‘Paddlers are you ready? Attention. Go!”
73 strokes, 200 meters, and 50 seconds later we were done. It all happened so fast there wasn’t any time to think. There was just barely enough time to catch a couple of breaths. CDBA Sprints was my first West Coast dragon boat race and first with SF Dragon Warriors. And it was a blast.
The day started at 4:30am and I only got a few hours to “nap.” We arrived at Seaplane Lagoon in Alameda promptly at 5:30 to set up the race site and load the boats into the water. The sun didn’t even rise yet and it was so cold and windy – 53 degrees! As the sun came up, other sleepy paddlers trickled to the race site to set up their tents and the atmosphere began to get livelier.
CDBA Sprints is only 200m and there were Mixed, Open, Women, and Masters divisions. I was on DW Black and DW Open, competing with other top teams in the Bay Area. As we progressed from the seeding round to semi-finals to finals, we saw the competition get tougher and tougher and had to step up our game every round. It was great though because the closer the race, the more exciting it is.
At the end of the day, the winners were announced at the awards ceremony. DW Black placed 2nd overall and DW Open placed 4th in the Open Division. The finals were all super tight and all the boats crossed the finish line within a second of each other.
After a long day of racing, it’s a must to stuff our faces with food. We had Korean BBQ for dinner at Gogi Time and ate back everything we exerted during the day, plus some more.
Although we fell a little short, it was still a great experience for me and I walked away with new learnings. I got a sense of the competition and how DW rank amongst other teams. It’s a very different situation compared to DC Dragons last season where we built a team that people thought were weak contenders to placing top 3 in our last few races. But regardless of where we rank and how hard we work, this is a reminder that there’s always room to improve and be better. Because even if we’re leading the pack, the next team is only less than a second behind.
I’m so grateful for SF Dragon Warriors, the coaches, and everyone being so welcoming to me as a new member on the team. And feel even more honored to be able to paddle on DW Black and Open. It was a great race for me and I’m looking forward to racing at Long Beach in 3 weeks!