Ready … Attention … Go!

First blog posts are the worst … I always feel like they’re so awkward and impersonal, and you never really get to say what you want to say in your blog post anyway.

So I’ll jump in right away!

Most of you will know my name and my story by now, but for those of you who don’t, I’m Rach, and this is where I’m going to document my adventures as I try out to be one of the drummers for the Australian dragonboat team, The Auroras, that will travel to China next year to compete in the 13th World Dragonboat Championships.

I had the honour of representing Australia last year where we competed in Welland, in Canada and we came home with two bronze medals, and seeing those two medals hanging on my wall at home brings me the greatest feeling of joy in the world. Unfortunately, for me, I can’t be a full time athlete in this sport. If I could, I’m pretty sure my life, and the life of at least 200 other people, would be complete. This sport is just one that has changed my life and taken me to places that I would never have considered going to. It’s made me grow and meet new people and I’m stoked that I get to share part of my adventure with you guys. If you want to read it, and watch it, that is!

I’ll be writing and vlogging about my trials, whether I make the team or not. I’m hoping I do because goodness me … I think about trials and I get a massive bubble of excitement in my chest. And I’m impatient. I want the trials to be now. I want selection camps to be now. I want to find out if I’m on the team now. But good things take time, and good things come to those who wait and work for what they want, and all these things start now.

There are a lot of questions I get asked about being on the Australian team and dragonboating in general …

What is dragonboating?
I’m still trying to find an easy way to explain this. It’s a water sport similar to rowing, but we paddle forwards, and on one side only … and with 21 other people … and with a drum … Ok, so not really similar. See what I mean? It’s rad. That’s what it is. This is why Tim and I have a YouTube channel!

Do you get paid to be on the Australian team?
Ohhhh, that’d be nice! No, I pay for it completely out of my own pocket. I’m poor, but I’m happy.

Is Dragonboating in the Olympics?
Again, no. But it should be, because it is intense. Do yourself a favour and google the Chinese men dragonboat team paddling 200m. They’re like a machine. It’s terrifying and impressive to watch. THEY get paid though

Has anyone ever died doing this sport?
Yes, sadly. But they died doing something they loved right? We tend to focus on happier things.

Has anyone ever crashed a boat?
All the time. That’s what makes 2km races super fun! It wouldn’t be a water sport without some collisions and some capsizes right? But before you panic, we wear life vests in Victoria. Safety first, kids!

Why do you do it?
Everyone needs a hobby and a passion in life. This is mine. My family has grown up around the water. My folks, my grandparents, my mother’s siblings and my cousins all sailed on yachts, so being on the water is in my blood. There’s nothing like feeling the wind in your hair and the adrenaline pumping through your veins when you see another boat behind you in a 2km turn race. I love it. I love it.

It’s a sport that I’m deeply passionate about, and indeed anyone in the dragonboat community is. Like gymnastics, dragonboating isn’t the most glamorous sport, so you really do tend to form close bonds with people when you’re either dressed in snow gear or clad in lycra, dripping wet and with blisters on your hands or on your bum. I wouldn’t trade a second of it for anything. There have been some hard times, some bitterly disappointing times, but the good times far outweigh the bad. And that’s why I put myself through these trials, and why I go to nationals. Because you can’t put a price on happiness and friendship.

I hope you’ll stick around for the adventure!

Rach xx

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