Tutukaka Coast Winter Festival Dragon Boat Regatta, Saturday 19 August 2017
Plan, to meet @ Toots 10am Saturday 19th August.The team woke early from their warm comfy beds in Auckland, to head for Tutukaka, some of us earlier than others, and some the day before. As we travelled along in our cars carpooling too, we rendezvoused at various spots to engage in a coffee or 2 and a chit chat. A few spots of H20 along the way, nothing to be at all worried about, surely this will stay in the City of Sails!!!!
Arrived at set up (thank you Vicki and Debs), our place of comfort and shelter for the day………watch this space. The boats were carefully unloaded from storage and we spotted the BIG pink one, colour a bit faded but she’s a beauty, BUSTING WITH LIFE down the side of her. Aww, such a sight from weeping eyes. The old girl was just calling us back in………….(the boat that is, not the caller!).
1st race - we’re up. Keen as. Four teams. Paddled to the starting line…..we’re off! (these boats are pretty old & rather high from the edge to the water line and so our poor little arms had to stretch that little bit more to reach the chilled waters of Tutukaka). As the boat launched into shore, the caller had to run & collect the number board for placing. We came fourth, but hey, this was just a warm up for us.
2nd race - we paddled out to the start line and OMG the heavens just opened up. We all tried to shelter from the pouring rain. Caps became the new look “rappers” and poor Maz (Marion), she’s doing the frozen snow cone dance, shivering and shaking. Evan our sweep, god bless him, he was head to toe with wet weather gear. No it’s all good here Evan, you stay dry, we’re ok. While waiting for the other teams to rock on up we broke out in song with still the rain pouring down on us.
….if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands…
….if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands….
Thanks Robin, it warmed our spirits and hearts. Gun goes….
We powered through the rain, the storm, the thunder. It was a dark sky and the sound of the raging seas was lapping at our boat. Fish were jumping out from left then right and centre!! The boat hit the shelly shores with force and the caller jumped “ship” and ran to the board, plucked it from the depths of the sand and held it high. YESSSSSS 2nd (a little over exaggerated, but it sounded fierce aye!)
It rained and rained and rained. We huddled toward the centre of our shelter to stay warm, wrapped in towels and anything dry and cosy. Maz …well she still looked like a frozen snow cone so much so she could have been used as an icepack had there been a call for one, bless her. Racing was called to a halt due to the weather conditions. We packed up & headed to our motel rooms. Had hot showers & walked to prize giving. Great prizes as always were given away and our team received a couple of them. Tutuakaka is a wonderful little spot to go, the people and hospitality of folk are awesome. Go up there one day, it's outstanding.
We headed off to the restaurant, had a wonderful meal, tummies full and eye lids almost closing. Sunday morning we rose to a gorgeous sunny day, no rain just clear blue sky. Had breakfast in the motel giggled about the event. Gathered ourselves and toddled off to our transport and said our goodbyes.
Home at last, what an adventure. Another exciting weekend had by all.
O bugger…………the wet gear from the weekend, always washing to do, ain’t that right BUSTING!
Till next time, Linda Ashton
National Championships, Lake Karapiro, Friday & Saturday 7/8 April 2017
There was more these National Champs than simply chasing medals, as Beth Davis shares ...
One memory I hope never to forget is eating our Hangi in the dark by Lake Karapiro after the National Championships for Dragon Boat Racing. There we were, just our team, sitting all together around two folding tables eating tin-foiled wrapped meals that had been picked up from the back of a truck and presumably cooked underground on a local Marae. The air was crisp. We couldn’t ask for more unless it was perhaps a flashlight to see what the smoky deliciousness was that we were eating. It was a magical moment, having just finished 2 days of hard competition and now wanting to savour the moment before heading off. The moonlight was shining off the lake and it was truly just us eating in the dark. The 30 other teams and hordes of spectators had trouped off after the final 2km race.
We sat reflecting on our day. “How about those spirited teenage girls dancing the Macarena in a large 100-girl circle on the slope of the hill leading down to the lake?” Who can forget the young ones belting out Adele’s “Hello” at the top of their lungs - just like we were all at Vector Arena? We weren’t as amused when those young ones chased us down and snuck past us on the final race of the day. They overtook us on the second turn of the gruelling 2km Race. I think we all felt outraged as they powered past us with their youth and enthusiasm, and we were so close that we could have told them off. I wanted to splash them with my paddle, but I needed every ounce of energy just to keep time with my teammates. Instead we tuned out those pretty young things, and stayed focused.
I’ll never forget Caro beating the drum and Robynne urging us to REACH…yelling POWER! It was so exciting but so exhausting! The sun had nearly set by the time we left everything we had out on that lake. My throat was so parched that I had to dip a hand into the lake after crossing the finish line. Then I patted my teammates on the back to thank them for their supreme efforts and accepted their pats on my back in a lovely tactile ritual that shows deep appreciation for everyone's effort. Although we didn’t know it as we crossed the finish line, we had achieved a personal best—under 12 minutes for the 2km race! But we did know, in that moment, that all of our hard work had paid off and made that moment possible. Together, we had achieved something really difficult.
Amazing how far 20 strangers have come since I joined the team 6 months ago. I feel so grateful to all my teammates for turning up at practice and giving it their all - and setting such fine examples of being good people. For me, Nationals was about Life Lessons and how we strive to be better people. For example, we were all grateful to Jude for coming back to us. She somehow managed to compartmentalise a close family tragedy and still come back to race the next morning. We also thought about our great friend Donna with her youthful face and curly hair who just found out she is facing the challenge of recurrence of her breast cancer. We are all so grateful to them both for joining us in the boat at Nationals despite the immediate challenges they faced. And like a circle, we offered them love and support right back. Nothing special, just listening with our hearts.
I hope that by writing this down now, it will help us to remember that night by the lake when we did our best for ourselves and for our teammates. Thank you all for a great season!
Regional Championships, Lake Pupuke, Takapuna, Saturday 18 March 2017
Season newbie Darien Pearce experiences her first Regionals held on Busting's training turf ....
I arrived at Lake Pupuke for Regionals and it was a beautiful crisp morning with a sea of tents, excited people, and the boats looking lovely on the water with their dragon heads and tails attached. After dropping my things at the tent, the first stop was to join everyone else queuing for a hot drink to start the day! This was my first Regionals and I was nervous. Could I do this, would I survive the 2km race? Yes, I could! The flower ceremony for the BC teams was very moving. All in all it was an amazing day with amazing people. Everyone dug deep and found the energy needed, even for that 2km race! It was also exceptionally nice to have some “bling” at the end J Go Busting!!! The next day was spent lying on the couch!
Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, Viaduct Harbour, Monday 30 January 2017
It wasn't for a wine and a meal that season newbie Jo Hooper headed to the Viaduct for on this occasion ...
We gathered at the Viaduct early ready to race. The day started and continued in perfect conditions with 24 degrees and next to no wind (could this be true after all these windy training sessions?) Being my first competitive race I was looking forward to the day and the opportunity of putting into practice all the elements we had concentrated on in training. Also nice to be at the Viaduct for a purpose other than eating and drinking!
Dressed in our racing shirts and with our light racing paddles it was exciting getting into the small, much less stable, boats. The beautiful dragon heads and tails were attached and with drum in front the boats were quite magnificent. The first two races were run close together and we did good times in both. We came third in our first race and a close fourth in the second, with a mixed team taking first place.
We had a long break before our 3rd race which gave us a chance to check out the opposition’s styles, have lunch, shelter from the sun and have a chat of course. In our 3rd race we knocked a few seconds off our previous race time and it felt really good employing the race plan we had gone over in training and seeing the results. In the final we were up against Bay Dragons, Waikato Treasure Chest and Jaffettes Red and came in an extremely close third with only .85 of a second separating 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Paddling in the Viaduct in the confined space and calm water was a whole different experience to training and the feeling of the boat lifting and responding to our efforts during the race was very strong. The day was filled with a lovely sense of competitive spirit and good sportsmanship between all teams.
It’s a long time since I’ve been part of a sports team and it feels great to be part of a fabulous group of friendly women who have had a shared experience and to improve fitness at the same time. Go Busting!
Christmas Beach Races, Milford Beach, 3 December 2016
The ADBA fun beach race day this year was slightly different than last years; it commenced at 12 noon due to the tides and set up was further down the beach, but it was still a fun day which was enjoyed by all and the weather was kind to us also.
Busting shared our extra paddlers with Pink Dragons who couldn’t get a full team together for each race and that meant that we all got lots of paddling which keep us all happy.
Again, the day was a time for fun paddling, lots of laughs, good food and great camaraderie filled with loads of Christmas cheer.
Hamilton Regatta, Saturday 19 November 2016
We might have got a bit wet, and we might have been a bit cold, but the Hamilton regatta this year was an historic moment for us: for the first time, we made the women’s grand final. Helen McKessar fills us in on a soggy day in the Waikato .....
After many had just returned from the warm Gold Coast the previous weekend, the prospect of a day’s racing in Hamilton with only half the team coming down and a bad weather forecast, seemed like a commitment to duty, rather than an exciting day. But when we came second in our first heat, most of the other four boats having men in them, we knew we were in for success. It seemed that the team had found its groove and in the following heats, we paddled with self-belief and synchronicity (Thanks Leslie!). We built up our power progressively and our strokes were deep and crisp and even (just like good old King Wenceslas!)
To hear that we had made the grand women’s final was a boost to our morale. We gave it all we had and we were good! Placing fourth out of five in that race, meant we were fourth out of ten women’s’ teams, most of whom had younger paddlers.
It looks like we have come together as a team this year, with greater fitness, a more focussed attitude and a belief that we can succeed. Bring on the 2016/2017 season!
2016-2017 Season Opener, Sunday 16 October 2016
It was a good turn out to the 2016-2017 Season Opener at the French Rendez-Vous Café at Lake Pupuke, Takapuna. Welcomed by Team Manager Judy, we shared a delightful afternoon tea before moving outside to the amphitheatre where we were introduced to the world of Tai Chi by Hung. Coach Leslie addressed us all briefly outlining the season and covered the benefits of dragon boating especially relating to Lymphodema. Thanks to Catherine Rose for inviting Hung and Leslie.
First day of training is Monday 17th October as we prepare for a busy season and go chasing bling!!!
ABDA Spring Regatta Westhaven Auckland, Sunday 9 October 2016
Donna Reynolds (aka 1 of the 2 new Double D's) embraced an opportunity to finally "give-it-a-go".....
As soon as I arrived at training, I felt, to coin a phrase, a sisterhood. I just seemed to fit in. It helped that there was another newbie starting that day, and we have now become the Double Ds.
At the beginning I certainly felt that I had good paddling days and then there was some days that I struggled and thought I will never get the hang of this. But with a cut down paddle and a few good winter trainings under my belt, I was feeling confident going into the regatta. Winter training has been a wonderful introduction and Aleisha has certainly been a good teacher.
My first Auckland regatta. The adrenalin rush from actually competing and seeing our team get better with every outing was great. The rain even held off to the very end. BWL is a well run organisation with a fantastic email tree, which certainly keeps you well informed and provides everything you need to give dragon boating a go.
Thanks to all the girls in BWL; it's been fun and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.
WIMA Pink Ribbon Motorcyle Charity Ride Auckland, Sunday 9 October 2016
Azba Shaiyad shares her first experience of this annual event ...
I have always wanted to ride on a motor bike if not ride it. When I turned 50, this wish went on my bucket list. I had so far led a very safe, sheltered life and wondered when and where I could get around to ticking it off my list. Little did I know this would be made possible when I survived BC! So when I had the opportunity to choose between paddling and riding on a Harley, no points for guessing my choice! I had to wake up early on Sunday morning to get to Western Springs and meet up with other BWL biking enthusiasts. Daunting when you consider that I had done a 21km walk the evening before. I could just manage to walk upright and make it to our venue. Swinging ungainly behind Jerry onto his almost Harley (it was actually a Vulcan!!) I settled down to enjoy the swing and lean that can only be enjoyed on a motorbike. It was over all too soon, as far as I am concerned. Looking to repeat this experience well into the future.
A huge "Thank You" to BWL for welcoming me into its fold and making possible so many experiences hitherto unavailable to me.
Committee Member Margaret Burden, also gets involved, again ....
Sunday began with much better weather than forecast as 9 of us headed for St Johns to help the WIMA ladies with registration of bike riders for this annual event. Unfortunately, this year the total number of bikes was around 260, about half of the last 2 years, but still an impressive array of bikes, riders and pimping. Each of us was kitted out with helmet and jacket, then assigned a ride on either a Motorbike, a Can Am Spyder, or a Trike.
At 10.30am we headed for the city following a police car which arranged for a green wave throughout the entire ride (all lights green); down to St Heliers, along Tamaki Drive, up Hobson Street and then along New North Rd to Western Springs where there was food, a talk by Urzila Carlson (Breast Cancer Foundation ambassador) about what the Foundation does, and then our brief "balcony scene".
As usual, we all loved it, and as usual the ride seems far too short. It was great to see our new participants enthusiasm before and after the ride. All hail Betsy and Hina (Azba's daughter) as the major sales pair for their enthusiastic work before the ride, and their delight, and Azba's, afterwards. Once again it was a privilege to help this great group of riders in their support of the Breast Cancer Foundation. The ride raised around $4,500 for the Foundation.
NZBCF Pink Star Walk Auckland, Saturday 8 October 2016
As a team newbie, Diane Willetts (aka DD2) felt blessed to have been involved in this wonderful night with our amazing team.....
The Busting with Life Team showed their support for the fight against Breast Cancer at the Pink Star Walk in the Domain. The team also got to practice a different kind of ‘catch’ technique. They floated through a sea of pink and waves of laughter, encouraging other breast cancer survivors to come and give paddling a go at our open day on 15 October. The Pink Star Walk was an awesome event that brought everyone together under the beautiful starry night.
Fashion Fiesta Fundraiser, Wednesday 28 September 2016
BWL hits the Cat Walk and shows what’s hot for Summer……
The 2016/2017 paddling season opens in October and to get fund raising underway for what is going to be a big season, our first event was a Summer Fashion Show at Ballentynes in Albany on Wednesday 28 September. The support from the team, their friends and families, was brilliant and we had a full house; big thanks go to all for getting behind it. Models Susan, Linda, Catherine, Bridget, Marion and Jude enjoyed presenting garments chosen by the great team from Ballentynes, who also assisted behind the screens with dressing the models. Make up was professionally applied by Faith from Mary Kay - thank you Faith.
The audience loved the garments along with different styles with lots of colour. Many were delighted to be able to shop after the Show and purchased a favourite item, or in some cases, items. It was an enjoyable and successful event for us all.
Tutukaka Coast Winter Festival Dragon Boat Regatta, Saturday 27 August 2016
Towards the end of Winter, we look forward to heading up to Tutukaka to take part in one of the many events during their Winter Festival ... Lynn McCorquindale shares the highlights of the weekend ....
Of course I had put my name down for paddling at the Tutukaka Winter Festival, but as the weekend got closer, the wind got stronger, the rain was more intense and it was cold.
Friday evening 5.30, I'm driving home from work, it's cold, windy and wet. I'm looking forward to a cosy weekend snuggled up in front of the fire catching up with Emmerdale.
Then the text came through. I assumed it was to cancel the weekend's festivities. It said that not only that it was still on, but it might even be sunny with no wind. Ok, I trust the weather report, get packed to go.
Saturday morning, the drive north was very pleasant, and we arrived in Tutukaka to a slightly chilly, sheltered beach. We looked over the four boats which looked in pretty good condition (apart from the resident spider colony), albeit quite old and heavy. These boats had been donated to Tutukaka by the ADBA to encourage dragon boating in the area. As the teams started arriving, the day warmed up, and the days proceedings began. We had about 14 paddlers, so there was plenty of spares. The briefing for the water conditions was - ok going out and coming back, but the old boats are prone to capsizing, and it was a bit lumpy out at the start line turn. So just keep paddling, whatever. Encouragingly comforting. Our first race was over in no time, after a start line jostle. Everybody looked wet, cold and exhausted, but all smiling. The next race was loaded up, only to be called out for having 12 paddlers instead of 10. Leslie tried to justify this miscalculation by adding the number of boobs on board, dividing by legs and subtracting a random number to get 10. Didn't work.
The last race was a fun run, with mixed teams. Up and around the channel marker, around the next, then race to the beach. We seemed to be out in front from what I could see. There was no one ahead of us....but...why was there a boat heading directly for us..? Wrong way Ricky!
Paddling over for the day, we headed to the motel in Whangamumu Bay. Right on the beach, a fantastic location. We rounded off the day, after the awards and spot prizes, with a pizza at the marina. In the morning, a few eager souls had an early walk, followed by a shared breakfast, expertly crafted by chef Leslie and many helpers.
Thanks to everyone for a fantastic weekend. The planners, the hunters and gatherers, the leaders, the carers, the entertainers, the encouragers, the participators.
Quote of the season. A few of us had been coughing during happy hour, Caro says, "seems like we have a few bad chests around here." The morning was topped off by a visit from a pod of dolphins to the bay. Watching from the motel, it doesn't get much better than this.
Winter Walks - 2016
Our June Winter Walk turned out to be coffee, cake and a natter, thanks to the Auckland weather, but a good chance to welcome newbies Donna and Sue.
Pirates in Pink Regatta, Westhaven - 1 May 2016
Memories from a Motley Pirate Wench (aka Helen McKessar) ....
Arriving at Westhaven, paying the meter, parrots on shoulders, striped tops, cutlasses and swords, boots, jewellery, waistcoats, kerchiefs, wide hats, belts, breeches, fake moustaches.
Chatting, laughing, setting up, posing, joking, preparing, jogging, stretching, checking, gathering together.
Into the boat, listening, feeling the water, smiling, getting serious, are you ready? Horn going, pushing out, counting, reaching, power call, digging deeper, cheering, hand slapping.
Back to the tent, resting, drinking, eating, chatting, sharing, evaluating, supporting, watching.
Out again, racing, feeling the adrenal, puffing, pushing harder, competing, easing, affirming.
Tidying up, packing, changing, re-gathering, ordering, sitting, clinking glasses, relaxing, laughing, belonging, listening, supporting Pinkies, appreciating, clapping.
What a ruckas of a day!
NZ National Championships, Lake Hood, Ashburton - 19/20 March 2016
Linda Ashton (aka Pink Panther) presents her first slice of life with BWL ....
As a newbie to the Busting With Life team, this is my picture.
Ok, so coach says pack for the bitter cold, it will be bitter and when you’re wet you will be cold.DO AS YOU ARE TOLD! Packed to the brim with thermals …. I’m ready!
