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

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Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

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