Beach Fun Day Regatta - some thoughts!

Saturday was sunny and breezy for the 1.00pm start of the Milford beach fun regatta.

Short notice change of venue – large swells at Milford Beach too much risk of capsizing boats. Jude did a good job of alerting the team to the change and so off to the training ground at Westhaven Marina.

As the newbie in the team a little nervous at the thought of swells on the water and what the fun races would entail. The blue gazebo was spotted in prime position at the end of the pier. Balloons and festive cheer adorned the tent as we waited for the event to kick off.

Leslie worked hard on the team seating and then put herself in the team (a paddler short) with the awesome Evan as sweeper for the day. The wait for the first race was a little nerve wracking but then we were off, not the best of starts in the swell but could only improve from here!!

A debrief from Leslie and plan of attack then off for race two without too much waiting between. Second race much better and concentrated hard on timing and power.

The beach races team, ready to rock

Still one heat to go and then a final - not sure what the fun race was to be but needed to focus my energy to complete the set of four.  Third race feeling much more in the zone and great encouragement from all the team and the awesome Evan. Could really feel the team working together.

Lining up for the final race and what an effort, - first place wow! A great feeling to end the fun regatta and a well deserved celebration.

It was great to see and meet team family members and I was very humbled by Johnny and his generous gift of Bridgette’s paddle and other dragon boat items to the team.

First regatta completed and it really is great to be a part of this amazing team of women. Looking forward to the rest of the season.  

- Lorraine

Hamilton Regatta super 14's

Meet out super 14!

Azba, Ceedub, Debs, Di, Donna, Jeanette, Jude, Leslie, Libby, Linda, Marion, Robynne, Susan, Vicki

We had an early start - 5 am pickup in Henderson, (which (never ever) makes me question my commitment to the team) We made it to the bombays to pick up Donna and have a quick breakfast. The day was looking better after this for most of us, as we made our way to Hamilton.

I would not paddling today as I had among other things a sprained knee ligament so I was on photo duties.

For our newest team member,  Libby, it would be her first regatta and she had brought her husband and young family with her.

We were in the second race so there was not much time for relaxing.  There was a circle formed and the exercising began, along with many hilarious photos. A selection of the most embarrassing, will be released soon, unless payment is made to my offshore bank account....

The first race as always was a bit of a dress rehearsal but by the second race the girls were pumping along.

The conditions were mostly good maybe a little overcast to begin with but the sun came out in the afternoon and we were soon reaching for our hats

The wind came up a little too, and because the lanes closest to the bank were the shallowest, made it hard work paddling, apparently. There were three races and a semi final, followed by the BC final incorporating the flower ceremony which was as always very emotional.

Our hosts, The Waikato treasure chests, very kindly handed out goodie bags to all the BC teams. Thanks ladies, all that chocolate kept me going while I was looking after the towels back at the tent.

We packed up (in the dry for once!) and left around 3 o’clock and headed for home, stopping briefly to purchase lotto tickets - which at the time could have netted 38 million dollars. We made a pact, that if any of us won the 38 million, we would shout the whole team to go to Florence next year!

Next week maybe.....


The return to Tauranga...

BWL returned to Tauranga and participated in the TGA 10 Up Regatta Saturday 28 October at Lake Tauriko.  The team travelled down Friday night and awoke Saturday morning to an extremely wet day. 

Oh well, it’s a water sport so let just get on with it was the cry.  Luckily on arrival at the lake the rain had stopped and the base was duly established in the dry.   So in between the rain we raced in the heats and although no times were recorded the team did well as well as working on perfecting the new start plan.

The BC final was again hard fought and resulted in a third place but it was extremely close.  The flower ceremony was a moving tribute to our dear Bridget as we all remembered her and how we are all missing her.

Prize giving was held at the lake and in an effort to stay dry we marched the tent across the grass to be at the front row and luckily again the rain stopped as we packed down. 

We returned to the motel for a well-deserved shower/bath, changed into dry clothes and enjoyed an evening of socialising with drinks & nibbles at the motels and then hit Cobb & Co for a team dinner.  Sunday morning dawned wet again and we all headed back to Auckland as it was too wet to do anything else.

Although the weather was a dampener, it was great to be back in Tauranga and to enjoy a weekend together.

- Judy 

Tutukaka Coast Winter Festival Dragon Boat Regatta, Saturday 19 August 2017

Linda Ashton, always entertaining, reports from the fun event that was the Tutakaka Coast Winter Festival Dragon Boat Regatta...

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... 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!

NZ National Championships, Lake Hood, Ashburton - 19/20 March 2016

Linda Ashton (aka The Pink Panther) presents her first slice of life with BWL

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… 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…musictunes from alarms5.30am 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.