Friday 18th March. We start filtering through to the Auckland airport pulling behind us our little “houses “ (well, they felt like heavy bricks to be fair, all that thermal gear! ) As our flight numbers rolled up on the big screens SOME of us boarded, SOME of us had to stay behind … flight cancellations, oh bugger! What next, drink more coffee? So as SOME of the team travelled down to Christchurch, we gathered together in the airport talking and waiting for the others to arrive. All phones go off, text from the “leader” it reads "2nd attempt to get to you all but flight again cancelled." I can feel a movie sequel about to break out, “The Terminal 2" starring (part of the team) Busting With Life!!. While this is going on other team members who had earlier flights that day were also being cancelled and a back log started to develop, OMG! Friday ended a bit like this…..SOME of us got into our awaiting vans - SOME of us went food shopping - SOME of us arrived at Methven - and SOME of us had first choice of the beds!! and the remaining team arrived in Methven at 10.15pm. A very VERY lonnnng day stuck in an airport. Sleep was totally on the agenda that night, zzzzzzz……
Saturday 19th March….ding dong….ding dong..5.30am alarm bells going off, dam it - no sleep in. Light from the kitchen shines through the gap of the bedroom door and the noise of the water pressure from a tap fills the kettle reminding us there is no time to sleep in. Four women get up, so organized in getting ready, a bit like watching synchronized swimming, PERFECTO! Head count from the coach and load the 3 vans with team and gear for the day and we’re off. Morning was a tad cool but the day was just unfolding. We arrived at Lake Hood and as the sun began to rise, its orange glow reflected onto the still waters - awesome, romantic almost……no time for that! We have a job to do, so let’s do it. “Accommodation” for the weekend event was grand, felt like you were about to enter a sheiks tent; no camels in sight though, just rows of pristine white peak tents with white picket fences for the entrance - outstanding! Today’s races were 500metre in 20 and 10 man boats. 5 BC teams entered (Busting With Life one of them). A light breeze developed first thing and as the day went on the breeze turned to strong gusty winds causing chaos at the start line. Sweeps calling “back paddle..hold..back paddle…hold, forward….back paddle," just trying to keep the boat in a good starting position and with keen-eager paddlers ready to, frustrating! Tough competition, team strength and loads of dedication. All teams had the ability to win, and all teams did win but there were those teams that did exceptionally well and they were the winners on the day. Busting With Life were only seconds away, literally, seconds away to winning medals. We achieved personal bests in the 500metre 10 man boat sprint. All the other teams were supportive of each other on land but on the water…..you could see the strength in the faces as the paddles went in longer and harder, faster and faster, pure adrenalin pumping stuff, truly a sight to see. Prize giving for the day's winners and we loaded into our vans off to a dinner function that was kindly sponsored by the NZ Breast Cancer Association. We were assigned to tables, napkins marked with our team colour and sat next to other BC teams. We talked and laughed about our past and previous races, some handy tips to take on board. Dinner was delicious (better cause we didn’t have to cook it!) and dessert just filled us to our brims. A guest speak from a BC team spoke on recruitment - well, what a laugh a real hoot! The lengths to “embrace” a new member to come on board is harder than what you think!. Time to go, so we loaded our weary bodies with full tums in the vans back to Methven to unpack and re-pack our gear bags and “houses" for day 2 of race day. A quick cuppa and heads on pillows ZZzzzzzzzzzzzz……
Sunday 20th March (last race day, boohoo ) ….Bing…bong, buzz….buzz…music tunes from alarms 5.30am wakeup call………Quick wake up sleepy head in room 4. Chaos - headless chickens - flapping wings and loose feathers going everywhere! Quick showers scoff breakfast down; collect the bathroom stuff and skull a cuppa tea. Check the rooms for any left behinds - Nah, all good. Head count and load up the vans with bodies and gear bags (don’t get the 2 mixed) and “houses" made of bricks! 2000metre race 1st up (due to the gusty winds the day before). Followed by 200metre 20 and 10 man races. The 10 man race was carried out in a 20 man boat! Totally different dynamics involved. Wind and weight take a big part and knowing how quickly things can change in a flash on the water all eyes ahead and ears turned on. The races were thrilling to be in as well as to watch. All ages of people participated from teens to the more “matures”. It was an honour (to me) that we paddled amongst the great ones, just amazing. Busting With Life, we came, we saw, we paddled our little hearts out - pat on the back to all. A raffle was drawn on the last night of prize giving. Our wonderful coach won the prize and the team cheered and clapped. The prize was a carbon fibre paddle - CONGRATS COACH!. We packed up yet again, this time for the last time of the season. Said our goodbyes and headed for Christchurch to the motel. Lucky for us a restaurant was on site so we booked a table for around 20 of us. Tummies full again we disbursed to our rooms. Got ready for bed and a quick chin wag about the weekends event. We all had a great time, and we all needed to head off to bed early to catch our flights in the morning and throughout the day. No big delays this time and soon we were all back in Auckland to the “rat race" of the day to day issues, basically hitting the ground running. To sum up the weekend’s event, Busting With Life is a team with heart and soul. We care, we strive and best of all, we gel….like chewing gum to a shoe or wax to paddles and other places! We are ready and waiting for the new season to start, roll on summer cause we are “busting" to get back on the water. My name is Linda Ashton and this is my picture.
Auckland Regional Championships, Lake Pupuke - 12 March 2016
Our "Hula-Queen" Betsy Mahoni-Rae, takes a moment to reflect on what being here on this day really means to her personally....
Leading up to the Auckland Regionals experience I was completely overwhelmed with concern and worry as to what I was getting involved with. The feeling became ever more prominent as I was driving at the crack of dawn, to Lake Pupuke for Race Day.
Running through the checklist in my head of what I was going to need for the day, good nutrition and water being the key in preparation for the seven races that lay ahead of us. Arriving early meant I was able to help with the set-up. Very quickly we had our Busting with Life tent and banner flying with presence and pride. There was definitely a contained sense of excitement amongst the women as we worked efficiently and with intention to create the perfect viewing platform for the day’s events.
In my head I was thinking “and here I am, it's race day and I am paddling today in the breast cancer division.” I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams that one day I would be, and I quickly take a moment to inhale the lake scenery and a chance to take a memory snap shot of the moment.
Very quickly, our team is called to gather in the marshalling area and a few formalities are undertaken. I can hear our Coach Leslie giving us last minute talks, but my mind goes back to three years ago to the day when I was in hospital undergoing my third surgery and the realisation that I had not only survived that difficult time of my life, but now I was here proving to myself that there is a life after breast cancer. My mind returns back to Leslie's words and I am brought back to the moment. I look to my paddling partner, Lynn, and squeeze her hand; she whispers to me “we are here.” I have only known her for 3 months, but I feel like I have known her for a lot longer and I have that feeling of being in the right place at the right time.
Our team paddles out to the start of the 500m, our coach reminds us to breathe, to suck it in, and to make sure we only listen to her instructions. Very quickly, instructions are flying all over the place and we move to the start position, “paddle forward, paddle back, in this boat, three strokes forward GO,” then the hooter sounds and everything I have been taught in the last 3 months is now tested – the most exhilarating feeling. Throughout the next two plus minutes, the commands are thrown over the boat with conviction and ‘timing’ is the most crucial word that is bellowed, followed by ‘power’ and then ‘reach.’ We are 50m to the finish line and our coach screams “finish it.” I have, since day one, struggled with this instruction – it has a different meaning in dragon boat speak to normal day meaning – in dragon boat racing it means we are approaching the finish, don’t stop and use everything you have left in the tank! When I had first heard this instruction I would pull my paddle out of the water because in all the languages I know, finish means finish, actually Oxford dictionary the definition is “bring a task or activity to an end.” I often think of Forest Gump and think he must have been a dragon boat paddler.
The Breast Cancer final is followed by the Flower Ceremony. All of the Breast Cancer boats and support crew gather holding the boats together. The song 'Que Sera' is projected out over the loud speakers and we take a moment to reflect on those that have not survived disease. The paddlers all wave roses in the air as the song sounds out over the lake and my eyes fill with tears for my mother who died at 50 years of breast cancer, 26 years ago. This day, this moment, I honour my mother and a quick thank you is given to her as I throw my rose over the lake.
In December, I googled these words 'Breast Cancer Dragon Boat' and the search engine found this page Busting with Life. From that website I have managed to connect with 20 plus wonderful women. I thank them for finding me.
ADBA Boot Camp, Kai Iwi Lakes, 26-28 February 2016
Paddling, partying, paddle boarding and studying the insides of eyelids, made this a magical weekend away, even despite the weather. Susan Harland-Smith has already booked her spot for next year .......
12 Busting with Life ladies had a whale of a time at Kai Iwi Lakes this weekend. Besides some hard out paddling, we got to know lots more about each other; like who the party animals are, who can pitch a tent and who can’t, and who can’t dance to save themselves.
Most of us arrived in time for the twilight paddle. The lake was magic; deep blue and sweet smelling. It was a beautiful evening and we did paddle for a long while. My neighbour was very generous with her advice on technique.
The next morning at 6am we woke to the most beautiful sunrise. By that time there were some 130 paddlers so we split ourselves up and paddled with different people. Over the day we all had at least three sessions on the water. Some masochists went for the really tough stuff and came back looking half dead. Most of us got some good advice and lots of paddling time to make those skills second nature. A small thing mentioned often in our Busting training is about keeping our top hand up. In this case Alisha suggested “keep your top hand outside the boat”. Now that makes you twist, and it gives you a visual reference point to self-check all the time. Useful!
We finished paddling at about 3:30pm and most had a swim to ease the aching muscles. Some keen types did some paddle boarding and kayaking, while others like me studied the back of our eyelids in the sun.
We trained hard for the Hula with Betsy doing her best to make us graceful, but in the end the No Talent Quest was cancelled as the heavens opened and down came the rain, followed by the wind. We were braving it quite well until about 8pm when the “abandon camp” was called.
I loved it and wouldn’t miss next year for the world!
Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, Viaduct Harbour, Monday 1 February 2016
Cathy Ahuriri certainly enjoyed her first ever Viaduct Harbour event and shares her experience "from the heart" .....
Years ago I just happened to be walking through the Viaduct one sunny day when I saw some Dragon Boats racing. I thought at the time that it looked amazing and that I would love to give it a go. Little did I know that, here in 2016 I would not only be "giving it a go," but would be racing my little heart out for the Busting With Life Dragon Boat team.
What a day..... I started out early as I was part of the setting up team and after following D2 from her home on the North Shore, arrived at the Viaduct to find our allocated spot - a prime location at the front of the walk way and right near the starting ramp. Slowly, but surely, all the girls arrived! Some had their support people with them and we set ourselves up for the day.
The atmosphere was exciting and I couldn't help but feel a little nervous. This year for the first time, we entered two teams. It didn't seem too long before the racing started and our first team was warming up and ready to go. They paddled their hardest and had a fantastic time.
Then it was my turn, with our second team. The tension at the starting line was electric and then boom.....we were off.......I could feel the boat lifting and I thought, 'wow, this is it, this is what our training is all about,' and it felt Great! I could see competitors to my left coming up behind us and it made me dig in even more. We crossed the finish line ahead but there were only split seconds in it, but.... boy, did that feel good!!!
All in all both teams did really well and it was a brilliant day. I feel really thrilled to be a part of this awesome team of women who are all very inspirational. Goooo Busting!!!
Milford Beach Christmas Regatta and Family Day, Saturday 12 December 2015
Blessed with a gorgeous day, newbie Lynn McCorquindale (along with hubby Michael #2, who had already been initiated into the BWL Family Team at a previous regatta) welcomed her parents along to share the day with us .....
This event was to be very different to the previous two this season. Mainly because it was off the beach, which had waves, tidal movements, wind and a “le mans” start. All the teams set up camp right next to the car park, but as the morning progressed and with an outgoing tide, the start line was moved half a kilometre down the beach. We were up first, having one of our teams in race one and the other in race two.
Our 2 teams, consisted mainly of BWL members of course, but as it is a fun day, family members were invited to participate and paddle in the Family Boat. The boats were quite different from our training 20's and previous regattas; much wider and holding only 10 paddlers. The water was a little choppy, meaning that for one stroke you could place your paddle right in the water, but by the next stroke you could find yourself with your paddle in the air. As this was my first taste of beach racing, I found that it was much harder than a lake or the safety of Westhaven. Added to the mix were turns, which we had been practicing, but only in the calm waters.
We raced each team three times, then stopped briefly for lunch, which was a wonderful shared spread. Dessert was delayed until we had finished all our racing, just in case we were too full to move.
The last race was much further with a relay of three teams, this had two turns. We lined up at the start, and with a 10 second delay between boats, then took off. When each of the teams completed the course, we could only be deemed as finished when the whole relay team danced in unison to the Macarenna. We had a brief lesson while our last team was racing back to shore.
I think we lost points for our dancing! It has to be said that throughout the day, we raced gallantly, and came third on two of the races. And we did win a prize.... but it was for the team that needed the most reminders to get ready to compete.
We were also delighted to hear that Natalie (our sweep for the day) and her hubby Chris are expecting twins, so each time she raced to start, and jumped on board, we all held our breath, until she was safely positioned at the back of the boat.
After all the racing had finished for the day, quite a few of us “newbies” needed to complete a 50m swim test. The water was quite pleasant when you got used to it.
All in all a very good day, lots of fun, families and food. “What a lovely group of ladies, so welcoming and so friendly,” was one comment that one “newbie's” family member made. I think so too Mum.
Tauranga Regatta, Lake Tauriko, Saturday 28 November 2015
Catherine Rose embraced her role as Team Captain for the day and shares the highlights of welcoming a very special visitor, and a memorable dining experience ....
Tauranga has always been a great team building regatta for us to attend, and this weekend was no exception. With a team of 14 paddlers including “newbies” Cathy, Lynn, Azba and Susan, along with Leslie and Deb, we were able to get a taste of what this season has in store for us. This was my first “mission” as Team Captain and although I have a lot to learn, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the support and encouragement from my team mates.
The weather forecast was grim with showers expected, turning to rain in the late afternoon. However, the weather gods smiled upon us as the rain held off until we had packed up and finished for the day. We had 2 heats and a BC final before lunch and a third heat in the afternoon. Both heats we managed to improve our times and worked on our timing and power calls. The BC Final was back to back with our 2nd heat so we were already warmed up and pumped. We lined up in lane 2, with Boobops in lane 1, Waikato Treasure Chests composite team in lane 3 and Pink Dragons in lane 4. When that horn went we gave it our all. Our timing was perfection. Our change from the “wind up” to “reach” was spot on, and when Chris Stone, our sweep for the day, called for “power” in the middle of the race, we gave it everything we had. The result was spectacular. All 4 boats crossed the line within 2 seconds of each other to the sound of spectators screaming on shore. Boobops 1st, WTC 2nd, Busting 3rd and Pinkies 4th. What a great feeling to be back in the game.
Immediately after the final we pulled into the dock to pick up our extras and had the absolute privilege of a VIP passenger from Canada - Dr Don McKenzie - on board our boat for the flower ceremony. Dr Don is the pioneer of world-wide BC Dragon Boat teams. His studies showed the importance of upper body exercise as a key component in recovery, and has also been proven to increase life expectancy of BC survivors by 10 years. He also said that he has learnt far more about Breast Cancer from being in a dragon boat, than he learnt in all his years at Medical School.Two of our team husbands, Michael and Michael, also volunteered to help out the Tauranga Intermediate School corporate team as they were a few paddlers short on the day. The boys raced in 3 heats and along with our “Newbie Lynn”, achieved a 3rd in their final. Well done! They also accepted the 3rd Place certificate on behalf of Tauranga Intermediate School at the prize giving as the rest of the team was AWOL. Overall it was a great fun weekend and we were very pleased with the way our team performed. We look forward to the challenge this season of transforming ourselves from “BC Survivors” into “Fire breathing-don’t-mess-with-me she dragons.” Bring it on, with or without the “Curly Fries”.
Hamilton Regatta, Hamilton Lake, Saturday 14 November 2015
We always plan for every weather condition when travelling to Hamilton for this annual first of the season event, but what a cracker of a day this turned out to be ... Marion Bourchier reports on a thoroughly enjoyable day .....
What a fabulous day! Eighteen of us headed off to Hamilton to participate in the Regatta held on Hamilton Lake. Teams from around the upper North Island joined in a day of fun (and fierce) competition. We were told by our lovely coach it would be a good training day - and it was, with a little edge of competition to each race.
We were thrilled to have some new ladies come to test the waters and try their hand at dragon boating; they were still smiling at the end of the day. Maybe it had something to do with the fact we came second in the final against the other breast cancer survivor teams - that was sooo exciting and brought a huge sense of achievement and thrill to know we have it in us to dig deep and give it our all.
Not only is this team a great way to exercise together and really feel the benefits, but for me personally, it has opened up a whole new circle of wonderful friends.
This is a group who genuinely care for each other not because of the condition that brought us all together, but because they are just a great bunch of ladies.
WIMA Pink Motorcycle Ride, Sunday 11 October 2015
A cold morning greeted us at Mt Wellington as we assisted with set up but, as per normal, the BWL ladies just got stuck in. The team of Cathy, Jenny, Margaret B, Carolyn, Vicki, Lynne, Margaret M, Erin, Sandi and Judy sold raffles, badges and managed traffic. The ride was great with around 545 bikes heading to Western Springs. It was a lot warmer on arrival at Western Springs and with the White Lady on hand as well as the Lion's sausage sizzle, there was plenty to eat. Raffles, lucky draws and speeches followed with the final result of a cheque for $4,000 being presented to the Breast Cancer Foundation by WIMA. A great result and a really fun day. Thanks D2 for support; most of us spotted you next to the mini golf on Tamaki Drive as we zipped past.
Spring Super Series No 4, Pier X Westhaven, Sunday 27 September 2015
Early Sunday morning it felt like Spring had arrived. Arriving at Pier X at 7:30am to set up, the sun was already shining, the water glistening and we were ready to go. Judy Kemp paints the picture .....
The combo team aptly called "Busting with Pink" took to the water in the last regatta of the off-season series and enjoyed the perfect paddling conditions. The pink ladies, a team of 5 from Pink Dragons and 8 from Busting with Life got together, warmed up and hit the water. We enjoyed three mad dash races followed by the final and one turns race.
It was a morning of enjoyable paddling, camaraderie, morning tea, prize giving and although not in the prizes, it was great to be back on the water.
Bring on the season .......
Tutukaka Coast Winter Festival Dragon Boat Regatta, Saturday 22 August 2015
Despite the weather forecast indicating we would see more than a hint of sunshine for the Saturday regatta at Tutukaka, rain and heavy fog followed us all the way to Whangarei before a small patch of blue sky finally appeared as we headed onward via Ngunguru. Shortlived though and with mostly overcast conditions, the rain did graciously hold off until we had the tent and all our gear safely packed away at the end of the day.
This fun regatta held for the 3rd year in a row now, is just one of the many events that take place during August as part of the Tutukaka Coast Winter Festival. It gives us the opportunity to again experience our old wooden boats and battle it out with several local teams along with several other mix ‘n’ match teams who also travelled from Auckland. Heartily supported by many of the local “Coast” businesses and sports clubs, we can count on enthusiastic rivalry as boats race back to the beach with a great deal of effort and energy. Three races and a final, followed by a mixed fun race completed the day. It was back to the hotel for a warm shower and happy hour before heading off to prizegiving.
Big thanks to Nick and his crew from Schnappa Rock Restaurant and Bar for hosting prizegiving along with organising a generous selection of spot prizes. Also, a huge thanks to our two Busting Boys, Phil and Michael, who made up the paddling numbers and made this a special "family" team.
2015 New Zealand National Championships, Lake Pupuke, Auckland - Saturday/Sunday 28/29 March 2015
Crossword Queen and baker extraordinaire, Erica Gilchrist highlights the last official event of the dragon boat season and is still smiling at the end of 2 full days of racing ....
A great weekend should have been had by all because we were treated to a huge and fantastically organised event of 100+ races overall.
The weather was much kinder than the forecast and by the end of the weekend we had had a bit of everything- sunshine, rain, wind, showers and often in quick succession, true to Auckland’s weather reputation. Altogether much less trying conditions than we had had for Regional Champs the week before, when constant cross-wind had made the starts extremely difficult.
Races came around quickly enough for such a huge number of teams and from a competitor's point of view, the organisation was seamless. It is a great location and an excellent site for spectators. Again, a very memorable aspect of the regatta was the energy and vigour that the secondary school teams brought to the event. The Haka from local high school Westlake Boys as they welcomed us to their lake and the tremendous respect they all show our BC teams showed their serious sides but, in between that, their fantastic and amusing energy around their chants and warm-up gigs added so much to the event creating another spectator throng!!
As with Regionals, we were there by the grace of our 7 enthusiastic ring-ins, 6 of them not BC, which meant we were paddling in the Open Women's grade, but felt lucky to be paddling in the competition at all. Our race results were far from those of our ‘glory days’ – but so much should be said for the competition – the camaraderie and the pleasure of the effort; everyone was still smiling by the end of the day – it was fun. Like many in the Team, my favourite is the 2km race when you settle in and keep paddling – by the first 500 the end seems miles away and then the 1km ticks past and suddenly the end is in sight. The ultimate pleasure is that feeling when your fitness and your nutrition has set you up to deal with exertion and the glass of wine on Sunday evening felt well earned.
2015 North Island Regional Championships, Lake Pupuke, Auckland - Saturday 21 March 2015
Despite some very challenging on water conditions, our Team is well pleased with their first time efforts competing in the Open Women's division. Team newbie Robynne Andrews experiences her first full on day of racing .....
