The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese festival. Also called Tuen Ng Jit (端午節) in Cantonese, it was celebrated by the Chinese people by doing dragon boat racing which they believed would help in warding off evil spirits and keeping diseases and drought at bay. This year, the Dragon Boat Festival falls n this Friday the 3rd of June.
Dragon boat racing and rice dumpling or Joong making, are important aspects of this festival.
This year, we speak to the American Women's Association (AWA) Globe Paddlers team, to understand more about the Dragon Boating sport.
Dragon Boat Festival is a public holiday and especially on this day we have loads of Dragon Boats, colorful boats built as large war canoes, competing against each other. Now, Dragon boat racing has become a sport that people practice all over Asia. The dragon boat crew, which can be unisex or mixed, paddle alongside the drummer who is sitting in the middle of the boat and beats on a drum.
This year due to the pandemic, Dragon Boating festivities have been scaled down and some races have been postponed. To celebrate this important festival this year, we speak to 3 members of the very active and dedicated Hong Kong Dragon Boating Team, the American Women's Association Globe Paddlers team, to understand more about the Dragon Boating sport.
Sarah Brundan, AWA Globe Paddler Co-Captain
Mandy Bell, AWA Globe Paddler Co-Captain
Tiffany Broeckelman, AWA Globe Paddler 6 Year Veteran
1) LocalHood: How do you keep up with paddling skills and muscles to be ready for the next season of dragon boat racing?
Sarah Brundan: I do a mixture of exercises and weights that focus on the same muscles that you use in dragon boat racing, also lots of cardio.
Mandy: During Covid, it was difficult to keep our team motivated and ready for paddling so we had to get creative...we do training along the pier, zoom workouts together and team challenges.
Tiffany: I hike, jump rope and do full-body strength training that works on those muscles needed to paddle, especially the core muscles to help improve overall power.
2) LocalHood: Are you part of a team and since how many YEARS have you been Dragon Boat racing?
Sarah: I’m part of AWA Globe Paddlers and also a local team Crazy Dragons, I’ve paddled for about 8 years now and also been one of the Globe Paddlers captains for 5 years.
Mandy: I have been on the AWA Globe Paddlers for two years and have had only a few races in that time. I became one of the team captains this past year.
Tiffany: I have had the pleasure of paddling with the incredibly diverse women on the AWA Globe Paddlers for the last 6 years although races have been few and far between in the last couple of years. As with the AWA club, we are a global group of women that represent over a dozen nationalities each season coming together to work towards a common goal of being the best we can be in a sport that was new to all of us when we arrived in Hong Kong!
3) LocalHood: What do you like best about Dragon Boat racing?
Sarah: I love working as a team, being part of a competitive team that gives 100% to every race.
Mandy: My favorite part of Dragon Boat racing is the thrill of the competition and the unity felt on the boat when we are all in sync.
Tiffany: I love that paddling has given me the opportunity to be a part of a team again as an adult and learn a sport that defines Hong Kong!! Being a part of a team was something I loved as a secondary and college student, so getting back to that again has been fun, rewarding and life changing.
4) LocalHood: According to you what are the attributes required for Dragon Boat racing?
Sarah: Team spirit is the most important part as everyone is equal in the boat and needs to work together to have great timing to move the boat.
Mandy: The best attributes for racing is the ability to stay calm and trust your team.
Tiffany: An open positive attitude, a willingness to learn and discipline to committing to giving 100% at all practices. These attributes help you grow, as well as, the team grown together.
5) LocalHood: Could you share your best memory of Dragon Boat racing with your team?
Sarah: My favourite memories of dragon boat racing are winning the Stanley short boat races for 4 years in a row and also being able to travel to South Korea with a team to race in international dragon boat races.
Mandy: My favorite memory has been the Stanley Sausage Race last summer. I felt we had worked really hard as a team and we stayed focus!!
Tiffany: My favorite memories are always on race day. My favorite was getting to race at the International Dragon Boat Regala in Hong Kong Harbour in 2018 which was an all weekend event with teams from all over the world. Unfortunately this race has had to be cancelled the last several years in Hong Kong.
Thank you to these AWA ladies!!
To end with, an important information: The team is competing Friday, June 3 at the Stanley Dragonboat Championship in the women's division.
Here's wishing them lots of luck 🤞🍀.
AWA Globe Paddlers is open to women from all nationalities. We will be recruiting members starting in August for the upcoming season and all are welcome to join. We practice on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in Stanley.
For more information, you can contact us directly at Dragonboat@awa.org.hk or WhatsApp Sarah at 66933517