Just in case you’re scratching your head, feeling your sore obliques and lats, and wondering why we do this, allow me to refresh your memory (or introduce you, if you’re new to dragon boat racing) with Habu Sake’s third heat (the semi-finals!) in Victoria, BC, 2013.
The race itself starts around 12:45, although I also got something out of watching the whole buildup: loading the boat, pushing away, the waiting, the practice start, and lining up. I had forgotten how intensely focused we are in a race, and not just during the race itself. We get our game faces on as soon as we push off from the dock and we maintain that focus all the way through the race. That ain’t easy! Sure, we have fun and horse around and mess with bagpipers and eat and drink (a lot) the other 23 hours and 50 minutes a day, but when we’re paddling out to the start line, GAME ON!
I had also forgotten how dominant we are in this race. If you watch closely, you can actually see our boat surge forward on each stroke. How on earth did we do that? What makes us so badass?
Look at the top arms, from bench one through bench ten, and the way they’re all in sync. That’s timing! You can see everyone driving their blades into the water with intensity. You can see the leads pushing the boat toward the finish line with their leg drive, and you know everyone else is doing it, too. That’s power! And finally, you can see the focus in the boat. No one is looking around, wondering what’s going on. Everyone is focused in, listening for commands, and watching their leads.
The end result of all that timing, power, and focus: you can see Habu cross the finish line, way ahead of the boats around us.
So, anytime you’re looking for inspiration, check this out:
We’ve got lots more amazing races to come. Let’s take what we achieved last season and build on it for an even better 2014! Paddles up!