An early morning wakeup and on the road to Lake Pupuke to paddle in my first Regional dragon boat regatta. On arrival you could feel the nervous energy and competition in the air as teams and the organisers went about their preparations. The weather wasn't so great and the paddling conditions were going to be a challenge. It took almost an hour for the first two 500m heats to be completed. As the day went on the starter seemed to become a bit tougher on the starts and some of the lost time was made up. The programme for the day was finally completed by 6:30pm.
The Busting With Life base was a hive of activity - pre-race chatter, tactics, warm-ups and warm-downs, chants, general socialising, post race reviews, race time comparisons, race conditions, the changeable weather, and a great view of the other races. Food and refreshments were also enjoyed.
The weather warmed up about mid-day and we were able to dry out a bit after each race before getting back in the boat to get wet (and for some cold) again. Dragon boating is without a doubt an exciting and enjoyable team water sport. Grit and determination is required. The feeling of paddling in unison to get that boat moving is exhilarating.
By the end of the day the Busting team had paddled approximately 6 km's in total. The team was a tight knit unit on the day, focussed on the task at hand. Together we achieved some consistency with our timing and gained 4th place in the 2km race, 5th place in the 500m Grand Final and 1st place in the 200m Plate Final in the Open Women's grade of eight teams.
The team has gelled together over a short period of 4-5 weeks. The BWL committee decided to recruit some open paddlers to combine with the remaining BC paddlers to compete at the Regionals and the Nationals in the Open Women's grade. Our hard work at training as a combo team is paying off. It felt great to be able to respond with some confidence to Leslie's "power" calls on the day. The BC paddlers are so grateful to our new team mates who have supported our cause and contributed with such enthusiasm at training sessions and at this regatta.
Dinner and prize giving was enjoyed by all in attendance after a long and demanding day. Thumbs up to the ADBA organisers. With training and hard work there is more we can achieve together. BWL Dragon Boat Team rocks.
ADBA Boot Camp, Kai Iwi Lakes, Northland, 13-15 February 2015
Leslie, Deb (D1), Vicki, Judy, Erin, Robynne and Debbie (D2) head North to live, eat and breathe dragon boating for a couple of days ….
If the promise of “Finding your 100%” or “Breaking through the Burn,” wasn’t enough to entice us away to the annual Kai Iwi Lakes dragon boat Boot Camp this weekend, then the perfect weather conditions, magnificent location, amazing coaches, sweeps and their support team, made this opportunity truly worthwhile.
A very early morning paddle to circumnavigate the lake was a highlight – to be on the water and watch the golden sun rise over the hill and burst into a bright orange ball made for a memorable experience.
The good thing about this camp is that you can participate in as much, or as little, as suits you. For the novice paddlers, there were beginner’s sessions with experienced coaches; intermediate paddlers were offered one-on-one critiquing with ways of paddling more effectively and efficiently, not necessarily harder; while the more advanced paddlers were catered for with high cardio on water sessions along with solo paddling time trials over a 200m course. Each session was broken into 1.5 hours with a refreshment break in between. Chris Stone, Chairman of the ADBA presented an insight into the importance of people placement in the boat and the dynamics and physical aspects of paddling styles and speed. At the end of the day, we were divided up to fill 4 boats for fun racing. Fun races seem even more competitive with a “le mans” start for all team members, turns and a finish which required a leap out of the boat and gathering of all team members in an appointed spot, sitting crossed legged, hands on head, singing a song. Not for the faint hearted …
Big thanks to Clayton and his fellow zoMBIEs team members for putting down a hangi which included fresh water crayfish from the lake (with local Iwi approval) for the Saturday night dinner. This was followed by the much anticipated talent quest where we witnessed some amazing hidden talents come out of the woodwork from many of the teams. The Busting girls represented the team superbly with their rendition of Madonna’s “Material Girl” to win a 4th placing.
Camp Mother Judy prepared a magnificent Sunday morning cooked breakfast, which bolstered us for the remainder of the day. Leslie brought along her SUP for leisure paddling and even first time "suppers" showed promise. A well organised event by the ADBA Committee – thanks to all involved who made this such a success.
Mark your calendars now for next year to be sure you don’t miss it ….
Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, Viaduct Harbour, Monday 26 January 2015
Rosemary Jenkins enjoyed the Bagpipes, Buskers, Tug Boats large and small, magnificent sunny weather and a paddle in the harbour, on this stunning Auckland day .....
There was little doubt that Auckland would turn on a stunning day for its 175th Anniversary. The city was buzzing and in the Viaduct there was a wonderful turn out of teams for the Dragon Boat Regatta. The number of teams were up again from last year; thirty six teams from all around the North Island. The number of women's teams had also increased. Competition was fierce and team spirits high. This year the teams were able to set up their gazebo's closer to the racing action which made for a more festive atmosphere. This Regatta is raced in 10 man boats and the course is 200 metres. Busting just managed to get a full team thanks to Tina, a paddler recently returned from the UK for her wedding, who was keen to join us. For Marion and Robynne our newbies, it was their first Regatta. I am sure this is just the beginning of lots more "Busting" action that these ladies will experience.
Wednesday night's training prior to the regatta saw us do eight 200m races with 1 minute to recover. This was great preparation, but it took the first race of the day for us to settle into the task at hand. The next two races we felt we hit our rhythm and the final was the race of the day for us ending with a photo finish. We had to wait until the prize giving at the end of the day to find out we had won by the narrowest of margins and held onto our title in the "Anniversary Angels" class final.
A highlight of the day was all the supporters and past paddlers who popped by to catch up to wish us well. It was great seeing Charlotte, Margaret, Kay and Christine. Our biggest fans were the partners who cheered us on. Graeme, Darryl and Ocke. Phil and the Ash family also dropped by to see how we were going.
This was a wonderfully organised event and our thanks must go to Deb Stevenson and her ADBA Committee for the outstanding job they did. Also, a big thank you to Leslie and the BWL Committee for all those behind the scene jobs they do. Judy, we hope you will be back paddling with us soon but in the meantime a big thank you for making sure we are up with the play. Last but not least, thanks to Sean our coach, for his unending patience and belief in us.
Christmas Regatta, Milford Beach, Saturday 13 December 2014
Not-so-newbie Margaret enjoyed "le mans" beach racing for the first time and the festive atmosphere of this most enjoyable regatta .....
The predicted lovely weather did not happen, but the overcast and sometimes cool, damp day did not deter the BWL ladies and Sean from making the most of the racing. With only 10 paddlers, Carolyn on the bow and Sean on the stern, it was maximum effort from everyone all day.
Races started with paddlers in the boats and Sean on the beach. He then dashed to leap on board and away we went. Out and around a buoy and back to the beach where Vicki or Carolyn then leapt out, and dashed to the finish line. Four races and all without major incident in our boat. The heats got off to an erratic start for our team, but with each race the team got stronger. Heat 2 saw some excitement when 2 boats collided, tipping the Sky team in to the water. On returning the boat to the beach it was found to be damaged which necessitated the need to reduce the remaining heats and the finals to 3 boat races.
At the end of the heats, the team shared a great lunch of finger foods. With half the team bringing savoury and the others bringing sweet. There was a wonderful array of food, very much enjoyed by everyone.
The highlight of the day was the visit from Santa and his reindeer. Out from the marina came a boat of paddling reindeer towing Santa Claus in a dinghy. On alighting at the beach Santa threw sweets for the children, at one stage putting on a real burst of speed to avoid being “tackled” by enthusiastic children. Great fun for spectators and participants alike.
After lunch, the finals. BWL was in the first heat and put in a valiant effort to finish not very far behind two other boats.
Because of the increased time to run the heats and finals with one boat down, it was decided that the fun races would not take place, so the day ended at 3pm.
It was great to have partners there supporting the team and especially nice to have Deb Stevenson’s father join us. All in all a great way to finish this part of the season.
Tauranga Regatta, Lake Tauriko, Saturday 29 November 2014
We always enjoy heading down to Tauranga for the annual Regatta at Lake Tauriko hosted by the Bay of Plenty BOOBOPS and this past weekend was no different. As Aucklanders, we have come to expect the late Friday afternoon crawl down the Southern Motorway, but once we clear the Bombay’s, it’s a very pleasant drive via Katikati or Matamata.
Rain threatened on Regatta day and despite the odd short shower that came through, the wind caused the most concern. Several tents were pulled from their pegs and became air borne, with one even making across the road and into a neighbouring front yard, making its mark on two parked cars en route.
27 enthusiastic teams completed in very challenging, windy conditions with the two local SWEAT teams taking out 1st and 3rd in the overall final. Newbies Susanne and Vicki experienced their first regatta, whilst no-so-newbie Margaret enjoyed her first regatta "away."
Great competition in the BC and Corporate races alike, with all 3 of our heat races bringing in the exact same time of 1:29. The BC race saw us come in a close 3rd with a time of 1:26. The Flower Ceremony was celebrated with the most beautiful home-grown roses and a chance for first time competitors to experience this very moving occasion. Big thanks for BOOBOPS for their sumptuous hospitality basket and for a very well organised event.
Loads of laughs, a chance to get to know newer team members much better, and a most enjoyable evening with dinner at the Mount to conclude the day.
Thanks to our Buster boys Russ, Mike and Ray for their support over the weekend.
2014 Pan Pacific Masters, Gold Coast Australia, 7/8 November 2014
Busters Leslie Ash, Deb Stevenson and Vicki Merrie joined other ABDA Masters representatives to compete again in this year's event. Deb Stevenson shares the event and experience (with a little retail therapy thrown in on the side ...... see Gallery for proof!)
22 paddlers from 9 different Auckland teams came together to form Retro Rockets. After intense training both on and off the water since August, we made it to the start line for the 2014 Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast.
By entering as the ‘Auckland Dragon Boat Club’, Retro Rockets and Auckland Women’s (AWDB) were able to enter Senior ‘A’ (+40’s) open, mixed, women and Senior ‘B’ (+50’s) open, mixed and women. In total, we raced in 6 divisions with approximately 15 x 200m races on Saturday and in 4 divisions with 10 x 500m races on Sunday. As two teams, we made the grand finals in the 10 divisions entered and medalled in 5 of them – a total of 4 bronze and 1 silver.
Of these Leslie, Vicki and I have 2 bronze and 1 silver!! The silver came in the Senior ‘B’ Women 200m race in a time of 0.59secs. This team was a combination of the women over 50 from AWDB and Retro Rockets. Not only did we win Silver, but Leslie as sweep has now completed her first international sweeping challenge. To quote Ricky Greaves “she did it with her usual capable aplomb – unlike some of the Aussie sweeps who went off course, fell off the boat, tipped over or stopped short of the finish line”!!
Highlights of the event included seeing Anne and Anni again. You will remember that they were married after the Wellington Festival in 2014 AND proving that as three old chook’s we still had it in us!!
The only disappointment was being unable to compete in Senior C (+60’s) because we could only muster 5 paddlers who were over 60. Oh well next time….perhaps!
For anyone interested this is a wonderful experience – being in a mixed team is a challenge but well worth while…..and having that bling makes it even more worthwhile.
Polar Bear Regatta, August Winter Festival, Tutukaka - Saturday 23 August 2014
Tutukaka welcomed us with blue and sunny skies for the 2nd time to this Polar Bear Regatta as part of their August Winter Festival.....
We set off bright and early on Saturday morning, with boy “Busters” Phil, Ocke and Ron, as well as our dear friend Jo from Whangarei, filling the spare seats to complete the BWL family team. A combo of paddlers from some of the other Auckland teams, as well as 3 local teams competed enthusiastically in the Harbour basin. Many locals stopped by to enjoy the activities, have a chat and support some local fundraising. Nick and his crew from Schnappa Rock Restaurant and Bar again hosted the after match prize giving function, with some wonderful event and spot prizes kindly donated by local businesses. Some of the team who don’t know what a Sunday morning sleep-in is, headed off for a walk to the lighthouse; a round trip of almost 2 hours taking in some marvellous East Coast scenery. This trip away has become one of the highlights of our Winter paddling calendar.
Hobbs Wharf, Gulf Harbour Regatta - Sunday 27 July 2014
Not only homemade pasties, chilli jam and baklava, but dress ups and dragon boat racing on a not too shabby Winter's morning. Erin O'Neill checks whether she has any muscle memory left from last season....
The second Winter Regatta this year at Hobbs Wharf, Gulf Harbour, started off as a stunning but chilly Winters day. With seven paddlers and Sean braving the cold, some last minute recruits were called upon in the form of team members’ husbands, Ron, Michael and Phil. The team was completed with our two drummers who had come along to support the team and ended up becoming part of the racing. Other friends and family were there to cheer the team on.Eight teams participated in a morning of 200m sprints with 3 heats and a final. The first race of the day was quite a wakeup call with fitness and timing, but the team soon found their rhythm and by the final, Bursting with Life took 3rd place.
Lunch time brought some showers but the team was kept happy browsing the Hobbs Wharf markets with the Cornish pasty shop doing a roaring trade. After lunch saw the fun races which involved all the ladies divided up into 4 boats and all the men divided up into 3 boats with 200m sprints. The racing day ended with a turns race which saw the boats being manoeuvred between wharf pillars, a narrow inlet and around a moored yacht. Sean was in his element and with the help of a couple of fill in paddlers saw Busting with Life come in 2nd place.
A dress up theme was encouraged throughout the day with the team looking fabulous in leis and pink mesh skirts, topped off with Sean’s pink veil and joker hat. The winning outfit of the day went to the Pink Dragons wearing pink dragon onesie outfits. All in all, it was a great day out.
May Madness Regatta, Westhaven Auckland - Saturday 3 May 2014
With the most stunning late Autumn day providing us with perfect paddling conditions, the first Winter Series regatta offered us the opportunity to test the muscle memory since racing at Nationals at the end of March. 3 rounds of heats, a final, and a 600m turns (or to be more precise, a triangle) race. With 11 team members keen to take to the water again we thoroughly enjoyed the competition and camaraderie from this off-season fun regatta. With the appearance of a Japanese film crew later in the morning, an impromptu and light hearted “Flash-Mob” developed – hidden talents were spotted and these have been noted for a future occasion. Coach Sean made a paddling guest appearance in an all-boys race; Caro jumped in for other teams who were missing a caller on the day; Kay arrived bearing fresh-out-of-the-oven banana and choccy cake for morning tea, and family support came from sons & partners, daughters, husbands, brothers and sisters-in-law.
National Championships, Lake Hood - Saturday 29 March 2014
The conclusion of the season dawns and we are looking forward to meeting up and competing again with our paddling sisters from around New Zealand. Rosemary Jenkins shares some personal insight...
The 2014 Dragon Boating Nationals on Saturday 29th March was held at Lake Hood in Ashburton. It was hosted by Aoraki DBA. Many thanks must go to Mere Gibson and her committee who organised and ran this event so successfully. The forecast predicted good weather. Those of the team who paddled at the 2010 Nationals at Lake Hood were not convinced and passed on a warning to the newer members. "Take no chances, you need to pack heaps of thermals, scarves, beanie and blankets." Saturday dawned with overcast skies that hung around most of the day. Luckily a shower at the start of the day did not amount to anything. The sun finally managed to make an appearance for the last event of the day, being the 2km.
This was the day that all our training and fitness would be seriously tested. Auckland Regionals the previous weekend had shown us the lay of the land. Pink Dragons was the team to beat if we were to be in with a medal chance.
The first event of the day was the 200m. This involved 2 heats and a final. We started fast and furious and yes! one of our 200m heats resulted in a photo finish but alas the outcome was not in our favour. We approached the 200m Breast Cancer final with high hopes surely it was our turn for a win, but no, this was not to be. The 500m event was next and in the heats yes! our times were quicker by a second or two. In the final though, we were just pipped at the post. Everything now hung on the 2km race if we were to get a medal. We had a strategy - would it work this time? In our (1st of 4) flytes, we were 2nd off the block at 15 second intervals. We raced like our lives depended on it. The only trouble was so did the other BC competitors. Our placing was fourth in all three events.
With hand on heart I can honestly say in every race we gave it our all - our best was not good enough on the day. However, not to be discouraged our loss this time will make the winning next time so much sweeter. We may not have had the success we wanted on the water but there was certainly success off the water. This was shown in our genuine pleasure at seeing CanSurvive from Wellington win the Breast Cancer 500m final. They had been pursing this goal for ten years.
The flower ceremony once again was successful in uniting all the Breast Cancer Teams and the Dragon Boating fraternity as a whole. This ceremony was very moving with a stirring haka to bring it to a conclusion.
The committee put on a wonderful dinner on Saturday evening where we were able to socialise as a team, debrief and reflect on the days events before we attended the prize giving. Thanks so much to Leslie and the committee who have worked tirelessly throughout the year. Your dedication and commitment is really what makes this team inclusive. It is appreciated how you value each member.
Sunday morning at the Breast Cancer breakfast I felt extremely proud to be a member of the Busting With Life team. As Leslie spoke to all the Breast Cancer teams gathered, she explained our legacy and how as a team we had started out back in 1998 with no boat, just paddles. I felt assured and quietly confident that our days of winning medals will return .
For everything there is a season. We will have our season again.
A big thank you must go to Sean our coach who never ceases to believe in us and give us techniques and strategies for us to use. Also a big thank you to Leslie as our awesome sweep. While 2014 Nationals did not give us the outcome we were after, it was still a great Nationals, just from a different perspective.
Auckland Regional Championships, Lake Pupuke - Saturday 22 March 2014
All season we have trained with two events in mind, the Auckland Regional Champs and the National Champs, only a week apart at the end of March. Finally, these events are upon us and it is time to see if all our hard work will pay off. Fiona Collins covers off the highs and lows of this event ........
Saturday 22nd March dawns a glorious day for the Auckland Regional Champs. With not a cloud in the sky, Lake Pupuke looked like a mill pond. Quite different to the weather forecasts we were watching during the week, advising of thunderous showers. Oh, we do love it when the weather man gets it so wrong!
The day started with the 500m races which consisted of two heats, followed by the Breast Cancer final. The girls paddled their hearts out to be pipped by seconds for the bronze medal. This was very disappointing for all. At the conclusion of the final we had yet another emotional flower ceremony and we were honoured with a Haka and a guard of honour performed by all the other dragon boating teams. WOW! we have such amazing support from all the fellow paddlers.
This was followed by the 200m event, the splash and dash of dragon boating. Once more we gave it our all but were eluded of a medal by mere seconds again.
The final event of the day was the 2km race; here’s our chance girls!! It was a very competitive race with boats passing and manoeuvring around the turn’s course. The results were not known until announced at prize giving later that night. To our surprise we had gained the bronze medal in this event. We weren’t going home empty handed. It sure felt good to have some bling hung around our necks. Overall impression of the day – a well-run event with great weather, fierce competition and lots of fun!! I have to say it was a gallant effort by the team, considering at the start of the season we didn’t even know if we would have the numbers to enable us to compete. Go girls!!
Wellington Festival 7 March 2014
Prepared for every weather condition, we were more than pleasantly surprised with the almost perfect Autumn days Wellington treated us to this weekend. Linley Rivers shares her take on this occasion ....
Wellington turned on perfect conditions for this regatta as part of their annual Festival, down on the very spectator-friendly waterfront. Team tents were neatly laid out on Frank Kitts Park and the grassy amphitheatre provided an ideal warm-up and marshalling area.
We quickly adjusted to the different ‘bounce’ of the water under the boat, coming in from Cook Strait, as we paddled out from loading in the sheltered lagoon, up to the start line. The first of the 5 races was a practice run, before the serious competition began. There were 9 teams in the Women’s Division, 4 of them BC paddlers. We dug deep and paddled strongly, with the help of Kathleen and Megan from Taranaki Dragons, to complete our team. In the BC final, Boobops surged to the front for a well deserved win, closely followed by Cansurvive.
Competition will continue to be fierce at the Regionals and Nationals later in the month, when BWL will again be fighting hard in the medal challenge.
Several teams came from Australia and at the end of the day’s paddling the amphitheatre was the setting for a dragon boat wedding – Anne and Annie from the Swaggies team took the opportunity to be married while in NZ, supported by family and friends. Everyone was welcome to be part of their celebration, not possible for them back home. Their celebrations continued at the Chicago Sports Bar, where the always lively prize giving took place.
Congratulations to Wellington DBA for a well organised event and to Boobops for setting a very high standard for the rest of us to match. We all had a great weekend away.
