OTTAWA DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
It's never too late to try something new.
This past June I was invited to attend the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and promote Outrigger paddling and Ozone's line of product at the event. This was my first time at a Dragon Boat event and I've been very curious over the years to see and personally
witness what it's all about. I have met many Dragon boat paddlers thru the years with the many camps and clinics we have done in Hawaii and around the US, so I was truly excited to experience the sport first hand. I figured this will also give me a great perspective of the sport and help me relate to their style of paddling when trying to compare the outrigger technique with theirs. Something I find and have learned is very important.
Ozone sent a container of canoes, including several OC-6 for us to showcase there at the event all week. We began with clinics on Thursday and Friday that ran every 2 hours. The size of the groups varied, but we were able to accommodate all the paddlers with canoes and if requested we would cut the OC-1 part short and jump into the OC-6. At the end of the day it was about trying new things and promoting our sport of paddling. I was stoked to see people trying OC-6 and OC-1 for the first time and really enjoying themselves.
Trevor Woodside of Coldwater Canoe and Don Irvine from Hana Hou Paddle Sports have put this idea to use in the past down in Florida and they wanted to bring it to the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival to see if they can gain more interest in eastern Canada. Before this trip I didn't know Trevor and just knew he was our Ottawa rep and a close friend of Don's so I didn't know what to expect when leaving Hawaii. Boy, I was in for a surprise! Trevor and his Family opened their doors to us and had us stay with them in their beautiful home. Naim Ferguson and I were treated like family right off the get go by Trevor's wonderful Wife, Michelle, and his two Sons, Sawyer and Avery. We had a great time just learning about them and spending each night at the dinner table chatting about experiences in life and joking around. Priceless experience these days. By the end of the trip I really felt as if I were hanging out with my Auntie and Uncle because there was such a great family dynamic under their roof. Looking forward to more experiences with the Woodside Family in the future.
As for the Dragon Boating experience..., It was actually a lot of fun for me. I had the opportunity to paddle with the Ottawa Fire Department and we won our three races that day and put some nice trophies on the shelf for the Fire Department. Actually
being able to race in a Dragon Boat gave me great perspective of why a lot of Dragon Boaters paddle the way they do. It's a whole different ball game with how tight your seating is in these Boats. The paddles are a lot different too, with slender deeper blades it seemed it was easier to keep up with pace especially being stuck to just paddling on one side thru the whole course. The best part about it though was the team experience, with twenty paddlers on one team it's on heck of a team. Would I do it again?, yes I would.
Thank you to the Woodside Family for the great experience and wonderful hospitality, Outrigger Zone for giving me the opportunity to see this experience, all the Paddlers who stopped by to chat and those that got out on the water with us, and thank you to the Ottawa Fire Department for allowing me to jump in and race with you all and share the experience.