Gung Haggis paddler, Dave Samis, races in Australian National dragon boat races

Gung Haggis paddler, Dave Samis,  races in Australian National dragon boat races

Samis, is one of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team summer
paddlers.   For the Alcan Festival he races with his work
team, GVRD 44 Cheeks, then he joins Gung Haggis Fat Choy for the
summer.  He is a staunch supporter of our Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, and many of our extracurricular
activities such as dragon boat head carving or our St. Patrick's Day
dragon boat floats.

has just finished racing with a pick-up Canadian dragon boat team,
organized by Paul Boileau of the Ft. Langley Canoe Club.  Paddlers
from across the Vancouver Lower Mainland joined for the chance to have
an enjoyable vacation, and race against some of Australia's finest
dragon boat teams.

Dave writes:

Hi Gung Haggis paddlers

Internet has been down at many places I've tried over last
few days.


Report from Down Under

Another Clearly Canadian paddler was injured prior to the
races. Lila was almost hit crossing in a  crosswalk in Sydney by a speeding car that didn't stop.  She dove for the sidewalk and just missed
being hit.  It was so close passer-by’s
thought she had been hit.  She bruised
her right side hitting the sidewalk.  Hmmm,
that's three paddlers hurt now.  Me in the
scooter accident in Hawaii, Lorriane in a separate scooter accident in Hawaii,
and then Lila in Sydney.  And we only
have one spare.

The Australian Nationals April 6, 7 and 8th.

Although we had already been registered for quite a while,
we reconcieved word that this competition is only for Australian teams not international
teams, before we left.  Letters flew
back and forth and the officials changed their minds and let us come….however
we would be a demonstration team only…no medal round races.

April 6th 1000 m races

We moved into our tent right (closest one to the stands, podium
etc.) and we felt that the Australian teams were not expecting to see us and
that they were worried about us.

The teams competing were the state champions (of each Australian
state) and they were competing to be the team(s) that would be Australian champions
that would represent Australia internationally.

In our first races, our Women's Masters team paddled well
but came in last against very tough competition.  Then something completely changed ….the Australians came over
to greet us and to meet us.  It turned
out that they thought we were a hot shot competitive Canadian team coming to
trounce them at their own Nationals. 
Once they found out that that wasn't the case they all wanted to be our
friends and to trade team jerseys with us. 
They couldn't do enough for us.

April 7th 500 m races

The day stated with the announcer introducing us and talking
about us and then asking all the people to stand while O Canada was played over
the loud speakers.  All the Aussies
stood up and cheered (two of our team members that were standing beside me
started crying) Quite touching.

Woman's Master's team came is last in the first race.

Our mixed team with only 9 male paddlers, including me with
my hurt ribs, didn't expect to do well against Australia's best.  When the race started our drummer (Sheena
Davidson) screamed at us and the steers (Paul Boileau) did also.  We put everything into the race and came in fourth
amongst the best teams there – way better that we had expected we'd do.  Our time was 2:11  with only nine males and eleven women (the women were tired as
they had recently races their own race). 
So we did well.

One strong woman, paddler Elizabeth, hurt back paddling hard
in the finish and had to be helped from the boat at the end of the race.  If you are keeping score that is four injured
now.  I'm paddling right as my left
chest is hurt, Lila is paddling left as her right side is hurt (diving out of
the way of the speeder in Sydney) Lorriane's has her arm wrapped in a tensor
bandage (from the scooter accident) and now Elizabeth is hurt.

After our woman's team raced our Clearly Canadian mixed team
raced again with our spare replacing Elizabeth.  Our second 500 m was like the first.  We again were just a fraction of a second behind third in four
place.  Our  time in this second 500 was 2:12. 
Still doing well with only 9 men paddling.

We weren't allowed to race our mixed team in any finals
(this meet was for the Australian State Champions only) but back at the tent we
were quickly taking on celebrity status. 
Paddlers from the Australian teams gathering around to talk to us and to
exchange, hats, shirts, pins or what have you.

April 8th 200m races

I’ll send you the report on the April 7th , 200 m sprints,
the ceremonies there and the party after in the next e-mail.  Also info on the country here.

Really gotta go now.



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