Kai Iwi Lakes Boot Camp - 7-9 February 2014
Three intrepid BWL paddlers, Leslie, Debs and Vicki, again took up the challenge that is the Kai Iwi Lakes Boot Camp. Vicki fills us in on their weekend away ....
There was great excitement as we drove over the hill and got our first view of the beautiful emerald waters of the lakes, even if they were a little choppy. After finding a sheltered spot we put up the tents, we then hit the water for a swim. Deb and I again tried our skill on the Paddle Board; Leslie makes it look so easy. Friday night started off with a twilight paddle around the Lake, not as relaxed as it sounds, always a good work out. Four girls from the Taranaki Dragons attended, and as they had a Bach up the road, we hosted them in our tent for meals etc. They were great company and fully embraced the weekend, saying that they would love to come back next year. They loved the interaction with all the teams and coaches as they don’t have the opportunity of mixing with other teams very often.
The paddling programme was great with the opportunity for all levels of paddlers to be coached and challenged. The off-water activities were fun, and of course, the Saturday night talent quest. Overall a great weekend to enjoy the company of like minded paddlers and their families.
Auckland Anniversary Day Super 10 Regatta, Viaduct - Monday 27 January 2014
The Viaduct is a great venue for a regatta, and this year's event was no exception. Eila Wild shares the day .....
Word has got out! Dragon boating at the Viaduct on Auckland Anniversary Day, when Auckland boats are all out - tugs, sails, Ratty and Mole - is terrific fun! There was an increase this year with 32 teams entered and 10 of these were women's teams - showing, once again, that girls can do anything! Auckland put on a fine day, though challenging southerly gusts made starts interesting later in the day and almost upended a tent or two. There were crowds attending the Seafood Festival and a Scots Highland Band competing with the racing drums - but the heart of the action was on the water where 10 man boats raced in seamless succession (3 heats and a final), ably co-ordinated by the ADBA Event Manager, our very own Deb Stevenson. There was a spot of further excitement in the late morning when the tugs came in with some randomly setting off across the path of incoming boats. Much hooting occurred and collisions were averted, although it was pretty close for a couple of them.
Busting With Life looked well kitted out today in new blue polar fleeces. I must say, that looking down from the spectator area at the mass effect of the new racing tops as Busting paddled by, was also really impressive. We had good races, and tried to keep Sean's coaching feedback in mind, especially with the camera analysis on the iPad which shares our foibles at times a little too well. A convincing 1st in our "Anniversary Angels" class final was a perfect round-off for the day. The Viaduct is a great venue for a regatta, close to coffee shops, pretty!! and the addition this year of astroturf, a mini sand beach and outdoor furniture, made it even more festive.
Super 10 Regatta, Wenderholm - Saturday 7 December 2013
Kay Willcocks shares her delight after a day full of adventure and excitement, and a place in the Grand Final!!!
Yes, it was actually true and we achieved an extremely respectable 3rd in the final. Hopefully we haven’t peaked too early in the season but rather, it is an indication of things to come! With more than a hint of rain, the success of the DBA’s annual Christmas Regatta at Wenderholm had been looking doubtful. Similarly all wasn’t rosy at BWL HQ. Team members were a little thin on the ground so Leslie made an emergency call to husband Phil. Reluctantly, he abandoned his “chore list” to arrive resplendent in pink. Our other saviour, Michael Rose, whilst unable to paddle, was to be “caller” and also make the sprint to the end for the “Le Mans” finish. After the adrenalin pumping challenge of launching the boats off the beach on an incoming tide, we “dug deep” racing 500 metres out to the marker and 500 metres back to the beach to win our first mixed heat of the day. Sean’s sweeping was extremely tactical and skillful and Michael chose just the right moment to leap out and sprint to the finish line. What an amazing start to the day’s racing! For our next heat we climbed into the boats baling heavily, dug in on the ”go” and raced for the finish line. With another win within our grasp and almost on the beach “Pink Dragon’s” suddenly collided with us and tipped out. Amazingly, we somehow managed not to capsize and cool headed Michael again raced to the finish, only to collapse with a twisted calf muscle. It was a chaotic scene with“ Pinkies” being rescued from under their boat and Michael in a faint on the beach, being administered First Aid in the steady drizzle. In the meantime BWL was being called up again. With Michael out of action, Charlotte who had popped the stitches in her leg in the previous race, was promoted to caller.
Everyone scrambled into their places but we were still one short; Leslie quickly jumped out and press ganged a paddler from off the beach. Again, with a combination of tactics and “digging in” we achieved a place. We were on a roll!
Regrouping back at BWL HQ, (or should that be A&E) where Charlotte was wrapped in a foil blanket against the cold and Michael was resting his damaged leg, we were thrilled to hear that we were in “the Grand Final.” We only had to ”dig in” one last time to win the very attractive trophy crafted by Deb and Ross Stevenson which was first prize. Unfortunately, BWL missed out on the trophy, but 3rd place in a grand final is “not to be sneezed at” and there is always next year. Our day was rounded off by a wonderful shared lunch and team time, enjoying the sunshine and a beautiful setting.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Tauranga Super 12, Lake Tauriko Tauranga - Saturday November 23 2013
After only 6 on-water training sessions, we headed back down the Southern Motorway to participate in one of our favourite regattas of the season. BooBops spoiled us once again with their scrummy hospitality baskets and although the weather forecast indicated we were in for some damp conditions, the weather could not have been better. Jenny Terry reports ....
This day was dedicated to Carolyn who is in hospital at present and had to miss the regatta. A fantastic day of racing on a beautiful, warm, sunny day. BWL congratulated Boobops on their 10th anniversary of dragon boating with a lovely card. Congratulations were in order again when Boobops won the BC race! The roses for the BC ceremony were just beautiful - home grown with lovely perfumes. Our best race of the day was our last race in which we were 2nd with a time of 1.42.93. The winners were Sweat B with a time of 1.33.64. A well organised event enjoyed by all. The day was rounded off with a team meal at a local Thai restaurant.
Hamilton Super 12, Hamilton Lake - Saturday 16 November 2013
While some of us spent this weekend supporting The Ride to Conquer Cancer in Auckland, a hardy group of souls headed South to participate in the first official regatta of the season in Hamilton. Team Captain for the day, Lynne Cutfield, reports back.
A somewhat depleted Busting with Life team made the journey southwards, early on a still Waikato morning. After just four training sessions we were up for the challenge to see whether our fitness training over the winter had been sufficient. It was also our first opportunity of the season to judge just where we sat compared to our rivals. As we assembled beside the Hamilton Lake and set up camp, our thoughts were very much with our esteemed team manager Leslie Ash and five of our team mates - Deb Stevenson, Judy Kemp, Fiona Collins, Vicki Merrie and Debbie Garrett. Leslie was courageously setting out to complete the 200km Ride to Conquer Cancer, accompanied by the other team members who had been allocated various pit crew positions. Such support and team work epitomises what is great about our team. During the day we were given a couple of progress reports, eagerly listened to by all. Paddling five short distance races, certainly from our perspective, seemed the much easier choice.
On the day we were lucky enough to have three members of the Jaffettes, Alisha, Heather and Laura paddling in our boat, thus adding some youthfulness to our line up. Charlotte, our new Team Captain, was also missed on the day. She had behaved and obeyed the strict doctor’s orders she had been given to rest up so that she could join us in Tauranga in a week’s time. Conditions at the start of the day were idyllic, with the lake resembling a mill pond. Setting up camp in a shady spot proved to be a little optimistic, however compared to the weather at previous Hamilton regattas, we couldn’t really complain as it remained dry, although windy. Three heats then ensued, followed by the minor final. In such short distance racing (230 metres) it was our starts which proved to be the difference between our performance and those of the other teams. This definitely gives us something to focus on in the next training sessions.
In the BC division we were well supported by three members from the Waikato Treasure Chests. Many thanks for their camaraderie and willingness to help out fellow sisters. Four teams fronted up to the start line - Pink Dragons, Bay of Plenty BooBops, a collection of BC paddlers from various teams and ourselves. Although beaten into third place, the racing proved to be tight. We were pleasantly surprised to be ‘up there’. The challenge is now is to not only be up there, but also how to surpass.
As always this race culminated in the emotional flower ceremony, where rivalry gives way to a shared understanding of what each of us has been through to even reach a start line. All in all, team members were smiling at the end of the day’s racing. As we packed up, the final update was that Leslie was due to cross the finish line on Day 1, an admirable feat.Once again that sense of team, getting out there and competing and having the opportunity to catch up with each others’ news ensured that a great day was had by all. Many thanks to Sean for his support and guidance.
The Ride to Conquer Cancer, Auckland - Saturday and Sunday 16 and 17 November 2013
BWL Team Leader Leslie Ash signed up and trained for this very challenging ride and completed the 200kms over 2 days in and around South Auckland last weekend. A tremendous and totally inspiring riding effort and as well, Leslie raised over $4,000 for cancer research to exceed her personal fundraising goal.
Leslie says, "This Ride is very important to me and, rather ironic really...I'm riding because I want to put the Auckland Cancer Society out of business. I want a cure for all cancers and I want to try in some small way to say, thanks, you supported me and my family so brilliantly and now it's my turn to support the Auckland Cancer Society. We are totally behind the groundbreaking cancer research funded by the Cancer Society at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre."
2013 was the inaugural Ride in New Zealand. In three years The Ride raised over $44.2 million for cancer centres across Australia. The annual two-day, 200km journey draws thousands of participants, hundreds of crew members, volunteers and brings together communities of survivors, cyclists and supporters who train and fundraise for months in order to participate.
Last weekend, the Ride to Conquer Cancer in Auckland announced 663 Riders helped raise over $2.1 million for Cancer Society Auckland as the first annual Ride commenced Saturday in Auckland. Funds raised through the largest single fundraising event in New Zealand history powers life-saving cancer research and clinical trials through Cancer Society Auckland.
Incidentally, registrations for the 2014 Ride are now open. Yep, you guessed it, we have all signed up to be involved again next year. Do join us - get in contact to find out more.
Super 10 Winter Series Westhaven, Auckland - Sunday 22 September 2013
With a much appreciated move to a 10:30am start so those of us keen to watch Emirates Team New Zealand sail again, the day was warm & sunny for this final regatta of the ADBA Winter Series.
Visiting paddlers Noel and Mary from the NZDBA in Wellington were keen to get in a 10 seater boat so slotted in where spaces were available. We welcomed paddlers and supporters from Waikato to this event and the dress-up theme brought out some old and new accessories from teams' costume boxes. Honorary male "pinkie" Phil Ash (affectionately referred to as Philippa) turned out again appropriately attired, to support the girls and take up his now regular spot in the boat. Three heats, a final, then a 500m turns race. All good fun and for us, a good chance to test our racing fitness in preparation for the start of the new season.
Team Member Chris Smith, also shares her take on the day ....
After a night of thunder, lightning and pouring rain, I woke to a calm Spring morning. I got organised early so that I could watch Deano and the boys win the Americas Cup, but it was not to be; maybe tomorrow.
It was a great day to get my paddle out of its cosy winter bag and into a bit of salt water. The races were short and sweet; my favourites. I must say, I think the ten man boats are also my favourites. We raced really well and I was impressed with everyone's level of fitness. I'm definetly going to have some sore muscles tomorrow. Time to increase my fitness too, I think. It was a fun dress up day so we were honoured with the company of Nemo, Jimmy Hendrix, Hawian girls and boys, ballerinas and bumble bees, just to name a few. There were no time limits, or discusions on wind directions, just hard out paddling; way to go girls. I do enjoy a day on the water.
Thanks to Event organiser Deb and her crew at the ADBA for organising a great fun, but serious paddling day!
Polar Bear Mid-Winter Festival, Tutukaka - Saturday 31 August 2013
New and renewed friendships, re-acquaintances and loads of fun made this inaugural Polar Bear Festival at Tutukaka a huge success.
Representatives from 5 Auckland dragon boat teams (Busting With Life Family Team - with big thanks to Phil and Ocke for going "pink" once more, Pink Dragons, Auckland Women’s, Lion and Air New Zealand) brought together by the Auckland Dragon Boat Association, headed up to Tutukaka to join enthusiastic locals to participate in a Dragon Boat regatta as the culmination of a 2 week Polar Bear Mid-Winter Festival to celebrate all things coastal on the Tutukaka Coast. The fortnight of activities also included Hot Rods, Harleys, Waka-ama, Stand Up Paddleboards, wood chopping, live music, craft beers, rugby and bucking bronco bull rides.
With the promise of dry and fine weather, most of us headed north on Saturday morning before the sun was up and enjoyed a very pleasant drive on the cusp of Spring. Of course, no Busting “roadie” would be complete without a café stop and sample of favourite delights. Accommodation at the Ocean’s Resort Hotel within walking distance of the regatta site and after match function, was perfect (http://www.oceansresorthotel.co.nz/) and the Apartments provided us with plenty of space to enjoy a bevvie or two at the end of the day.
Past BWL paddler and sweep, our lovely Jo, now residing with her family in Whangarei, was delighted to join us for this event. Just like riding a bike, once Jo had her pink tee-shirt back on and paddle in hand, it was like she had never been away. Great to have had you back with us on the water Jo.
Experienced paddlers were spread amongst the novice boats and it wasn’t too long before the locals were giving us a run for our money. A practise paddle, two heats, a final, and a Le Mans style race provided some hairy moments for our experienced sweeps. We re-acquainted with our old BWL boat, now gifted to Tutukaka, which brought back memories of paddling days gone by.
The incoming tide and narrow beach proved a challenge for manoeuvring boats at the shore, but after all, this is a water sport and one must expect more than a little dampness.
Big thanks to Nick and Esther from Schnappa Rock Bar & Bistro (http://www.schnapparock.co.nz) for hosting the after match function and organising some wonderful spot prizes with the fabulous support of the local business community.
We look forward to a return trip next year and hope these aspiring local paddlers will be able to join us at our regattas before too long.
Super 10 Winter Series Westhaven, Auckland - Sunday 28 July 2013
"Buster" partner and long time supporter of our team, Ocke Moltzer joined us in the boat again for this fun event and shares the day with us from a male perspective .....
Busting With Life team with blokes on board; myself and fellow "Buster" partner Dave; morning was cool but fine, the water calm and no wind, ideal conditions.
I have watched our team over many years from the side line and spent many hours waiting between races and wondering what it would be like to be onboard. Over the last two years, that has become a reality with fun races and I made the big mistake of thinking now’s my chance to see if I was up to it. That was very quickly removed from my brain as the speed of the paddling was so intense and I was very quickly put in my place.
Over the last two years I have, with the other guys on board as well to help out when needed, really enjoyed the racing. Luckily for me it has been short races and I know what I am in for. I greatly admire the fact that the girls in the team have to do 500 metre races, so it is easy to be a bystander and simply watch the racing, but it is altogether another thing to be on the water doing it.
So last Sunday 28th July, we had a good day's racing; very enjoyable with Dave as my partner in the boat and we even managed to be put in the stroke position to give it a try as well. It was a fun day and as a team we did really well in all the races. The final races covered about a kilometre in distance around a set course competing against four other teams in our section. We managed to beat the other teams by 10 seconds over the four boats and achieved an overall position of fifth over the ten boats that competed. Great day, good company, lots of fun.
StarLake Express Waka Ama Regatta, Lake Pupuke - Sunday 26 May 2013
The annual StarLake Express Waka Ama Regatta hosted by Auckland’s Taniwha Wahinez provided 2 x 6 person teams of “Busters” the opportunity to join 13 other teams to paddle the 5.5km criss-cross course around Lake Pupuke under brilliant blue skies on Sunday morning.
The welcoming Karakia was followed by a race briefing to ensure the correct course was followed and that all nautical vessels on the Lake this day were aware of each other and of the “give way” rules.
Team Tahi comprising Irene & Dave, Judith & Phil and Carolyn & Ocke and Team Rua comprising Leslie & Phil, Deb, Rosemary, Vicki & Sean did us proud competing in separate heats and finishing within 4 seconds of each other overall. Our Deb was seconded into the Auckland Women’s Team last minute for the 400 metre Finals dash and didn’t seem to mind the prospect of getting wet all over again, one little bit!
From the shore we witnessed some exciting moments when more than one Waka hit the turning buoys at the same time and to see who had executed the turn more effectively and take the lead.
Many thanks to Sugar and her helpers for organising this much enjoyed event, and for the hospitality extended to all the paddlers and supporters.
Super 10 Winter Series Westhaven, Auckland - Sunday 12 May 2013
Auckland at its best is the only way to describe the beautiful conditions for the first regatta of the Winter Series ably run by ADBA and held at the Basin at Westhaven on Mothers Day 12th May.
The mothers and others who made up the team were; Cathy, Catherine, Deb S, Judy, Fiona, Leslie, Linley, Lynne, Sean together with Phil A. and Michael (affectionately dubbed Philippa and Michelle on the day!).
With the boats decked out with full sets of heads, tails and drums, 7 teams had some great racing with 200m sprints followed by the ever popular turns races. Special mention must go to Sean who can turn a boat on a dime and did so sensationally even though he had been unwell all week.
The winter regattas are all about staying paddle fit, trying out new combinations and enjoying a slightly more casual approach given the smaller group of participants. Lynne & Judy tried their hand at being strokes and Linley was the big Pamper Pack raffle winner for Make a Wish Foundation – more lotions and potions for an even more beautiful Linley!
Why Women Run, Cornwall Park Auckland - Sunday 12 May 2013
Our team was spoiled for choice on this day, with some other team members turning down tea and toast in bed for Mother's Day to participate in the annual "Why Women Run" event hosted by the YMCA Marathon Club in and around Cornwall Park.
A magnificent morning to head out and get involved in this event in its 35th year. Attracting both the serious and competitive racers, as well as the occasional runners and walkers, this event encourages women of all ages, from all walks of life and with varying levels of fitness, to enjoy the experience of completing a 5 km or 10 km race in a friendly, non-confrontational environment. Well done to Jacque, Judith, Kay, Mary and Debbie plus supporters Marg and Kathleen, for flying the BWL flag and coming home with a few spot prizes.
National Championships, Blue Lake Rotorua, Saturday 6 April 2013
Her smile says it all ... a fantastic weekend away with double bling to bring home. Kay Willcocks is delighted to share her thoughts and enthusiasm from this all important Regatta.
Strength and Success
Are you ready ? Attention, Go !
The tranquility of the lake, suddenly erupts with the violence of paddles, and we are off ... Yes, we are back at Blue Lake, Rotorua for our 2013 National Dragon Boat Championships having paddled 600 kilometres at Westhaven and on Lake Pupuke over the Summer to get ready for this.
A chilly cross-wind frisked us and tried the patience and skills of the starters and our sweeps. 500 metre heats and a final, 200 metre heats and a final and to finish, the grind of the 2 kilometre race; the promise of the day unfolds and the sun and the company of our mates warms us.
As always, the most special part of the day is the ‘Flower Ceremony’ where we remember those who are no longer with us. In Rotorua we are also treated to a rousing haka in our honour. Great stuff! Our hard work and that of our coach and sweep is rewarded with second placings in the 500 metre and 2 kilometre BC events.
Tired, with aching muscles, but satisfied that we ‘have left it all on the water,’ it’s time for a quick spruce up and into Rotorua for dinner and to churn up the dance floor at the Razza before prizegiving. How satisfying the clinking and clattering of so much silver bling is as Captain Judith places our medals, carefully around our necks. It was a wonderful evening to acknowledge success on the water and all the hard work of the NZ Dragon Boat Association. As survivors of Breast Cancer,we have even more reason to be thankful. At the BC breakfast on Sunday morning, over 180 of us celebrated sisterhood and fellowship, and the fact that we are ‘all in the same boat. Also, am I allowed to say the ‘F’ word, FUN. It was wonderful to hear so many people’s stories and a fitting end to an incredible weekend.
Thank you to everyone at all levels who make such a weekend a reality, but especially to our team and coach and committee. You guys rock!
Auckland Regional Championships, Lake Pupuke, Saturday 23 March 2013
Never one not to embrace a challenge, Erica Gilchrist relishes in the opportunity to paddle in every race at this year's Regional Championships ....
