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. 

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