
, paddling
every year @ Alcan Races and beyond since 2002.  It is also Year 15 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 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.

May 7 – Lotus Sports Club, Burnaby – Confirmed
May 29th – Dragon Zone regatta – Confirmed
June 11/12 – Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – Confirmed
July 16th Saturday – Richmond BC (UBC Rowing Centre) – Confirmed
July 23 Saturday -Harrison BC @ Harrison Hot Springs

Aug 13 & 14 – Vernon or Victoria – RECOMMENDED

Aug 20 – Steveston Last Gasp

Aug 27 & 28 – Kelowna DBF

Sept 10 & 11 Penticton – RECOMMENDED

Oct 9 – Ft. Langley – RECOMMENDED


Lots of smiles on the 2009 team as they paddled in lots of races throughout the year. – 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).

$110 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,
and Lotus Regatta in Burnaby is $500. 
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 2011 to be lots of fun, filled with new friendships + race results to rival last year:

Our
teams over 10 years have raced in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna,
Burnaby, Richmond, Steveston, Vernon, Harrison, Cultus Lake, Ft. Langley
+ Banff AB, Kent
WA, and Portland OR….

CONTACT:
Coach and team founder Todd Wong
778*846*7090
gunghaggis at yahoo dot ca

photo

Gung Haggis Fat Choy paddlers bite their silver medals at Richmond Dragon Boat Festival – 2nd place overall, and 1st in the steering challenge race.

Dragon boats and chocolate Easter bunnies

Praise
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
SURPRISE!
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!

Gung Haggis dragon boat team practice for Easter Sunday with Easter Egg hunt

It's an Easter Egg hung for the Gung Haggis dragon boat team Easter Sunday practice!

Gung Haggis dragon boat team in September 2009 – Since then 4 babies have been born to our paddlers – photo T. Wong

We will
have a paddle practice this Sunday for the Gung Haggis dragon boat team practice, and combine it with an Easter Egg Hunt.

Sunday
11am – meet at
Creekside Community Centre (water side)
quick cardio and stretching for warm-up for 10 minutes.
on water soon after…
return by 12:25pm

being a holiday weekend, we know that some people will not be able to attend…
but some people really want to paddle.

Destination:
Granville Island – We will paddle to Alder Bay, and stretch our legs.

Coaching emphasis:  We've learned timing, we've learned race starts,
now… it is time to get more from your paddle. 
How to be an effective paddler with paddle position.

We have had 13 Veteran paddlers + 3 2nd year paddlers who were new last year + 2 paddlers who did Junior dragon boats before.  New to dragon boating this year have been 15 people, 5 of whom are from France. 

We hope that you all come back and join the team, 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.

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).

$110 Team registration includes practices, boat rental, coaching + equipment. 

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,
and Lotus Regatta in Burnaby is $500. 
RTA is 2 day event with 2 races per day + special races,
one day regattas are usually only 3 races.

Looks like
we will have a strong team for 2011. 

This is the 10th year of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team,
which actually started in 2002 under then name Celebration. 

We have really enjoyed meeting lots of new paddlers
and welcoming back our veteran paddlers.  Everybody has such a great positive spirit.
We want 2011 to be lots of fun, filled with new friendships + race results to rival last year:

In 2010, we placed Rec B @ Rio Tinto Alcan DB Festival and won silver in Senior B.
We won silver 2nd overall at Richmond and won the steering challenge
We went to Banff and won silver in C division.
We placed 2 teams in the A Finals at Ft. Langley.

Our teams over 10 years have raced in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Burnaby, Richmond, Steveston, Vernon, Harrison, Cultus Lake, Ft. Langley + Banff AB, Kent
WA, and Portland OR….

You don't have to paddle every race. 
Pick and choose where and when you want to race.

We are now looking for race events to fill our
summer, and are currently looking at:

May 7 – Lotus Sports Club, Burnaby – Confirmed
May 29th – Dragon Zone regatta – Confirmed
June 11/12 – Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – Confirmed
July 16th Saturday – Richmond BC (UBC Rowing Centre) – Confirmed
July 23 Saturday -Harrison BC @ Harrison Hot Springs

Aug 13 & 14 – Vernon or Victoria – RECOMMENDED

Aug 20 – Steveston Last Gasp

Aug 27 & 28 – Kelowna DBF

Sept 10 & 11 Penticton – RECOMMENDED

Oct 9 – Ft. Langley – RECOMMENDED