This was a great day – really enjoyable – the organization was great, the day ran smoothly and the weather was fantastic. 8:00am saw a flat calm lake and by 10:00am there was glorious sun – a bit of wind mid-day abated again by our 6th race.
So that was the bit beyond our control – great weather and great organization – which certainly sets the scene - our part was to paddle and with no paddlers to spare this day for us, and seven races to compete in, we all had a pleasingly busy time – warm ups and races came by at a steady pace – 200m, 500m and the 2000m at the end of the day. Results were good – a silver (2000m) and a bronze (200m) but of course, we all would have liked better. Try as we might with timing and effort feeling good generally, we could just not catch or match the very impressive Boobops!!
The Flower Ceremony came together quickly thanks to the conditions; we had little trouble rafting all our breast cancer boats which can sometimes be a challenge and our always moving ceremony was wonderfully acknowledged and responded to by a spontaneous Haka from the shore which, for me, is the etched-in-mind image of the day. It embodied the spirit of these regattas where I am always made totally mindful how an activity in common unites such diverse groups of people in a whole lot of fun.
Thanks to everyone - the organizers, the other teams, coach Sean who was seconded to the starter boat, Deb S who worked on the organizational side all day, Leslie who swept with great skill, crew mates who paddled with heart, and volunteers we never know.
Make-A-Wish Foundation "Field of Dreams" Fun Day Regatta, Gulf Harbour, Sunday 3 March 2013
Some team members travel long distances to attend training and regattas, so when the opportunity surfaced to almost "hop over the back gate," peninsula resident Catherine Rose signed hubby Michael (aka Gaz) up to paddle in the Friends 'n' Family boat at this first ever Gulf Harbour regatta ....
The first ever Gulf Harbour dragon boat regatta was held in the new Eastern Boat Harbour. The harbour is part of a new subdivision that will eventually include shops and restaurants, but for today it was empty paddocks and a fabulous newly created beach to load the boats from complete, with a local Farmer's Market. The regatta was part of the Summer festival called “Field of Dreams” which is raising money for the Make a Wish Foundation. The dragon boat regatta raised over $500 for the charity, as well as extra donations from visitors and friends.
BWL put together 2 teams for the 10 man boats which also included 4 husbands, Michael, Phil-A, Ocke and Dave in boat #1. There were 9 teams all up so the racing was fast and furious over 250m, with no chance to rest between races as there was a BWL team in almost every race. We had 18 paddlers so there were an extra 2 required in boat #2 for each race which also meant that sometimes we were paddling 2 or 3 races back to back; a very good test of fitness at this late stage in the season. There was also a late requirement for the teams to dress up so we all donned Hawaiian Leis and looked very colourful in our new pink shirts, with Sean also wearing some blue hula skirts in very creative ways.
After lunch there was an opportunity for Make a Wish recipients and families to have a go in a fun race, complete with bubble machines and cheering crowds. The venue was brilliant with calm clean water and a wharf perfectly positioned for jumping off.
There were 3 finals with BWL 2 in the 1st final which was neck and neck all the way and all 3 boats crossing the line together which took a while for the judges to call the winners order with BWL 2 in 3rd place. BWL 1 was in the 2nd final against Pink Dragons and Epsom Girls Grammar School. We won convincingly after a very strong start.
In all it was a great day with perfect weather and an awesome venue, and because we were all so well behaved, we have been invited back by the organisers so hope to make this an annual regatta in the ADBA calendar.
Kai Iwi Lakes Boot Camp - 8-9-10 February 2013
Leslie Ash reports back and encourages all team members to lock the 2014 dates into their diaries now for this fantastic Kai Iwi Lakes experience ....
The clear pristine waters of Kai Iwi Lakes (30 mins drive north of Dargaville) became Dragon Country on this February weekend as 90 paddlers from within the Auckland Dragon Boat Association and their friends and family set up canvas and plied the waters as part of the annual “boot camp” for all comers interested in developing their personal paddling techniques and getting to know the wider paddling community.
Three of our team members attended and have come back with glowing reports about the weekend. There are sessions at sunset and sun rise to “just paddle” and enjoy, there are technique and endurance sessions with paddlers of similar ability, races and fun stuff for everyone, all with no pressure but the opportunity to do as much or as little paddling as you want.
Off the water there was lots of socialising, the inaugural Iron Dragon event – a paddle, swim, run and the newly created Dragon Talent Quest. Needless to say, what goes on tour, stays on tour with some of this!
The paddling culminated in an attempt to pull a water skier behind a dragon boat with great hilarity and mixed success!
Deb, Vicki and Leslie all rated this as a great fun event that has added value to their paddling and a “must” to put into your personal diaries for next season.
Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta - 28 January 2013
Not only did this Regatta surpass her expectations, newbie Chrissie Eggleton overcomes some personal challenges and shares her thoughts about what being part of this Team means to her ....
Wow! What a wonderful day! Auckland had some fabulous weather for us with a pleasant breeze to keep it from getting too hot.
A few years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be actively involved in an event like this! The atmosphere was abuzz at ‘Dragon Boat Basecamp’ at the Waitemata Plaza where all the teams’ tents were set up. Great organisation by the ADBA (thank you Deb!) for the safety and the smooth running of the racing, providing extra toilets, sunscreen and drinking water! Some said it was their favourite regatta without the pressure of getting medals. It was not too over-crowded our side of the Viaduct during the day as there was a seafood festival on over the other side. So it was mainly teams and supporters.
There were 27 teams in all with 7 coming from out of Auckland. Each team had their own special inspirational chants before and after races. The haka-like ones were very stirring to hear but it was the first time I heard our own chant ‘Feel it, Find it, Fix it’! It was a thrill!
We raced in four races in the 4 rounds. I was paddling in the first two races which seemed hard but over in a flash! We, of course, were ‘blown out of the water’ by the ‘young muscle male’ teams and we were on the end in both races but felt that we paddled better in the second round. The boats were super 10’s, adorned with dragons’ heads and tails with a drum for the caller! They didn’t seem as stable as the training 20’s but I guess they are faster.
In the final round, our team were competing with Pink Dragons and Jaffettes and what a thrilling race! All three boats were ‘neck and neck’ but from my point of view, BWL had the edge and I thought slightly ahead throughout! So BWL were first! Great result and very exciting! Well done to those of you in the team paddling; Judith, Irene, Jean, Carolyn, Charlotte, Debbie (D2), Vicki, Leslie, Linley and Chris! Well done Sean for the driving force behind!
What a great result to a lovely day relaxing, paddling, feeling alive and living in Auckland!
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all in the team for your welcome, support and friendship especially Rosemary, Leslie, Debbie 1, Debbie 2, Judy, Eila, Lynne, Jacque and Sean, for all your tips, tutoring, techniques and most of all your encouragement! For a ‘newbie’ like myself (non-sporty and non-athletic) who a few years ago had pneumonia and CFS and was as weak as a kitten and also lost confidence and self-esteem due to BC, this has been a great challenge and boost to me mentally and physically coming at the right time of my life! I didn’t even know that I could swim as far as 50 meters until I did the test! Thank you for keeping me going, when I could have easily given up. The first few months of training I found very hard and gruelling but rewarding! You all ‘tipped the scales’ for my wanting to join the team for which I am very proud!
Wenderholm Super 10 Regatta & Picnic - 15 December 2012
Team Captain Judith Overington drags hubbie Phil along to paddle with some of our other men folk in a 2nd BWL dragon boat for this festive regatta ....
This year we entered 2 teams into the Wenderholm fun Super 10 Regatta – one boat with all official "Busters" and a second boat which also included 4 of our men.
The weather was perfect and the day started with a very high tide and hardly any beach which made launching the boats easy apart from negotiating the waves! But, by the end of the day, we had a long walk to get to the boats due to the King tide. We had 3 races plus a final, and there was much hilarity in the boat in which the husbands were paddling, particularly on the way out to the start line, but they were much quieter when they realised how far they had to paddle back to the finish line! After a sumptuous shared lunch there was the mandatory tug-of-war and even Santa appeared with a lolly scramble. Racing concluded with a fun race of four teams made up of all the paddlers from all of the teams, for a relay around 3 buoys (each boat did the course 3 times to make sure every paddler had a turn) and when everyone had paddled, the teams had to race back up the beach and do a dance together. Only one mishap resulting from a near shore flip on an incoming wave, but the water was so warm and inviting, everyone took the unscheduled soaking in good spirits. Great fun and a fabulous end to our 2012 paddling season! Big thanks to our boys for signing on to take part - Phil, Mike, Ocke and Jerry - well done chaps! (Same time, same place next year?)
Tauranga Super 12 - 1 December 2012
The Lakes, Tauriko
Vicki Merrie travels to Tauranga for her first overnighter trip with the team and manages to fit in a bike ride to the Mount and back as well .......
It was with much excitement that I approached my second Dragon Boat Regatta, hoping to be able to keep up and in time with the much more experienced crew. The day dawned bright and sunny, and we set off for the The Lakes venue at Tauriko. The site was very well organised and the day was a credit to the Bay of Plenty Dragon Boat Association.
The racing was tough and fast, and we came second in the BC final, beaten by the home team, where the battle is always very competitive. It’s going to make for a very exciting and challenging season, always striving to be first across the line.
The day was delightful, with lots of fun and banter between ourselves and the other teams around us. The flower ceremony at the end of the BC final is very touching and reminds us of friends and family who are no longer with us.
The weekend was delightful and I felt very appreciative of the welcome and friendship extended. A special thanks to Leslie and Linley for their great company; they were excellent room-mates.
I am looking forward to an exciting season of hard racing and great companionship.
Super 12 hosted by Waikato Dragon Boat and Waka Ama Association - 17 November 2012 - Hamilton
Enthusiastic newbie Fiona Collins wasn’t put off with the wet, wind and cold that most of us have previously experienced in Hamilton, and can’t wait for the next encounter….
After much anticipation my dragon boating career kicked off on Saturday. It wasn’t quite the weather I had envisaged for my first regatta, but hey, we can’t control everything.
An early start, and a drive to Hamilton saw us meeting up on the shores of the Hamilton Lake. Nice to see no one had got lost. With tents erected and gear unpacked, we soon were able to settle into our warm up ready for our first race. The forecast was for mixed conditions consisting of on-again, off-again rain and a constant breeze; we were in for a trying day. Luckily for us the rain managed to give us short reprieves that were timed perfectly with our races.
The competition was tough and with only a couple of weeks of training as a team this season under our belts, we were in for a battle. There had been mention of past races but I had not anticipated that I would be witness to such determination and dedication to drive that boat and team forward during the BC race. We left everything out on the water. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to capture the win, but we were so close. With such close competition it is going to make for a very exciting season.
Nothing primes you for the high you feel after the final which was then topped off with the emotional flower ceremony. It makes you feel very humble to be able to participate in such a caring sport. The weather wasn’t going to play nice any longer so racing was cut short to give a chance to pack up before the deluge came.
What more can I say but Wow!! I had a great day with a great group of people who all have a common goal. I am so looking forward to a great season on the water.
Pan Pacific Masters Games - 9 & 10 November 2012 - Gold Coast Queensland
BWL Team Manager Leslie Ash and Past President Deb Stevenson joined a mixed Masters Dragon Boat team and competed in last week's Pan Pacific Games held at Lake Orr near Burleigh Heads.
As one of the 38 sports represented at this Masters involving some 12,000 athletes aged 40 and over, the Auckland DB Retro Rockets made up of a composite of 7 Auckland teams, competed alongside 100+ other dragon boat teams in their events.
Home came Bronze Medals in the Mixed Masters 500 metres and Masters Open 200 metres, plus a 4th place in the Mixed Masters 200 metres.
Super 10 - Sunday 4 November 2012 - Westhaven
A sharp breeze made for an on water chill, but when the sun came out and with shelter from the wind, it almost seemed like Summer was just around the corner. We competed in three 200 metre heats followed by a closely matched final, with the placings too close to call based on the angle of the finish line.
Fifth and last race of the day was the fun race, with teams setting off from the start at 15 second intervals. Lots of turns and criss-crossing made for some interesting manoeuvers and near miss collisions – all good fun nevertheless.
We welcomed newbie Fiona onto the water in race mode for the very first time and with smiles galore, she can’t wait to come back for some more “busting” action.
Spring Super 10 - Sunday 23 September 2012 - Westhaven
Embarking on her 14th year with the Team, "Buster" founding paddler Linley Rivers was delighted to be back on the water .....
Watched over by the Skytower, the BWL paddlers set up tent on the sheltered hard, ready to take on a new season. There were new faces to meet and checking out the other teams. Once the tide came in we were back in action. It was good to feel the adrenalin rush again - some feeling a little rusty after a winter break but it wasn’t long before the old skills set in.
There was a welcome coffee truck nearby and we soon adjusted to the cool breeze and spray from nearby paddlers. The fun event comprised of 4 x 200 metre races, followed by a longer race with a course including 3 figure of eight turns. This led to ‘chaotic carnage’ as boats jostled to avoid collision at the turning points. We were all grateful for the skilful steering of coach Sean, to help keep us upright. It was fierce competition but all in fun. All in all - a great taster of the season ahead.
"Our Women" Music Video - September 2012
BWL was asked to participate in this Music Video as part of October Breast Cancer Awareness/Action Month. At very short notice, Team Manager Leslie rounded up as many team members as she could. Once at the studio, we were given the make-up and hair treatment and became stars for about 4 seconds - BEAUTIFUL! Here is the link http://www.ourwomen.co.nz/
Actor Sam Neill, former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry, entertainers The Topp Twins, musician Hollie Smith, as well as many other well-known Kiwi faces also appear on the new Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF) campaign launched this week. The “Our Women” video clip shows these well-known faces alongside or with images of women they love, and aims to encourage young women to get familiar with their breasts and for older woman to get checked.
NZBCF CEO Evangelia Henderson says the foundation hopes the video will reach every woman in New Zealand with the message of reducing the risk of dying of breast cancer. The clip, which features on the foundation's website, was launched on Monday night to coincide with the start of Breast Cancer Action Month. It is fronted by former TV presenter Helena McAlpine who has terminal cancer.
"Before I die, I want to get a message to every woman in the country that they need to look after themselves and their friends and family," she says.
A version of Chris Knox's song "Not Given Lightly" - which features a string of Kiwi artists including Tim Finn, Brooke Fraser and Peter Urlich - features in the clip which is available on iTunes.
Mid Winter Super 10 - Sunday 19 August 2012 - Westhaven
Despite predictions of nasty weather, the grey & damp morning blossomed into almost perfect paddling conditions, with more than a hint of blue Spring skies. Jenny Terry reports......
On 19 August 2012, Leslie, Deb1, Deb2, Catherine, Judith, Carolyn, Lynne, Jenny, plus 2 enthusiastic (seconded actually!) husbands, Michael and Phil, along with our dedicated coach, Sean at the helm, enjoyed racing in the Super 10 at Westhaven. It was a lovely, sunny day and a special day being Leslie's birthday. We paddled hard in every race and were 3rd in the final. We also paddled in the 800m fun race. We enjoyed birthday cake with Leslie before we went our separate ways. A good time was had by all.
Mid Winter Super 10 - Sunday 22 July 2012 - Westhaven
A soggy Rosie Jenkins races home for a hot shower and warm brew, then fills us in on the day's happenings .....
The ten man boat regattas are indeed proving to be a big hit with the team. While the number of dragon boating teams entered in this regatta were down, Busting With Life went against the trend and entered two teams. A Busting With Life team and a Busting With Life Family team. The family team consisted of four Busting With Life ladies, plus husbands Phil Overington, Phil Ash, David Muller and, after a little bit of arm twisting, Michael Rose. A huge thank you to these guys. We have appreciated them as supporters and now as team members.
We started off the day as we meant to continue. That is, by being on top. We were the only team to erect our tents on top of the grassy knoll. The other teams sought shelter from the weather behind buildings out of the wind. Oh yes, the weather. Well, it was showery. The wind increased as the day went on. Not the coldest of Regattas for those of us who remember the 2010 Nationals at Lake Hood in Ashburton. While weather conditions weren't ideal they certainly weren't enough to dampen our spirits or our enthusiasm. All the dragonboat teams were evenly matched and both of the "Busting" teams were really competitive with the rest of the teams. The 2K race which includes 360 and 180 turns, was cancelled. A good call considering the challenges that may have eventuated.
The Regatta was a great opportunity to catch up with each other after not being in touch for a few months and also to give each of us a reality check as to our fitness levels.
At the end of the regatta, Sean presented Charlotte with the Anita Filkin Trophy for the most improved paddler. Charlotte had been overseas when the trophy was to be presented at our end of season function.
Potential paddlers for 2012/2013 had been invited to come along and meet us and get an idea of what it's all about. It was a pity no one showed. I guess they don't realise it's a water sport.
In the words of one of the paddlers, "I haven't had so much fun for ages," which sort of sums up the Regatta.
StarLake Express Waka Ama Race – Sunday 10 June – Lake Pupuke
Entering 2 mixed teams this year aptly named “Boys with Ladies” and “Blokes with Ladies,” both BWL teams competed in the same heat with 6 other corporate teams. We very much appreciated an enthusiastic token “Buster” from another team who filled the 6th spot on one of our boats even though she had already completed in her heat earlier that morning. 22 teams in total took to the water in 3 heats, each covering almost 6kms in a crisa-cross star shape, followed by 2 x 500 metre straight paddling finals. Apart from only one capsize and with everyone accounted for as the heads bobbed back up again, the day ran smoothly and the early Winter weather was kind. Needless to say, the competition was fierce, particularly as all boats descended on each turning buoy with each team trying to maintain or better their lead, or make up for some lost distance, with a lot of strategic manoeuvring. Both our boats were competitive and came in within a few minutes of the winning team in our heat. The ‘Blokes with Ladies” team made it into the 500 metre final and came in a very respectful 4th. Certificates all round and goodie bags won by President Deb and Leslie A. Big thanks to Sugar Te Paa and her fellow waka ama club members for the wonderful morning tea and hot soup after coming off the water.
Big thanks also to our boys who paddled for us and happily (well, sort of) wore our pink team training shirts – Sean and Phil Overington as Sweeps, Phil Ash & Matt Garrett. Also to team members and partners who came down to support us during the day.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee – London, June 2012
Hot on the heels of her return home, BWL President Deb Stevenson shares her amazing experience in London .....
A week of team effort, new friendships and loads of fun. Reading this in no way describes the reality I experienced.
Seven countries were represented: USA, CA, AU, NZ, Ireland, Italy, South Africa. We came from all different walks of life with a mix of personalities and ages – the oldest being Betty who is 72, a very strong paddler and loads of fun. Added to this was Dr Don McKenzie, our steer for the pageant. He is a sports medicine physician at the University of Columbia and launched the first BC dragon boat “Abreast in a Boat” in Vancouver in 1996. The Canadians hold Don in high esteem but he is also a very down to earth person who was a house surgeon at Whakatane Hospital for 4 years and returns regularly on holiday. He is also coach of the Canadian canoe team for the Olympics. Our supporters, including parents and partners, numbered six and were included in everything we did as a team.
True to form London, turned on a variety of weather from hot sunny days with temperatures of 24+ to wet and cold with temperatures of 10+. It was 28 when I arrived, and Michelle (a past Singapore Airlines colleague of mine) and I were able to enjoy a walk along the riverbank of her local village and a gin and tonic outdoors in the evening.
Mary, my fellow kiwi roommate, is someone I have paddled against and been to meetings with but we didn’t really KNOW each other, so imagine her consternation when she arrived at the hotel a day earlier to find a very small room and only one double bed and seven nights ahead! The hotel was busy and under partial renovation for the Olympics. We were fortunate enough to secure a larger room, with two beds and a larger bathroom that would easily accommodate us and our wet paddling gear. We have now become firm friends!
Our first team meeting was one of introductions, story telling, swapping pins/gifts and listening to: Don, Team Captain Jenny and cox Jane Frost – the mantra for the week was FLEXIBILITY and we would hear it more than once, both on and off the water.
I have been to London a number of times but I have never seen it so “alive” – the city was positively buzzing. The gold leaf on statues, gates and historical buildings was shining brightly and almost looked new – maybe it was. Sales of bunting must have been at an all time high as everywhere you looked was red, white and blue – flags, clothes, cupcakes and window displays. If you have seen the window displays at Smith and Caughey at Xmas time multiply this and visualise the window displays at Harrods – every window had a different theme but all focussed on the Queen’s jubilee. Local villages were also in full swing with flags flying and street parties planned.
