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Addicted to Boats

Week One is in the books at the Bow Wave Dragon Boat Training Camp. This camp, conducted annually under the leadership of Jim Farintosh in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida is a great way to kick off the season for many dedicated dragon boat paddlers from all over North America. I have been fortunate enough to coach at the camp since its inception 17 years ago.

The first week flew by, as it always does. The week starts with a meeting to try to explain Jim's schedule, which can be somewhat challenging to interpret (I refer to them as hieroglyphics). The week ends with a 2K race, followed by a social, where teams each perform a short skit for the coaches. For me, the highlight of the social is Anthony Sword singing and Jim Farintosh performing “Addicted to Boats”, although I also always enjoy the skits performed by the various teams, especially my team.

My team this week included 15 athletes from Vermont – mighty Catamounts – 3 from Charlotte, and one southern belle from the great state of Georgia – 19 mighty women. The coach of the Vermont paddlers, Lisa Bedinger, paddled in the crew and couldn't have been more accommodating. Very good coaches all share one trait – they are secure in their abilities and welcome input from other coaches. That doesn't mean that they need to accept everything the other coach says, they use another voice to reinforce their own concepts. Lisa’s team is very lucky to have her as a coach.

We had great weather and the week flew by. I really like to work on boat run with my team and I could tell by the second practice that my team was going to make major improvements during the week. We developed a very good boat feel by mid week, we made big speed gains by Saturday. My team had two video sessions, went to my talk on Race Day Success, did an 18 kilometre paddle to a nearby causeway, did 10 dragon boat practices, and were also offered a steering clinic, outrigger paddling, 3 other talks, sunrise yoga, daily stretching sessions and a couple socials. No wonder the week flies by.

A very good friend of mine, Trevor Woodside, is in charge of the outrigger sessions and provides the boats. These boats arrived brand new out of the packaging and are amazing, top of the line boats. I really don't know how Trevor keeps his patience as these expensive, brand new boats are inevitably flipped and crashed and dropped through the large volume of use by paddlers of varying ability, but he does. He and Bill Ford do a great job, although Bill was a little off his game because he was pining for his wife, Anne Baker, who finally arrived at the end of the week.

For my sprint friends at home, I have been doing early morning practice in a sprint C1 every day alongside Tim Schaus who has a K1 with a resistor. Even here, Tim runs the workouts. We are out about 50 minutes, and do 20 to 25 minutes of work. Thanks Charles for letting me keep a boat down here. Max Tracy also dropped by for a visit, we had a great OC2 paddle one day and Trevor was nice enough to let him take an OC1 another day.

My team had a great 2K race on Saturday morning, we went 10:47, our dream goal was sub 11. We paddled absolutely on the edge and I was very proud of my team. Thank you so much for the card and the gifts, you are amazing. We go forward as a club, I look forward to seeing each of you at various events on our dragon boat journey. We know.

So on to week 2. This week the captain of the dragon beasts, Maria MacDonald, is here, along with veteran dragon beast Joanne Oostveen. They are in John Dyer’s crew, paddling with a crew from Edmonton. I am co coaching a team from Florida, Heart and Soul, with Tim.

We are addicted to boats. Dragon boat, SUP, OC (and sprint C1, K1) anything that floats.

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