And … we’re off to the Docklands to meetup with the CYSM a.k.a. Sea Dragons dragon boating team to do some dragon slaying, I meean boating today! It was a marvelously sunny day to do some outdoor sport, clocking only at a mere 28 celcius on the weather forecast, the sunscreens and us were definitely out to play, we certainly didn’t wanna be looking like burnt toast after playing in the water.
Due to my alarm clock waking up late, we arrived a little later than the rest of the YK’ers so I am going to assume that we grouped up at the main entrance of the Docklands paddling community hub to begin with, we weren’t alone as there were other interested participants who joined in for the try outs. There was quite a few of us noobs, the roundup had a count of over 12 newbies in the waters today trying out their hand, eye, legs, arms, shoulder, back co-ordination, YK alone was represented by 6 gorgeous ladies woo hoo! From the turn out we could tell that dragon boating is starting to garner some popularity as a sport!
From the main entrance we were then ushered to a nearby mini playground where we did a some stretching and warming up exercise so your muscles are awake when you hit the water. Once the warm-ups we’re completed we were then briefed a little about what you can or cannot do in the boat and how you should be paddling and what safety precautions you need to adhere too. We met Joe who was the coach who demonstrated the different types of paddling which looked soo easy until .. actually have a paddle in your hands.
Once the briefing was over we were then told that it is time to have us put on the PFD, coming from a IT background all I could think of is PDF so I figured it was a waiver of some kind. Ho Ho Ho silly me! As we approached the community hub we were directed to go inside to where the cages were and there laid out on the floor was the PFD (refer to orange image below) please do ignore the HH, you get the idea and what better way to show you our final looks with T-ma as our model. *whistles out loud*. PFD stands for personal flotation device, it is the one item that will keep your head above the water in the event that someone stands up on the boat and has zero balancing skill and everyone in the boat has to finally go swimming, think the term bottoms up! Once we’ve put them on, we were then handed a paddle each to easy. We also had to lather up on the sunscreen so we don’t get brown after paddling for 2 hours in the water and so we did, we squirted away from the bottle of banana boat before proceeding to the boats.
Before you even start paddling, we had to get into the boat and because we come in all shapes and sizes we had to be identified so we’re evened out as so the boat wouldn’t be lopsided. As a precaution we were also paired up with a experienced paddler so we can be guided during the row. As there was so many newbies and not enough experienced paddlers it took them a while to sort us out but we managed to into the right boat and nobody needed to use their PFD. Once the head and tail of the boat is in and ready to rock and roll we’re off! Quick note: Head and tails are the only two people who can see whats going on and they maintain the beat and provide timing assistance during the course of the row.
For us newbies it took a few of us quite a while to adjust to the right of ways of paddling, but after a few tries most of us got it right and with the guide of the experienced we could adjust correctly, there a few slip ups and paddle kisses but it was a good workout for the muscles in the arms, hands, shoulders and places that we never knew had muscles. Paddling in a dragon boat is all about rhythm and timing as we are so close to each other, we cannot take a stride too long or too short or we would lose the count. Most of the time the have drum beats to keep the rhythm and count but unfortunately the drum had a hole in it so we had to leave it behind.
Our first few paddles were the 1km rows which we we’re told that most newbies would never been able to make it through but we didn’t just do it once we did it like 3 times over! Yay newbies! All the non-newbies we’re impressed that we could get the boat going as fast as we could and to keep it in sync but it was a team effort all rounder and it helps when the tail end screams every now and then to keep us in line or in rhythm screaming “IN”, “IN”, “IN”. Like in any team sport, its the team spirit that keeps the event exciting and we had some very good motivators throughout the day pushing us to go reach deeper, harder and pull!
Towards the end of the run, we were taught a few other methods that helps the team to synchronize their paddling and honestly speaking those we’re even harder than the actual rowing! As we we’re rowing mostly within the docks but we could see the docklands from a different angle and it was just lovely but it wasn’t a time to ponder and day dream, it was paddling time! After almost an hour of rowing, it was decided that we would call it a day as the other members had a race the next day and we didn’t wanna tire them out.
Upon docking, we had some group chats, group photos AND group huddle with the CYSM team. Everyone was friendly and supportive and just awesome! Would very much look forward to rowing with them again soon! Thank you C and partner (I’m not good with names. 😞 sowwee) for making the entire event just so much FUN!
– J

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