We crammed in as much sightseeing as possible between team commitments. During a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral we found signs “closed for dusting” as groups of people were busy dusting and polishing in preparation for the special service. In the parks surrounding Buckingham Palace, specially grown statues, crowns etc. made from succulents were being strategically placed. We walked “the walk” that Kate and William took in Westminster Abbey and enjoyed high tea in the Orangery at Kensington Palace. Some of the team also wanted to see the Thames close up, so we took a ferry ride from Westminster to Greenwich. Our commentator assured us that the Thames is no longer dirty, it is in fact full of fish and only brown because of the muddy bottom….hmmmmm not sure we believed every word he said. The tide flows quickly and the wash from other boats is significant and the look on some team members faces said it all!!!
The formal team photo shoot was an exercise in itself. This was done in Fulham Park and caused much amusement to those passing by as it involved three different shirts and there was nowhere to change but out in the open….need I say more. The paddling shirt for the event was revealed and followed the pageant theme – blue and white. To differentiate us from other teams we had a touch of pink in the form of a fuscia kerchief, a white hat with pink lining and pink lifejackets. I can’t quite describe the hats but there was much mumbling and giggling when we put these on – little bopeep came to mind!! Oh and we mustn’t forget the fuscia pink ties that went under our chins! This photo was followed by our own racing shirts and then the infamous LL Bean dress shirt which was also blue and white stripe. LL Bean is an American on-line shop much loved by the Americans. These shirts arrived with little time for alterations so most of us looked like we were dressed in blue and white striped sacks. This latter photo is not one I will be distributing to the wider public!! So going free to a good home is 2 blue and white striped shirts – as Tucker politely put it – “not a good look on my hip line”
Our training day started with Mary and I sitting up in bed testing each other on the boat commands….it is interesting that the sport of dragon boating uses different commands in different countries – ‘let it run’, ‘easy oars’, ‘brace the boat’ and ‘back it down’ were new terms to us. It reminded me of our trip to Darling Harbour when we had an Australian steer. Training was an hour away at Royal Albert dock and we were all dressed in our own country racing shirts as the paddling shirt for the BIG day was to be kept a secret. Needless to say, 16 noisy women dressed like this and carrying rather bulky pink lifejackets (and some with their own paddles) brought a few sideways looks, but it didn’t take long before we were telling everyone who we were. Paddling in unison didn’t take long but getting the Queen’s salute right took somewhat longer as we tried to synchronise the raising of our paddles at the same time!! Ironically, all the practice was wasted as the organisers didn’t stop the manpowered boats for the Queen’s salute on the day!
It is certainly not the “norm” for kiwi’s to travel by train in long dresses and/or tuxedos or be carrying picnic baskets but of course in London this what “one does”. As in other countries with good public transport, people take their life in their hands by squeezing themselves into the smallest gaps and jumping on to trains as the doors are closing. Definitely not for the faint hearted or tourists such as ourselves. We nearly lost Mary enroute to training as she was still on the train when the doors closed and on another occasion the train that Mary and I were on was terminated at a station that I was completely unfamiliar with – reason being - a body being on the tracks at another station further up…Oh!
A strawberry tea was held at Canada House for the 4 BC teams participating in the pageant. These included “Paddlers for Life” UK, “Worcester Busters” UK, “Abreast in a Boat” CA and ourselves. One of the things that shocked me most was the number of very young women in the “Paddlers for Life” team – two of them sisters.
Guest speaks included: the Chair of Breast Cancer Care UK, Don McKenzie, Jane Frost Chair of the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (and our cox), and others on topics such as exercise and support. An interesting observation – teams in Canada encourage new recruits to do a two month gym program prior to taking up dragon boating with particular emphasis on upper body strengthening.
A total of 4,500 applications for 1,000 spots so “Internationally Abreast” was very lucky to secure one of these and now the BIG DAY had arrived. A drop in temperature and a fine misty rain greeted us when we met for a team breakfast at 7am. Don reported that the tide was running at 1 knot (after the tide gates had been closed), 10 degrees, rain and a 10 knot headwind. There were no incidents or illnesses so it was obvious that I was not going to be in the boat on the day but it was an amazing feeling to still feel so much a part of the team. I was told to dress for paddling and be there at the boat until it left the bank and so I did. I was also instructed to keep my paddling shirt on all day The girls looked great – even with the hats! and they launched the boat with big grins on their faces. They had to paddle upstream to Wandsworth Bridge where they sat for about an hour waiting for all the manpowered boats to muster. Putney Bridge was the main launching spot for the manpowered boats and this in itself was a spectacle to watch – boats of all shapes and sizes and decorated in red, white and blue.
The supporters and I were able to see our boat pass under the Putney Bridge before we started our big adventure – getting six of us from Putney Bridge to Greenwich. I am not sure how many miles this is but it took a combination of train, bus and foot to achieve. Our first stop was Putney Hill – after two trains stopped with no room to get one person on let alone six it was decided that an alternative form of transport was required. Smiling sweetly at the local bobby we were directed to a bus that took us to Clapham Junction. From there we walked an hour to Battersea Park which had been set aside for “party time”. The banks of the Thames were just a sea of people and we thought that there was no way we were going to see our boat, let along the Queen’s Barge. People were perched precariously on anything that gave them some height – including the top of portaloos. By squeezing on to a small rise and craning our necks we just saw the Queen and the Duke sail past. At this point we lost one of our supporters, Arthur. There was a moment of panic as we wondered how we were going to find him amongst the thousands of people but we did. Next step was to cross Chelsea Bridge and find an underground – easy except that everyone else had the same thought. The manpowered boats and the Queen’s barge drew the most interest and once these had passed people were on the move – in their masses. At this point, the rain arrived so we were not only battling people we were battling umbrellas and again we lost Arthur…..once found, he was given clear instructions that we would be getting him a kiddy leash if he didn’t stay with us…not sure where we thought we would find one of those. Everyone trying to get on the underground was doing a lot of pushing and shoving but at last we squeezed ourselves on and headed for Greenwich. We arrived at Poplar Dock just as the girls landed – they were wet and cold. They had had heavy rain all the way from Tower Bridge to Poplar Dock and then had to sit on the water for ½ hour waiting to land. But they were still smiling and very much on a high after such an experience. Our day came to an end with a team dinner at The Old Brewery at Greenwich and a slow start the following morning.
Our final team event was a reception hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner for all Canadians involved in the pageant – the invitation was extended to all of our team. They had set up 4 big screens so that we could also watch the concert. A special treat was a live performance by three Canadian tenors. Beacons were lit atop Canada House at the same time that beacons were lit all over London. Canada House is in Trafalgar Square and close to where the concert was held so our last challenge of the week was, yet again, getting to the underground along with thousands of others.
This has been an amazing experience and one I will never forget. Part of the mandate of The International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC) is ‘participation and inclusiveness’. As reserve I felt very much a part of this team and these words rang true. I have made lots of new friends and the experience has made me a firm fan of BWL being part of the IBCPC 2014 Festival in Florida – I have started saving for this!!
My thanks to my fellow BWL team members for their tremendous support and the airport “welcome home” committee.
Splash 'N' Dash Super 10 - Westhaven - Saturday 26 May 2012
Chris Smith enjoys her first outing in the new Super 10 boats ....
Well, who would've thought that we would be keen to enter a regatta at the end of May, but 14 of us turned up, ready to go in our thermals and with takeaway coffee in hand.
The day started off with thick fog across the City, quickly clearing to reveal a calm stretch of water. The 10-man boats were both exciting and challenging. One team misjudged a turn and ended up in the cold water; not put off by their unexpected swim, they were ready & willing to give it another go immediatey after their dramatic rescue.
The new drums, heads and tails were very smart with everyone taking extra care not to damage them during the morning. The longer fun race, after the 200 metre sprints were completed, was a challenge with the course comprising several 180 and 360 degree turns which made for interesting racing. All I can say is I was glad Sean was at the helm. Happy faces all around; another successful fun regatta.
Splash 'N' Dash Super 10 - Westhaven - Saturday 28 April 2012
Margaret McLean discovers something missing on her return home (and 'fesses up in her coverage of the day) .....
Another very enjoyable, fun event at Westhaven, very efficiently run with a quick turn around and although the mobile coffee guy was a welcome sight, not even enough time to order.
The new 10 seater boats are very light and roomy and I found it very difficult, without a seat pad, to remain firmly in place. They also seem to be incredibly 'tippy'. It was entertaining to see one team almost capsize after making a sharp turn but they made a remarkable recovery and their boat resembled a spa bath on return to dock.
Conditions were good and although there were a couple of showers, they held off for BWL races and thanks to Cathy for holding the tent down during the odd squall. Our team had 2 x 200m races and then the first final was totally amazing with the 4 boats so close in proximity. There was much shouting and thrashing of paddles, almost a fear of clashing paddles and comforting to know Sean was at the helm and we could put our complete faith in his sweeping abilities to bring us home safely. Very exciting! It was a photo finish and we did well to be seconds behind the under 23's.
Perhaps these 10 seaters detract from the mystery and history of the 20 seater but certainly are fun and must allow teams many more options with racing and training, a great opportunity for clubs having difficulty forming a team of 20.We had support from Lynne's brother & sister-in-law from Melbourne who arrived at the event directly from the airport. Brent was appointed team photographer for the day and took his duties incredibly seriously - above and beyond the call of duty. Wherever we looked it was directly into the lens of his camera. Very surprised to see him ashore, among the rocks, just above the start line of our second race and I'm convinced had we decided to paddle to Devonport, he would have found a way to get there and capture us arriving on the beach.
Judy came to introduce her 3 lovely granddaughters and Ocke suddenly appeared on the embankment. Elaine from Breastcare Products also arrived, unfortunately a little late due to the speed of the event but her freshly baked (and buttered) scones were enjoyed by the team and her enthusiasm towards BWL is refreshing.
The day was also a reminder that fitness is easily lost. It seemed like a good idea to have a little rest after a dedicated fitness programme during the season but the huffing/puffing after each race brought home that this programme must be retained.
This particular team member was asked to look after the first aid kit for the day. Not a problem until home and midway through the much anticipated shower when the realisation hit it had been left behind. Not really proud of the resulting language! Many frantic phone calls followed and sincere thanks to all involved in the investigatory/recovery work. It was also established during these phone calls that a lifejacket and a paddle had been left behind by 2 fellow team members. Pauline dear - you would have had a field day!
National Championships - Lake Hood, Ashburton - Saturday 31 March 2012
Even though not paddling at this event, supporting team member Eila Wild finds there's no other place she would rather have been ......
Flying in over the Canterbury Plains is always a bit startling for Aucklanders. Groomed gardens, braided rivers, flat flat flat landscape, and once in Ashburton, the only features on the horizon are the shelter belts and hedges of willow, macrocarpa, poplars, etc. The weather for the weekend was beautiful, unlike the icy conditions of two years ago, and the addition of local High School teams (and Epsom Girls from Auckland), made for a festive and action packed atmosphere.
By the tents, the music and chants and loudspeaker focussed attention at the finishing line. At the start it is very quiet. The tents look far away, and the view straight down the lanes focuses one's thoughts. Then there's the "Attention" call, and the starting hooter sounds, and months of practice slips into place as the race begins and the drums beat...
The Nationals have changed their shape since the previous meet at Lake Hood, with 500 and 200 metre races having heats and BC Finals, and with the 2000 metre timed race up and down the lake trying to catch and overtake the boat in front, ending the day. The BC 500 metre Final was followed by the Flower Ceremony, with additional support boats going out. As the boats landed, Shirley Boys High School performed a stirring haka, and made a guard of honour with their paddles as Villa Maria Girls High School sang a waiata in response. There were many of us who were moved to tears by this. This was not our day for medals, despite close times, and the main honours went to Boobops from Tauranga and a highly charged competitive Cansurvive team from Wellington.
The growth in the BC teams in the NZDBA, and in their strength and skill, was highlighted for all of us when Trici Nelson, who started Dragonboating in New Zealand 14 years ago, spoke at the BC breakfast at the Ashburton Hotel on Sunday morning. Busting with Life was the original team, and the only team for a couple of seasons before being joined by Abreast of Life, from Christchurch. Irene, Linley and Jenny were honoured as being original members from that inaugural team, and Pauline, who was present in all of our thoughts all weekend, was spoken of also. This history lesson and a reminder of the legacy that we uphold in our team, was a very moving end to the weekend.
Mary McAvoy also spoke of the places BC paddling can take you as she described the plans for paddling in the Flotilla down the Thames River in London at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June of this year, when our Deb Stevenson is also going as reserve paddler.
Coming back to Auckland I wondered what everyone's highlights from the weekend would be. For the early birds on Friday, perhaps seeing the 189 white chairs in central Christchurch commemorating those who lost their lives in the February quake last year, might be one thing to always remember. Then there was our fun lunch at Dunsandel; the thousands of tiny spiderwebs in the grass at Lake Hood with the dew caught in them looking like frost; the haka and waiata for the BC paddlers; the stillness of the lake at the starting line; the fullout effort of paddling; the solid rhythm of paddling up the lake in the 2000 metres; the sense that Pauline was very close to us in spirit during the weekend; Anne's win of the $100 note for a raffle with a lucky last ticket; the harvesting of horse chestnuts for Chris's kindergarten class; the impromptu and hilarious party on Saturday night; and Trici's history lesson.
Above all I will remember that we share a common bond in the boat and out of it, and I find BWL an amazing team. As well as the team spirit, Ocke's managing to move us around so that we all get to the right place with the right bags is downright wonderful. We are all really grateful for his skill and patience. Thank you too to the "boys" who drive and support and generally rally round us, to Sean for his tireless support and coaching, and to Deb for masterminding the whole exercise with the help of her committee. There is a team brunch coming up to round off the season. A good time to review the plans for winter fitness and connection, and to keep in mind that October is not far away.
Auckland Regionals - Lake Pupuke - Saturday 24 March 2012
25 enthusiastic teams including 3 other Breast Cancer Survivor teams and supporters coming from as far as Wellington, joined us on the shores of our own turf, Lake Pupuke. With a day more suited to kite- and wind-surfing, racing got off to a hiss and a roar with 4 boats competing in each race.
We were hopeful the weather would hold but unfortunately it deteriorated as the morning progressed and the strong winds, particularly on the start line, challenged both team sweeps and crews alike. After a dramatic capsize and with boats struggling to keep in their own lanes, an on-the-spot decision by the organisers mid-morning reduced paddlers to 16 in a boat with more experienced pool sweeps. Thank you to Dave from CanSurvive Wellington for taking charge of our boat; a well equipped sweep for what the Auckland weather threw at him, coming from a background of sweeping in Windy Wellington.
Our first 500m race saw us come a close 2nd to Boobops from Tauranga and the 2 other Breast Cancer teams competing in this race. A 2nd 500m race brought us in 4th as the conditions deteriorated further.
Following on was our 3rd 500m race which was the Breast Cancer final. With a pre-race rev from Captain Kelly and every team member's determination to empty the tank on the boat in this race, especially for our dear Pauline, we pulled it off with a last minute surge across the line to take first place. Intense competition from CanSurvive, Boobops and Pink Dragons will see interesting racing at next week's National Championships in Ashburton.
7 boats full of Breast Cancer survivor paddlers, rafted up for the on-water flower ceremony which is always very moving. Combined with the rain and the tears, we were all reminded of why we are here, and of our sisters who are no longer with us.
Seven scheduled races for each team were reduced to 5 when time started to run out as a result of adverse weather conditions which slowed down the race turnarounds. Three scheduled 200m races per team were reduced to one, followed by the recently introduced 2K race with 15 second staggered starts for 17 boats. Well done to the teams who came in under 9 minutes in this endurance race.
Good to meet Wendy, one of our sisters from the Dragon's Abreast Sunshine Coast Breast Cancer Survivor's Dragon Boat team ("Tittytittybangbang"), and her husband Noel, who took time to come and see us compete during their New Zealand holiday. Wendy was very interested in our paddling style which was quite different from theirs, and is taking back video footage to show her team.
Big thanks to Natalie and her team from the Auckland DBA for all their time and effort in organising this event.
We now re-focus for the Nationals at Ashburton next weekend and look forward to joining our sister teams on the water for the last time this season.
Splash N Dash - Westhaven Marina - Saturday 25 February 2012
First season newbie, Lynne Cutfield embraced the challenges of wind changes and the threat of rain, and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the day .....
Athough the day dawned bright & sunny, dark clouds skirted Westhaven Marina threatening to dampen the morning's proceedings. However, the weather gods were kind to us and the only water that rained upon us came from the mad 200 metre dash to the finish line. There was a festive atmosphere as the tents were set up and the heads, tails and drums were installed on the dragon boats.
The excitement of another regatta gave this newbie some all important experience of competing. Learning how to settle start line nerves was also valuable practice before the upcoming Regionals. Out of towners competed alongside the Auckland based teams. Two races followed by a final capped the day's activities. We had an encouraging start to the regatta, pleased to have obtained 2nd place. Our second race had a delayed start, waiting for a broken paddle to be replaced and for an extra boat to join the race. Windy conditions proved challenging making for a tough race. Although overall the team had mixed results, these have given us plenty to focus on at practice! Many thanks to the organisers and team members.
Oceanbridge Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta - Viaduct - Monday 30 January 2012
Charlotte Mosa certainly enjoyed her first Anniversary Day Regatta ....
It was the most perfect day; the weather was very kind to us. It was great to see many new teams (some who travelled from out of town) join us this year. 23 teams and 4 races each gave everyone the opportunity to compete against all skill levels. Wairakei Dragons from Taupo gave 4 members of our team the chance to call and drum for them as they were short of a team member on the day. Big thanks to team members Jean, Kay, Judy and Deb G who embraced this opportunity to help out - quite a different perspective as none of the girls had done this before. The Regatta was well organised (thanks to Natalie and her crew from the Auckland DBA and to our President Deb who helped out with event organisation), enjoyable and hard work, but at the end of the day, we realised why we keep doing this. It was a terrific atmosphere and there is nothing like being on the water on such a day even if the results were a little disappointing. Thanks to all our families and friends who came to support us on the day.
Hamilton Super 12 - Hamilton Lake - Saturday 3 December 2011
Newbie Catherine Rose reports for the first time about her first "Summer" regatta in the pouring rain....
We awoke at the crack of an hour before dawn with 2 blurry eyed dogs not quite sure what we were up to. It was too dark to see what the day looked like, but the weather man had not predicted it to be flash. Still there was the same sense of excitement I felt with my first regatta at Tauranga, 2 weeks before, only this time two other "newbies" were with us, Charlotte and Lyn (or "Tin" as she is now named due to Anne being left to decipher Sean's team list.) We all set up the tents and caught up with old friends and rivals. There was some discussion about the need to share extra team members to help each other out and make sure everyone had a go. It's great to see the bond of sisterhood amongst the BC teams although once we are out on the water it is clear we all fight tooth and nail to win. We had 4 mixed team races where we put up our best and held our own against some of the bigger, stronger teams thanks to the clever tactics of sweep and coach, Tucker and Sean. Some of our members were shared amongst our rivals and reported back with top secret information that we may have to use to our advantage in training sessions going forward. Tucker decided she is going to bring waterskis next time she sweeps for the White Tigers.
There were some random nasty squally showers coming through, one of which damaged the side walls of our tent. This made it necessary to remove them which meant there were lots of puddles and wet items around as Deb discovered when she sat on a chair and broke the world speed record leaping back up.
We were caught by surprise when they announced after lunch that we were in a semi final with 2 minutes warning and there was much scrambling to get the team organised and on board for our 4th race of the day. We managed to fight off the Librarians to take 3rd. The clouds rolled in just as we were about to start the BC final and with Sean as our sweep we gave it everything and more, even though the heavens opened and the rain came down as we neared the finish line. Sadly, we were just pipped for 2nd by the Pink Dragons by a matter of a few centimetres. Boobops won again, looking very strong, as they did in Tauranga. Our flower ceremony lost some of its beauty as we sat bedraggled in the pouring rain. Luckily that was us all done for the day so dry clothes and hot food were next on the "to do list." Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and the venue was great.
