Gung Haggis Fat Choy team prepares for last practice before the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festiival June 20/21

It's the last practice before the race: Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

2009_June_Dragonboats 012 by Toddish McWong.

Gung Haggis team line up at the Dragon Zone regatta on June 6th – photo Todd Wong

The Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival is the largest in North America. Dragon boat racing began in Vancouver BC, when the Hong Kong pavillion at Expo 86 donated 4 teak boats to the City of Vancouver.  I started attending the festivals for the great entertainment and shows.  It wasn't until 1993 that I first joined a team and started paddling.

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has been racing at Alcan Dragon Boat Festival since 2002.  Prior to that I coached and paddled on many different teams at the novice, recreation and competitive levels.  The Gung Haggis team emphasizes fun, fitness and multiculturalism.  That's why we wear our kilts while paddling a Chinese dragon boat tradition.

We have been asked to participate in two film documentaries.  One is a feature film titled “In the Same Boat”, directed by Alfonso Chin and produced by Jacqueline Liu for Rosetta Entertainment.  Alfonso used to paddle for the CC Riders team, and our paddler/drummer Keng Graal used to be one of his teachers.

2009_June_Dragonboats 007 by Toddish McWong Katie, rookie Gung Haggis paddler is interviewed for “In the Same Boat” dragon boat documentary film – photo T.Wong

The second film is a multi-part series called “Chinatown Canada” produced by Kerri Beattie of Image Pacific.  They will be interviewing me about Vancouver Chinatown, and filming our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team in action, as one of the cultural off shoots of Chinatown.

We are having our final pre-race practice tonight  5:45 to 7:30pm at
Dragon Zone (50 paces south of Science World – at the Green Trailer
Building).

We will be working out our final race strategies, and finalizing seating arrangements.  Some of the paddlers have been away, but have returned just in time.  We have four brand new paddlers who raced their first races ever in May and June.  We have two more brand new paddlers who have yet to experience a full race with 7 or more boats. 

Our core veterans have been with the team for 4 years or more.  We have added some paddlers who have experience with other teams.  This could be the best Gung Haggis team ever.  But our roles at drummer and steers are not settled yet, and we might be rotating people.

Tonight after a debriefing… we are having a team social at “The Clubhouse
Restaurant” on West 2nd – across from City TV, and on the same block as
Bazzaar Novelty.

There is a dvd machine in the upstairs party room.
I will be showing documentary footage of the team from
France 3 “Thalassa” 2005
CBC Generations: The Chan Legacy 2006
ZDF “From Toronto to Vancouver by Train” 2007
but not from the 2008 Global News “Best of BC”


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