Open day: a stroke of genius

Last Sunday Komodo held its annual open day, where we invite a whole bunch of super fun and enthusiastic rookies to come out for a paddle and see what dragonboating is all about.

The weather probably could have been better – it was windy, grey and cold and I …. well, let’s just say I was under the weather and it was self inflicted.

Still! I turned up and I figured that i would just chill out in the back of the boat so I could be there and participate but go at my own pace.

And then it happened. I was nominated to stroke. Awwww yiss. Dream come true to stroke a full boat! So I thought I’d give it a crack and honestly I had a blast!

For starters it is a different feeling paddling in seat 1 LOOKING at the drum and hearing it bang, as opposed to being perched at the front banging the drum. I realised how much I really need that support from the drummer and the feedback and the role that the drummer plays in the grand scheme of things.

So I jumped in seat one with my amazing bench buddy, Kerrie, and she was absolutely amazing. She was our lead stroke and she was so amazing to follow – I did my best to mimic her stroke and to execute the technique points she was giving me as feedback.

When we stopped for a break, Thea asked me if I’d ever stroked before. “Never” I replied and she yelled across to the other boat to tell chicki that I was a good stroke. I was getting  the length for sure. But I still have a lot to work on…. such as not flailing in high speed scenarios and drenching the person behind me (I am SO sorry Deb!).


That’s me on the front left hand side of the boat on the right. Dying. Casually.


Pics or it didn’t happen right?! There I am again!

we did some drills and some long paddles to demonstrate what the paddling life and training sessions were all about. Chicki with her megaphone yelled at me “get the sit up Rach!” So I sit up … then through the megaphone “fuck yes that’s it’s!” – so that’s something else to work on clearly hehe!

Such an amazing experience! We finished off with a couple of races once we got across the choppy bay – that was an adventure too! The boat was rocking around and we were getting drenched from the waves coming over the nose of the boat. My first instinct was to stop paddling and panic but that’s not really something you can do when you’re seat one – you’re like the captain….if anything happens you go down with the ship! (But you save your drummer!). So that happened … but we survived!


What a fun day! I hope we get some people to come back and join us on the water.

Coming up next is our 500m regatta being held this Saturday, followed by a double training session on the Sunday. I did my first session on the erg on Tuesday night which killed me, but I’m keen to see where I’ll end up in the boat during the regatta on Saturday. I would be stoked to end up in seat 2/3 again but we will have to see what happens.

I don’t expect to stroke at regattas because we have 2 auroras paddlers who are absolute diamonds in seat 1. I was watching them paddle yesterday morning and was like “I have so much to learn…”

my goal is to have my old coach from Melbourne see me paddle at nationals next year … hopefully towards the front of the boat!

anyway, until next time … paddles up!



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