Finally, I must mention Pauline who, despite her health issues, both inspired and bullied us into what I felt was a level of performance we hadn't achieved in Tauranga. Onwards and upwards.......
Tauranga Super 12 - Lake Tauriko - Saturday 19 November 2011
"Dancing Queen" Jean Hindley shares some insight into this weekend away where all the fun & frivolity wasn't necessarily on the water ...
Our first eagerly anticipated 'away' regatta of the season has just taken place. 16 of our paddlers took part in this Super 12 , including 'newbie' Catherine who participated in her very first event. The day dawned with sunshine, bright blue skies and a stiff breeze. Arrival at the venue proved interesting for some when Debbie G in her cute Suzuki Swift decided that a little off-roading was called for, subsequently followed by several others in a convoy! The Corporate teams entered this year were varied, with some very apt outfits worn by the two medical teams and with limited practise opportunities for them, there were some very different techniques on display! The Breast Cancer final this year was held in the middle of the Regatta with 4 teams, Boobops, a combination team made up of members from the Waikato Treasure Chests and Taranaki Dragons, Pink Dragons and Busting With Life competing. The clear winners, in formidable form were Boobops with Busting With Life a close 3rd. While obviously not the result we had hoped for, it should prove an added incentive for us to attend regular training sessions and benefit from Sean's excellent coaching.
The choice of the Tauranga Citizens Club for our after-match function proved to be an excellent one with good food and entertainment. There were plenty of opportunities for our group, distinctive in our pink shirts of course, to shine on the dance floor with great enthusiasm, if not always with great skill! With Helen, the wonderful singer, using us as added entertainment, especially "Coach Sean" and "Dr Phil," and with Judy in particular and also Jean being honoured with invitations to dance with local gents, the evening was full of fun and laughter.
As usual there are lots of people to thank: Deb and the Committee members for all their background organisation; Tucker who did a marevellous job as sweep for the day; the Bay of Plenty hosts for their great organisation, particularly Boobops for the delicious goodie baskets; and finally a special thanks to Sean and Anne who managed to be there despite their imminent move to the North Shore.
Final words - a great weekend but plenty of fitness and technique work ahead to be able to challenge those Boobops at the Regionals and Nationals next year.
Splash 'n' Dash - Super 12 Westhaven - Sunday 6 November 2011
After missing a season with injury, we welcome back Eila Wild to report from her first regatta for quite a while......
We had a very happy Splash 'n' Dash, with 7 teams participating with enthusiasm. Everyone seemed very pleased to be out on the water, despite a sneaky Southerly breeze and an occasional skiff of rain. No doubt some of this was due to us now being able to be out there, after the delayed start to training occasioned by the RWC and our glorious All Blacks. The course was short - heading from the edge of the low tide to the luxury boats, and we worked with a will. There was opportunity for good training feedback from Sean, and some impromptu coaching earlier on from Captain Kelly. We all went home in very good spirits.
Black Paddle - Sunday 16 October 2011
Leslie, Rosemary, Jenny & Judith took part in the paddle for the All Blacks organised by Alisha from the Auckland Dragon Boat Association. We all wore black (our international uniforms were perfect for this) and paddled off from Westhaven to the Viaduct in 2 dragon boats with one boad shouting "All" and the other shouting "Blacks" when we entered the Viaduct. After keeping out of the way of various super yachts and craft going in and out of the area, we raced up and down the Viaduct towards the Loaded Hog three times shouting our chants and being videoed by Alisha at the same time. There were lots of people in the area as it was the day of the Wallabies v All Blacks semifinal for the Rugby World Cup so we got good public exposure as was the intention, but as we paddled out into the harbour again one of the boats was swamped by the ferry wake and promptly sank! Luckily we 4 were all on the other boat and were escoprted back to Westhaven by a Viaduct resuce boat while the ADBA rescue craft dealt with the sunken boat. Alisha's video was sent to the All Blacks apparently and she has put it on Facebook and the ADBA website for all to see.
Stand Up Paddle For Hope - Saturday 15 October 2011
Judith Overington "pinked" up for the occasion ....
A few Busting With Life members went along to support this event at the Viaduct but as there were a lot of helpers, we went around the crowds with Pink Ribbons asking for donations, while Jacque had a job time keeping for the races. There were 40 teams entered, all dressed up in various pink bling and the teams included some celebrities such as Barbara Kendall, Maggie Barry and people from TV. They raced in a relay course from the Wynyard Steps towards the Viaduct apartments then back under the Te Wero Bridge and back to the Steps. There was a huge international and local crowd in and around the area because it was the middle of the Rugby World Cup semifinals so the event got plenty of spectators. It was a great fun pink event and maybe in the future we could have some participants.
WIMA Pink Ribbon Ride - Sunday 2 October 2011
While some of us headed off the the Pools for an aquarobics session, some of the adrenalin junkies among us couldn't wait to participate in this year's WIMA Ride. Glenys Stewart fills us in......
What a fantastic way to promote awareness of breast cancer and to raise funds for a great cause. Over 300 bikes and riders took part in this event, with both bikes and riders decorated with loads of pink! This will probably be the only time you would see a "biker" in all his glory of black leather but with a pair of pink undies over his pants. Several of our team members and supporters took part; on arrival at the start we were outfitted with helmets and jackets to make sure we were protected (just in case.) For me, this was my first time back on a motorbike for over 20 years, and I got the opportunity to ride on the back of one of the Can-Am Spyders with John from JFK Motorcycles (one of the Sponsors.) Judy also got to ride on a Spyder, with having the extra luxury and comfort of a fitted seat to rest on. Some got to ride on a Harley, and everyone enjoyed their chance to participate on whatever sort of motor bike.
I have forgotten how good it felt to have the breeze on your face through the helmet, and it has certainly given me the bug to want to ride a bike again since I used to back in my 'younger' days. The riders were escorted by Police with pink ribbons on their bikes as well, and this was probably the only time every single light we went through was green (changed especially for us.) Being able to ride through Quay Street (Party Central) was a bonus as this was closed to all other traffic. It must have been an awesome sight for all the people out and about, in cars held up at intersections and people all out enjoying a Sunday morning stroll. Lots of cars tooted their horns and people clapped and waved as we went past.
On arrival at our destination of Western Springs, the team of event organisers from WIMA had the sausage sizzle and the coffee machines fired up and ready to go. This was a very well organised event which ran very well. They had a lot of sponsors' support and some great prizes were given out with the official entries from badge purchases. Some of our team were lucky enough to win some great motorcycle gear (to wear next year, of course.) I will certainly be back to take part again next year.
2011 Season Opener - Saturday 24 Sepember 2011
Judith Overington reports back ...
We have just had our season launch get together at Columbus Cafe in their glass room. After coffee, muffins & scones, we listened to guest speaker, Marius Spencer, from Inlife Fitness, Health & Wellbeing. Marius spoke to the team about being motivated and starting the season with good fitness so that we can reach our goal at the Nationals. He gave us a few strength exercises to do using stretchy bands, chairs and park benches (exercises that we can all do regularly) and he even wore a pink shirt! Through Marius and Sean sharing ideas and with their enthusiasm, we all came away inspired for the upcoming season.
Flippin' Freezin' Super 12 - Sylvan Park Lake Pupuke - Saturday 20 August 2011
A group of hardy souls braved the mid Winter chill to blow the cobwebs away and take to the water to join in the fun of this pre-season splash 'n' dash.
A beautiful sunny & calm morning greeted us on the shores of Lake Pupuke. With beanies and thermals a must, we all enjoyed getting back on the water (and back to the shore for a hot cuppa!) for a taste of what the coming season will hold.
Thanks to Alisha and her crew from the Auckland DBA for organising an enjoyable morning.
National Championships - Blue Lake Rotorua - Saturday 26 March 2011
From a first year paddler's perspective, Erica Gilchrist shares her thoughts on her first National Regatta .....
When I joined the Busting with Life Dragon Boat crew at the beginning of the 2010/11 season, I was just 'giving it a go,' 'seeing how it went' .... but all the while 'getting hooked!'
The season culminated with the Nationals on the Blue Lake - a fantastic setting in spite of the misty, drizzly day that tended to keep us all close to our tents between races in order to stay warm. For me, it was a first to see the drums in action at the bow of each boat with the drummers perched on their precarious looking seats and that bought a whole sense of ceremony and heightened competition as the drum beats sounded out across the lake during each race.
We did not return victorious as, of course, we had wished, but the competition was exciting, the races well fought and the atmosphere memorable - created by the friendliness, humour and the fantastic support that appeared to exist between all competitors. The outstanding experience for me was the respect shown to the BC teams by all the general competitors - it's great to race you even though we pose you no threat and it is extra great to have your support as we race each other. It was fantastic to leave the lakeside after every race through a line of 'high fives' from all our competitors - a wonderful feature that makes dragon boating shine as a sport because it creates such a wonderful atmosphere of common ground even though we are all there to beat each other!!
It was a very wet day - warmer in the water than out of it and no chance of drying out between races, but now that I am home, warm and dry, and all my gear put away, I am feeling a little bereft that there is no more paddling for a while - not so sure that I want my Monday and Wednesday evenings back because the dragon boat experience has been a great one ... and fitness!! I love the fitness the season has brought me.
Sincere thanks to all who contributed to our team and to the general organisation - bring on the winter paddling.
Seasoned paddler, Jenny Terry, also contributes ...
We awoke to spots of rain which gradually got worse during the course of the day but the weather conditions did not affect the enthusiasm of the team. As usual, June donned her pink sheepskin slippers in spite of the wet and mud underfoot in our spacious tent. Matthew, our dedicated team photographer, arrived to a round of applause from the team. The racing was exciting and it was good to see a number of teams and supporters at the Blue Lake. In the 500m BC final, BWL came 2nd. Boobops beat us into first place by 0.04 of a second, or a Dragon's head. This race was followed by the flower ceremony which is always very moving. In the 200m splash and dash, BWL came third. This year, a new 2km race was introduced in which BWL came 4th. The dinner and prizegiving took place at the Rotorua RSA which proved to be a good venue. All the BC teams enjoyed breakfast together on Sunday morning at the Millenium Hotel. Sherrie from Casting for Recovery was guest speaker. Casting for Recovery is a fly fishing programme for breast cancer survivors which originated from the USA and is now available in NZ for those who wish to take up the challenge, thanks to the efforts of Sherrie and friends.
Auckland Regionals - Lake Pupuke - Saturday 19 March 2011
From her own 'Hood, Lesley Tucker reports on the day
Coach, mentor and friend, Sean is selected by the whole team as being our MVP - Most Valuable "Person" for today's event.
Lake Pupuke turned on its best day for racing in a long time for the Auckland Regional Dragonboat Champs. The water stayed calm all day and any wind was minimal.
Busting With Life is entered, along with other cancer survivor crews, in the Team Division; so we compete against mixed male and female crews in the early heats. We are no match for the big, powerful Lion Nathan, Hamilton Watersports and similar, crews, so have to fight our way along in their huge wakes.
Our times for these early races were well down on the other cancer crews, Boobops from Tauranga and Pink Dragons from Auckland, and also well below our own best. However, we approached the Breast Cancer Survivor's final with all the will, determination and concentration we could muster, as individuals and as a team.
It was an extremely tight race, with all three teams neck and neck for the whole 500 metres. At the finish it was not clear to any of the paddlers as to which team had triumphed. We linked boats for the Flower Ceremony afterwards. It was not until we reached shore that we found out that BWL was the winner, by 0.19 of a second. (BWL 2.39.26; Boobops 2.39.45; Pink Dragons 2.40.42)
We have regained the Cup from Boobops and now look forward to another epic battle in a week's time at the Blue Lake in Rotorua for the Nationals.
The new initiative to include a Ladies Only race saw us unexpectedly race for the 6th time at the end of the day against 3 other all ladies teams. Well done to all participants in this inaugural event which saw BWL come home 3rd in a time of 2.38.59
Thank you to our dedicated coach Sean, his supportive wife Anne, and all our family and friends and supporters.
Tauranga Regatta - The Lakes, Tauriko - Saturday 25 February 2011
Judy Kemp discovers there was more to this weekend away than "Eggs Bene" at the Mount Sunday morning ....
The team of Anne, Cathy, Chris, Debbie, Deb, Glenys, Irene, Jean, Jenny, Judith, Judy, June, Kay, Leslie A, Tucker, Linley, Margaret, Rosemary, Susan, Sean with Eila joining us as a supporter, eagerly travelled on Friday to Tauranga and nearby towns arriving at various times, and settled in for the night. Saturday morning dawned clear and warm and we all found our way to the new racing venue at The Lakes, Tauriko, and duly set up camp with help from the men folk.
Thanks to Graeme, Keith, Gary, Neil, Phil and Dave. Phil Ash also joined us in the evening after competing in a sailing regatta. Our mission was to defend and retain the cup the team had won in the previous event at Tauranga held two years earlier in 2009. Racing commenced at 9am and we competed in 3 races before we got prepared to hit the water after the lunch break for the BC RACE.
Pauline, Ron and the dog, Amber, arrived just prior to the race. Pauline was able to wish the team in the boat the best of luck and then joined the rest of us on the shoreline to cheer them on. They were off and the team performed well, only to be beaten into 2nd by BOOBOPS.
The moving joining together of the boats and linking of arms for those ashore was very emotional and a fitting tribute to those who have passed, and to Leonie from the Pink Dragons. I still find this part of the event truly amazing.
The revised Tauranga mission is to ensure we come back again in 2011 and grab the cup back again. In the meantime ..... we have other business to attend to!!
Another race and we all held our breath to see if we would make a final, and yes, joy oh joy, we did. The team in the boat again performed well and finished second to Comvita.
Sideline events/entertainment during the day:
Leslie A, not happy about the queue for the port-a-loo decided to head to the bushes - bad move Leslie, who ended up with 3 very sore stings.
Pauline & Ron brought a great marlin dip and crackers enjoyed by us all. It was great to catch up with them, and Amber also enjoyed all the attention.
Sean's wife Anne had her birthday over the weekend and we all tucked in to 2 very nice moist chocolate cakes to help celebrate her day.
Although disappointed with the outcome (winning is our target) we all joined together and enjoyed a fun evening, if somewhat eventful at the Zeytin On The Strand. We did finally get our dinner, athough Debbie G lost her bread after she offered it to her neighbour who then passed the plate on and it continued around the table and when when it got back to Debbie it was gone!
This was my first time to an overnight regatta and I loved it. As a newbie and asked to write this overview of the event has given me the opportunity to say thank you to the whole team. You are an awesome team of ladies with lots of guts, full of fun, supportive and encouraging. I feel privileged to be part of the team. All I have to do now is to learn how to paddle correctly - so thanks also to Sean for his patience.
OUR CURRENT MISSION: Train hard, win the Regionals and top this off with winning at the Nationals - so let's go ladies!!!!!!
Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta - Monday 31 January 2011
Well done Deb Stevenson for being selected as today's Most Valuable Team Member - Thank You Deb, we all appreciate the tremendous contribution you make to our Team.
Another newbie, Glenys Stewart shares her delights of the day ....
What an awesome event to be part of. The dragon boat teams were invited to take part in the celebrations happening out on the water. You could feel the excitement on our arrival at our team tent, as today's competition was going to be in the Viaduct, in front of hundreds of people who had ventured down to the waterfront to view the activities for the day.
On looking down where the course was going to be, I wondered how were the competing dragon boats going to fit in between all the pleasure boats moored around the course. We would be racing right through the centre of the boats moored along the side, as well as towards the big launches that were moored around the course. It was going to be fun trying to stop at the end of each race!
The dragon boats looked magnificent with their dragon heads and tails, and the callers had drums to beat out a rhythm to encourage our paddling. We loaded into the boat for the first race, venturing out towards the startt line. There was a very strong wind to contend with out on the water and this was pushing the boats around while we were trying to line up. Finally, we were off for a very fast and furious race and then we were at the finish line, but it felt like we had only just got started!
Looking up after there race, there were people on every side clapping and cheering, with cameras recording our efforts. So much atmosphere to soak up and enjoy. Before we could compete in our next race, there was to be a display by the tug boats coming into the Viaduct. The first one was so much like "Little Toot," then shortly afterwards all the various sizes of tug boats were paraded in front of everyone. Then it was back onto the water for another race, 4 in total today. The final race was against 2 other teams of women only paddlers and was so close in the end, less than a second separating us all at the finish line. (The Jaffettes 59.65sec, Pink Dragons 59.88sec, Busting With Life 59.91sec)
This was an event that I hope we get to participate in again in the coming years. I am certainly looking forward to next year!
Wenderholm, Super 12 Dragon Boat Beach Races - Saturday 11 December 2010
Congratulations to Kay Willcocks selected as today's MVP - Well done Kay!
Newbie Margaret McLean writes for the first time ....
For a 'newbie' it is quite daunting heading out alone into the unknown to your first ever regatta. In hindsight, it would have been preferable to take up the kind offer of a lift with some established team members. After getting comfortable in the BWL tent, best just to sit back, look relaxed and confident, chew a bit of fingernail, quietly wonder 'am I up to this?', wait for something to happen, and it certainly did. It was a privilege for a newbie to paddle in 4 out of the 5 races. 500 meters into a head wind, in a different boat, mixed teams (some big units in those other boats), running/rolling starts. Wooohooo!!! It was a most enjoybale, amazing day with a great bunch of ladies (and blokes.) The lunch time entertainment was amusing. Did anyone else see Sean jump on a competitor's sack in the sack race? Accidental? I think not. Is the Coach eligible for a fine? Can't believe that after so many training sesssions, still finding some muscles that have never seen the light of day! I knew dragon boating would be strenuous but oh boy, what a wake up call! Mastering the technique is so much harder than imaged and I can see it all requires fitness and determination.
The real bonus - I have discovered a sure cure for insomnia. Total dragon boat exhaustion and a little (?) wine lead to lights out!
Kay Willcox also contributes .....
It was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. Especially the long paddles out to the marker buoy to begin the race and then the mad dash back to the beach straight into a head wind. Being out on the water was magic. The weather was gorgeous and a real kiwi 'picnic on the beach' atmosphere prevalied. It was my first regatta as a stroke and Anne's as a sweep, and it was lovely to feel supported by the team even if the race results were mixed.
A popular visitor to the site was Santa with a big bag oif lollies for the scramble. Our representatives, Anne & Sean did well in the sack race, and we won our heat in the tug-of-war.
'Le Mans' starts add a whole new dimension. The sweeps run down to the boats, take a flying leap (especially in Sean's case) into the boats and then the race begins. Terrific fun. At the end of the racing the water proved irresistible and a few of us dived in fully clothed. What a great way to end the year.
Waikato Dragon Boat Association, Super 12 Hamilton Lake - Saturday 04 December 2010
Fabulous weather, fabulous racing conditions, "heaps of Aroha" and another well organised event from Waikato DBA.
A full day of racing saw us compete in 5 races culminating in the much anticipated BC final against Pink Dragons, Boobops, Waikato Treasure Chests and Taranaki Dragons. Well done to all teams for an extremely close finish but by the skin of our teeth BWL brought it home......again!
First racing experience for our new team members Erica, Judy, Glenys and Anne.
Anne Owens shares her thoughts on the day
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I accepted the roll of sweep. I had practiced twice! Surely that's enough to get the motor pathways in the brain to repeat patterns and allow us to go in a straight line. I hope so! The first race was a little nerve racking. All I wanted was a straight line and not some scenic cruise. Well, we got it. I was so pleased. Of course, there were those guys beside us whose arms were bigger than our thighs. We gave them a run for their money and they had a new found respect. It helped a little that their sweep lost his balance, steering and then had to correct his course.
The racing was fun, trying to push strategy and where to line up on the start line, getting that rolling start rolling and positioning well. The energy in the boat was exciting. As for Sean saying it is a practice event and it doesn't matter where we come, man - once on the water it is all on. The last race I got to paddle again, with Sean as an experienced sweep using the wake of the other boat to help push us along. It was so tight, who knew where we had finished. It was thrilling and competitive, the exurberation came later when it was announced we got 1st. The rememberance gathering and prayers, thanks and offerings, were special. A great way to give thanks and take time away from the competitive side of things and think more of others and the comradeship from each other.
