Reaping the rewards of fitness - Nationals, Lake Hood, March 23rd & 24th 2018

Lake Hood, 2018 will be remembered as our first year in recent times to get medals at the Nationals. With increased fitness, not only did we win three bronzes, we also did Personal Bests in all our finals, including cracking the one minute barrier with a time of 59.68 seconds in the 200 metres. The graciousness of Boobops when we beat them in the 500 metres final will also be remembered.

Although cold, the weather held out with good conditions on the water. Our lovely new lined jackets came in very handy over our thick fleeces, keeping us warm between events and during prizegivings. It was great to have those prizegivings at the end of each event, rather than all at once at the end.

Once again, the BCS dinner was a highlight. Mixing with other teams’ members at tables meant the camaraderie within our own team extended to our BCS sisters in other teams when we met them the next day. Gemma McCaw was a riveting speaker as she described not only her connection to breast cancer through her nan, but told us personal stories and lessons learnt as a top sportswoman. We are still wondering whether it is true that when we think we are giving it our all, it is only 40%!

As always, the success on the water is matched equally by the enjoyment of being away together as a team. To share our goals, our successes, our disappointments, our accommodation, our transport, our meals, our fun times and our lives with each other, is treasured by us all.

I want to give a big thank you to Leslie, our coach, and to Judy and the committee for all their hard work. The rest of us just had to paddle; they gave so much of their time to ensure everything was ready and set up for us to succeed. Thanks too to our family members for their support and to the four paddlers from other teams who joined Busting for this event. They were a great addition.

This was the last year we would be at Lake Hood, but not the last one to win medals at Nationals events!   

- Helen McKessar

Endless high fives and three bronze medals - Auckland Regionals March 17th 2018

What will I remember about my first Regionals? When I think back to St Patricks Day 2018 instead of shamrocks and Guinesss,  I immediately see endless high fives, medals(!) and the 2000m race.

I knew as a team that Busting were into our high fives which I love. Race after race (seven of them for us!) other teams lined up to high five us and we them - breast cancer survivor, engineering firms, everyone! The comradery shown in dragon boating has made a real impression on me and it was evident at this competition. I was really pleased my children were there to see that the teams were incredibly competitive but also supportive.

Three bronze medals were a fantastic reward for the hard work Busting has done in the last few months. The bronzes in all three races were great but the 200m race stands out as it was so incredibly close, a good reflection of the work Busting has done. One second between 1st and 3rd! Incredibly frustrating and satisfying all at the same time!

The last impression I will keep of Regionals is the 2000m race, my first one. Wow. This race is definitely a challenge for me, both physically and mentally.  I survived it and was pretty impressed with myself I have to say. Many conversations were going on in my head, interrupted by telling myself to breathe!. There was definitely a real sense of accomplishment in knowing I did not give up.  What a day!

- Libby

Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta

Auckland turned on good weather for the Anniversary Day Regatta and the Viaduct is a magnet for people to watch the events happening here and on the harbour. The early crew had secured a great spot for our base for the day, with much needed shade. 

Our first race wasn’t great but the following two with a better pace saw us get together as a team. It was good to have John Papalli from Greyman’s Gym who has been giving us additional support in our fitness and getting more power in our stroke observing from the side. 

I was a spectator for the Woman’s final which turned out to be a nail biter. Busting with Life got a good start and had the lead in the initial part of the race. However towards the end of the race saw youth overtake us with only 17/100 of a second between first and third. We were third in this final. 

Our take home from the day is to be responsible for our own fitness as we head to Regionals and Nationals. 

- Jeanette

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!