Dragons Abreast Festival Darling Harbour, Sydney - Sunday 31 October 2010
Debbie Garrett writes
I was incredibly excited with the prospect of my upcoming first International regatta - the thought of an extended weekend in Sydney, paddling on one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, little bit of retail therapy, little bit of eating and drinking (well, not so little as it turned out!) and a huge amount of laughs and camaraderie was the recipe for a fabulous trip. Well done to Dragons Abreast Australia who turned on a magnificently organised Corporate & Community Regatta at Darling Harbour on Sunday 31 October, and threw in a perfect mix of warm sunny weather and light seas which made for near perfect racing conditions. First time in our black International racing strip made me realise how an Olympic athlete feels when proudly stepping out donned with the silver fern to represent NZ. With heads held high and chests puffed (where applicable) we joined six Australian BC Teams plus our NZ compatriots, Pink Dragons to compete in 2 heats plus a final. Both heat wins saw BWL make it into the final and a very tight finish saw us coming 3rd – we were delighted. The Corporate and Community racing involved 80+ other teams representing, businesses, the medical community, tertiary institutes and even folk who randomly got together and formed a team, who were keen to be involved, to fundraise and to support a very worthwhile cause.
Another perspective from Kay Willcox ....
This was an excellent team building weekend in Sydney. We were able to attend thanks to our fundraising efforts, the hard work of the committee and other 'behind the scenes' people like Team Manager, Ocke. Our hotel, the "Quest Apartments" in the Haymarket area was only a 20 minute walk from Darling Harbour and spacious enough for pre-dinner drinks and Team meetings.
The first morning we had to prove to Captain Kelly's satisfaction that we could swim 50 meters in the hotel pool, then we were free for the day to be tourists. The ferry to Manly was a popular choice as it was a stunning day to be on the harbour. Trips to the Botanic Gardens and the 'Rocks' area, plus shopping, were also high on member's 'to do' list.
Sunday was the big day so we met early in the lobby to walk down to the racing site. In our two heats we recorded the fastest times of the day, even though we graciously allowed our Aussie hosts to win the finals. The two NZ teams, "BWL" and "Pink Dragons" came home 3rd & 4th. A bonus was our Australian sweep Robin. A lovely, enthusiastic woman who enjoyed herself as much as we did. Darling Harbour had a wonderful vibe as the crowds enjoyed the sunshine and cheering the teams on. Sean, our coach, now has a glint in his eye. Perhaps he is planning future trips across the ditch? Thanks to everyone who made the weekend such a success and a brilliant start to our season.
Mid Winter Flippin' Freezin' Regatta Westhaven - 31 July 2010
Leslie Ash writes again!
We dusted off the plonkers, plonked on the thermals and headed down to Westhaven Marina for an "All-comers" Super 12 regatta hosted by the Auckland Dragon Boat Association. It was a spectacular winter's day with near perfect conditions throughout the morning's paddling.
The race card was very different this time. The first race of the day was a 3.7km course out past the breakwater, up to the Harbour Bridge, turn and then home. For most this would be their longest dragon boat race.
This challenge was met by nine BWL paddlers and three Pink Dragon paddlers with Jo Jo as sweep and Susan as caller. The composite team was named "Pink Busts" (!!??) for the race and after a warm up and a quick practice to see if we could still remember how to hold a paddle, we were off!
What a sensational ride down towards the bridge with the wind and the tide helping us along. We did a huge banshee shout out as we went under the bridge and then the turn for home, parallel to the breakwater where a great group of supporters from both our teams were there to cheer us along.
Into the wind and with a few more waves to contend with the team powered along - impressive!
Our times weren't too shabby either with a finish of 23.19 minutes. For many of us it was a real confidence kick to push ourselves a little harder than usual and come out smiling.
A series of sprint races of 200 meters across the basin followed and then it was off to Swashbucklers for seafood platters and a pat on the back for a paddle well done.
The same format will be used for the "Silly Spring" regatta in September so shake your "sillies" out and come along.
StarLake Express Waka Ama Regatta - Lake Pupuke 11 July 2010
Rosemary Jenkins writes on this event ...
The conditions were ideal. It was a beautiful clear, sunny winter's morning. The lake was calm which was in stark contrast to the previous two Sunday's where we had practiced in windy, rainy, cold conditions. BWL entered two teams, an all women's team and a supporter's team which consisted of four males and two females who were co-opted to make the full compliment of six paddlers.
After a welcome and a karakia the women's team were in the first race along with five other teams. Under Irene's expert guidance they gave it everything they had around the 4.5km course. The supporter's team did likewise when it came to their turn. Although no match for the more experienced teams, both teams did themselves proud coming in towards the back of the field. Overall a very positive experience and one that I would encourage other BWL members to consider in the future. Dont be put off by the 4.5km distance. It was very doable and lots of fun.
Thankyou to the supporters who came to watch and cheer us on.
Also thankyou to Sugar and her team from NZ Taniwha Dragon Boat and Outrigger Canoe Club for the opportunity to compete in this event.
National Championships - Ashburton - 27 March 2010
Leslie Ash writes on Lake Hood triumph ...
You have to love Canterbury weather. 30 degrees C on “travel” day and a balmy 15 degrees C on race day!
The 2010 NZ Dragon Boat Nationals hosted by Aoraki DBA and held at Lake Hood near Ashburton was a wonderful venue. The weather conditions were challenging; the competition was hot. Kudos to Meri Gibson and her team for running such a fantastic event.
We had brought the National BC trophy down to Ashburton with us knowing full well that we would have to paddle the race of the season if we wanted to bring it home again this year.
Busting with Life made a commitment as a team this year that we would fully align with the international standards for BC teams which requires all those on the boat to be BC survivors including drummer and sweep. Our coach Sean was looking forward to staying warm and dry from a safe position on the shore!
Each of the 6 BC teams raced in 4 open division races throughout the day, monitoring times, energy levels of team members and honing strategies in the build up to The Breast Cancer survivors’ Division Grand Final.
There may not always be the muscle strength and stamina of youth across the BC teams but if the measures are about passion, willingness to participate and dogged determination then this collective group has it in bucket loads.
Sean believed we could do it and he never waivered in that belief. He sent us off to the start line reminding us to have fun and breathe!
“Ladies, we have a start line – ATTENTION! – GO!!!”
It gets a bit blurry at this point. The noise, the water, the excitement and tension as we race down the course towards the finish at a frantic pace. Sweep JoJo was brilliant, found her voice and did she use it!
A photo finish for confirmation of results was required…..
We had 7 boats rafted up for the Flower Ceremony on Lake Hood. It is such a poignant reminder of all the elements that encompass the journey that is Breast Cancer and allows us all to pay respect to those who are no longer with us.
The plaintive call of the karakia by local iwi followed by the haka from the combined armed forces of the NZ Army and Air Force rang out across the lake. The aroha and inclusiveness of the NZ dragon boating family towards the BC teams is truly overwhelming.
Lakeside drinks and nibbles were generously provided by the Abreast of Life team as we cheered on the remaining finals with all thoughts of being wet and cold forgotten.
Big party and prizegiving at the Ashburton Hotel – a great time was had! What goes on tour stays on tour!
The NZBCF sponsored breakfast held at Lake Hood Resort Restaurant on Sunday morning was a fun mix and mingle event and it was great to chat on an informal basis with fellow teams who had been in opposition just a few hours before.
Oh, by the way… the Trophy was repacked in it’s carrier bag and brought back safely to Auckland by the triumphant Busting with Life Team! We won by the narrowest of margins and we know that margin is shrinking all the time!
Auckland Regionals - 13 March 2010
What a proud day for Busting With Life. We didn't get the final race result we were hoping for (oooohhh - that start !!!!), but we "put it all out there", never giving up, and proved our ability to work together brilliantly as a team. All day we achieved terrific race times, and as a 100% breast cancer survivor team, we more than held our own against the "hail and hardy" mixed teams.
Bring on the Nationals !
Wenderholm Super 12 Fun Day - 23 January 2010
Veteran paddler Judith Overington gives the scoop on a great event ...
Busting With Life paddlers took part in the recent Super 12 fun day at Wenderholm organised by the Auckland Dragon Boat Association. Some of us who have been in regattas at the beach in the past were a little nervous about sea conditions and also the thought of doing turns during the racing was new for some paddlers. But when we arrived and saw the sea was like a mill pond we could relax and enjoy the day.
Although I don't think relaxing was the word we thought of when we paddled and paddled and paddled out off the beach for the first race (without turns because of the wind further out). This race was apparently 800 meters in to the shore, so it was quite hard going. After that we had a few 600m races and after the lunch break had 2 races with a Le Mans start and turns around buoys (approx 200m races I think).
Having Le Mans starts with the sweep getting in the boat last and the finish being a race up the beach by the callers added a fun aspect as did the lunchtime games of tug-of-war between teams and the jandal throwing competitions. Chris's son threw her jandal so far it ended up stuck in a high pohutukawa tree which our nimble coach Sean managed to retrieve by quickly climbing the tree!
We were in the Firefly final with Pink Dragons who beat us to the finish and we were ahead of Waikato Treasure Chests, but we all enjoyed the fun picnic atmosphere of the day.
Hamilton Super 12 - 18 Nov 2009
New BWL team member Eila Wild writes about her first regatta...
I had something of a coming out experience at the Waikato Super 12 Dragon Boat Regatta held in Hamilton at the city lake on 28th November. Not that having breast cancer is exactly a private matter when chemotherapy makes your hair fall out, but a lot of it is personal and unshared. So to stand in a linked circle with team-mates all in pink shouting "Feel It Find It Fix It!!!" prior to a race certainly blew the cobwebs off any remaining privacy, and left me feeling profoundly proud of the strength and solidarity of my new Dragon Boating friends. This feeling occurred again when the five breast cancer Survivor teams linked boats at the end of their race and shared a moment's silence for all our friends present in body and in spirit.
It was a wonderful day for we new members. We had the thrill of racing; of losing and winning; and we got to see the point of training! We also had the thrill of joining with a community of women who have a shared experience and a deep understanding of the loveliness of this life.
Mid Winter Flipping Freezin Fun Fundraiser - 5 Sept 2009
"Mid Winter Flipping Fun Fundraiser" was the billing. However it was officially spring by the time the event went ahead, after being postponed from the 8th of August. The Auckland Dragon Boating Association was putting it on as a pre-season get-together and to raise money to make some repairs to the trailers and boats.
The competition started at 9am and ran through to noon and consisted of a series of 250 metre sprints. At least it did until the tide went out too far, and our last race - our fourth - had to be cancelled!
It was a gorgeous sunny morning only marred by a biting wind, but team manager Ocker had put up the tent, so we were grateful for the comfort, and also for the grandstand views of Westhaven and the bridge. It was also an excellent view point for selecting the "Gin Palace" we want for our team base this season.
Paddling in the waka ama over the winter had honed the skills of some of the team, but others struggled, notably me. It has been a long time since the end of March. Quite discouraging really, but lovely to be welcomed back by such a wonderful group of people - and great to be on the water again.
There was one unfortunate incident towards the end of the morning when a member of Pink Dragons stepped out of their boat onto the "beach" only to sink thigh deep into the mud. Galant Sean, our coach, raced to her aid and managed to lift her on to the boat before he could be sucked into the mire himself.
After the races we rounded off the morning with a drink and platters of chips and seafood at Swashbucklers Bar - right on the waterfront - to enjoy more sun and sea and good company.
What an excellent start to the season for Busting With Life.
Kay Willcocks - BWL Paddler
STARLake Express - 18 July 2009
The day dawned ... heavy rains - gale force winds - freezing temperature - black skies - but nothing could deter BWL's "infamous 6" who braved all to race in the 5km STARlake Express Waka Ama Corporate Challenge on Lake Pupuke. Dressed in thermals from head to toe, but still visibly sporting the BWL pink shirt, not even competing against the fellas could shake our ladies' determination. And finishing a respectable 3rd against experienced waka ama paddlers ... just enhanced what was a really fun day. Well done ladies!
BWL Trophies Now On Display at NZBCF
With committee member closets overflowing with team trophies, it was time to find an appropriate home for all the silverware. On behalf of the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, Executive Trustee Heather Shotter accepted all the team's awards from President Deb Stevenson and Committee member Irene Muller in a formal presentation on 8 July 2009. All the hardware will now be proudly displayed in the Parnell, Auckland offices of the NZBCF.
Deb Stevenson, Irene Muller, Heather Shotter
The National Dragon Boat Championships: 28 March 2009
Judith Overington reports on yet another "Golden" regatta for Busting With Life...
Busting With Life has just completed a very successful season by winning gold and retaining the National Championship trophy in the Breast Cancer division final at the Nationals held at Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) in Rotorua.
We gathered on Friday for a relaxing barbecue at our weekend base - Blue Lake Campground. On Saturday we had four races against Open and Corporate teams in the lead-up to the ultimate race - the Breast Cancer Division final. We were ecstatic to win the title of national Champion once again with the competition becoming tougher with each regatta this season. Following the Final, we had a moving "flowers on the water" ceremony which was held close to shore where we could see all the other teams and supporters and the respect they have for breast cancer paddlers. Then, as we paddled in, we were very honoured to be greeted by a haka performed by the young Rotorua boys who were helping with crew loading. That capped off a wonderful day on the water for us!
Later we attended the prize-giving where we received our Gold medals and championship cup. On Sunday morning we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with all the breast cancer survivor teams. During this breakfast, Trici Nelson (founder of Breast Cancer dragon boating in NZ, and founder of Busting With Life) spoke, followed by both new and long-serving paddlers from each team - all sharing their dragon boating and team membership experiences. Leslie Ash and Robyn Brown represented our team very eloquently - thank you to them.
Thank you also to our fabulous coach Sean for getting us to the level where we can keep on winning; to our manager Ocke for making sure everyone had accommodation and transport; to our captain Kelly for making sure we were all doing what we needed to do; and to our president Deb for holding it all together and thinking of all the little details that needed to be sorted.
We look forward to next season !!!!
Check out the Gallery for more photos.
Lake Pupuke: 14 March 2009
Winning is Habit Forming !!!
On 14 March, Busting With Life competed in the North Shore City Regional Dragon Boat Championships on Lake Pupuke. The early morning mist cleared to reveal a beautiful day, and the lake shone like a mirror. But, this was not to last ... as the day progressed the temperature dropped and rain showers moved in. The weather could not dampen this team's enthusiasm though. BWL competed in 5 races - all on a long 580 meter course! ... and took out the Breast Cancer Survivor final in a photo finish - pipping silver medalists Pink Dragons at the finish line. Boobops took the bronze position. It was an agonising wait for the results! Following the final, Breast Cancer Survivor teams rafted together for the traditional flower ceremony, with some well chosen words by BWL captain Kelly Smith.
BWL's win was celebrated at the prize giving ceremony held at R'Toto's, with Judith Overington accepting the cup and medals on the team's behalf.
The team's "home bake" and "wheelbarrow wine/beer raffle" were a great success - raising over $1,100 for the team's activities.
Tauranga Super 12: 14 February 2009
Veteran BWL paddler Clare Brown, after 10+ years on the team, writes on the most recent regatta ...
The Tauranga Super 12 is very popular with the team and was held this year on 14 February. Unlike last year, the weather was perfect. Only 12 paddlers are required in each race so with the popularity of the event we took it in turns to paddle.
We had five races in all including the Breast Cancer Division race. Five boats competed; Busting With Life, BooBops, Waikato Treasure Chests, Pink Dragons and, competing for the very first time, a team from Taranaki. Busting With Life had a very good race, winning by a good margin and breaking the one minute record for the course. To be honest the record was only broken with the assistance of a huge outgoing tide which almost carried the team under a wharf at the end of the race.
After the race, the breast cancer teams rafted together for a flower ceremony which is very sad as it gives us a moment to reflect, but then we turn our attention to the present, all our friends, and a great day on the water.
We also competed in an Open Division Final, finishing third, ahead of mixed teams.
Our thanks go to Sean, our excellent coach, and the team manager, Ocke. Thanks guys.
Hamilton Super 12: 29 November 2008
The 2008 - 2009 regatta season got off to a brilliant start with the Hamilton Super 12 on 29 November 08. The Waikato put on a fabulous day - bright sunshine, calm waters, an easy breeze - perfect conditions to accompany great organisation, a huge turn-out, and wonderful comraderie on and off the water. Busting With Life flew through 5 races, winning their open division semi-final, and coming second by only a whisker in the Breast Cancer final (congratulations to the home team BooPops).
New team member Leslie Ash writes about her first regatta experience...
The anticipation for a "newbee" of the first regatta held both excitement and a bad case of the nerves as we arrived at Hamilton Lake for the first Super 12 regatta of the season.
The day was, in a nutshell, gorgeous! Calm water, bright sunshine and clear conditions made it a paddler's dream.
The team (with able assistance from Ocker and Dave) quickly assembled tent, awnings and umbrellas like a well-oiled machine. The scene all around us was similar... Big BBQs and chilly bins, guitars, singing, and of course the coffee and ice cream wagons to complete the scene.
Coach Sean prepped us all for the first race and with nervous butterflies we set up and headed out to the start line. The splashing and sparks flew as we powered up and all around us the shouting and tactics of the other teams could be heard. The spirit of competition is alive and well in the mighty Waikato.
Nothing quite prepares you for the rush of your first race! You forget to breathe, you wonder how you will ever keep up with the seasoned talent already on the boat and all you can think about is keeping time and not clashing antlers with the paddles front and stern of you. The legs feel like jelly when you climb out of the boat and you have a silly grin on your face!
That grin only got bigger as we powered through 5 races. Our performance was solid throughout the day. We won our semi final in the open division and came second in the Breast Cancer race. A great day with a great team!
One of the "newbees" was heard to say at the end of the day, "That was about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on!".
Onwards and upwards for the girls.
Auckland National Dragon Boat Festival: 29 March 2008
In 2007, Busting With Life was pipped at the post for the Championship Shield by Christchurch’s Abreast in a Boat, but not this year !!!
Busting With Life saved its best for the 5th and final race of the day to win the NZ Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Championship Shield, missing the gold medal by only a whisker to the visiting 80-20 Dragons Abreast Gold Coast (80% of the team being breast cancer survivors.
The Nationals were held for the first time on Lake Pupuke on Auckland’s North Shore. This was an exciting new venue for Dragon Boating in New Zealand, providing a full 500 metre course and excellent spectator viewing.
Go to gallery to view more photos
Wellington Dragon Boat Festival: 15 & 16 March 2008
Wellington put on magnificent blue skies and calm waters for its annual dragon boat festival. The weather brought out cheering crowds to urge on the 1800 competitors and 72 teams from around the country for the 1st day of the event. Wellington City Council's WCC Conquerors took the gold in the corporate grand championship final, and Masterton's JNL team took honours in the open section.
The Wellington Festival did not have a breast cancer division, so survivor teams competed against mixed teams (guys and gals) in the Open Social section. Busting With Life brought home the bronze medal in this category, the top finishing position for breast cancer teams all day, and the team's first medal in an Open Social Grand Final. And - they did so while being short 2 paddlers. Quite an accomplishment for this determined lot of ladies and their coach Sean Ogden.
... Bring on the National Championships !!!
Super 12: 1 March 2008Another success for Busting With Life - winning the breast cancer final in the 2nd annual Tauranga Super 12. Not even the blustery weather and strong currents could deter our ladies as they left even mixed teams (guys and gals) in their wake. The team celebrated in fine style at the post regatta medal ceremony with the odd glass of bubbly and wine, followed by a team dinner.
Tiger Beer Dragon Boat Festival - 16th February 2008
Held in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour, the festival was brought forward this year to coincide with the Chinese New Year. The timing provided a reminder to all of the sport's long history and roots.
Congratulations to Busting Wth Life for winning the Breast Cancer Grand Final, Hamilton City Watersports for knocking KPC off their crown as Open Grand Final Champions, and the Airforce…winners of the Corporate Grand Final and recipients of $28,000.00 towards airfares from Cathay Pacific to race at the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Festival in June later this year!
Breast Cancer Grand Final:
Gold - Busting With Life
Silver - Boobops
Bronze - Ascot Radiology Pink Dragons