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2018 Practices started January 6th ... Come on out!

Jan 22, 2018

New Season, New Goals

What is Your Why?
With the new season here, it's the perfect time to think about why we paddle. Whether it's for fitness reasons, social reasons, or simply because we love the sport, everyone has their own reason for being out on the water. Whatever it may be, it's a good opportunity to attach a goal to your "why". The coaches have goals set for the team for each year, but it's also beneficial to have personal goals as well.

Space Dragons has always been a diverse team, and with that, there will always be different individual goals with our paddlers. Whether that goal is a faster time trial, cleaner technique, or even simply feeling healthier and more active at the end of the day, remember that the coaches and team are always here to support that goal. It's always easier to have your friends and family backing you up 100% when it comes to approaching these challenges, so feel free to write out your goals or share them with teammates!

No automatic alt text available.Time TrialsTime trials have always been a great resource to test yourself throughout the course of the season. It's a great opportunity to see how you can move a boat on your own, as well as get some individual coaching and video feedback!

Here's the list of dates for this year's time trials! Remember that make up days aren't guaranteed so do your best to make it out to the primary dates!

Tempe: 2/25
Baby Long Beach: 3/31
Vancouver: 5/26
Big Long Beach: 6/30
Portland: 8/11

Oct 29, 2017

Moving Forward: 2018 Edition

Preseason Kickoff
First off, I just want to say amazing job this past 2017 season! Now that it's all done and you've had October to relax, we're starting back up this weekend! Great news for those of you itching to get back on the water, we'll be resuming practice November 4th.

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2018 Races
Tempe Dragon Boat Festival
Where: Tempe, Arizona
When: March 24-25
Tempe is our opening race of the season and definitely a fun way to start the year! It's usually pretty warm and dry, and we'll be able to race teams from all along the west coast.

Long Beach Spring Race
Where: Long Beach, California
When: April 22
Also known as "Baby Long Beach", this local race  is great for newbies and vets alike.  It's a low commitment race since it's right here at home and one day only!

Image may contain: 1 personConcord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival
Where: Vancouver, Canada
When: June 22-24
The big race of the year! It's the perfect opportunity to race against high level international teams and try to qualify for the 100m knockout races and the famous Guts and Glory race! It's been about 6-7 years since we've gone, so it'll be a fresh new experience for most of the team!

Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival
Where: Long Beach, California
When: July 28-29
Biggest race on our home turf! A larger version of Baby LB with teams from all around. Another great chance for newbies and vets alike to race at home.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky, outdoor and naturePortland Dragon Boat Festival
Where: Portland, Oregon
When: September 8-9
This one is a relatively new race for us, since we've only gone once. However it has a beautiful venue and pretty competitive since we get to race against strong teams from all around the west coast.

One Step at a Time
With our goals of the Guts and Glory and Knockout races at Vancouver, practice is going to play a big part of reaching it. It's a gradual process that we'll take one step at a time. Let's take every opportunity to make that push and start off strong at preseason!

Sep 21, 2017

2017 Regular Practices are complete as of Wed Sep 20th

Enjoy your break =)

Off/Pre Season to start up in November!!! Practice poll will be updated accordingly

Feb 21, 2017

Unsung Heroes of Dragon Boat

Whether you're new or a vet, you may or may not have noticed that some paddlers have taken on an additional responsibility to paddling. We wouldn't be able to run any practices without them. Who could I be talking about? Your steerspeople of course! These are paddlers that have taken it upon themselves to learn how to steer, go through the certification process, and even give up paddling time to help the team run practices. Without them, we wouldn't be able to get anywhere!

Now you may be thinking that you're focusing on paddling, so you don't want to steer, but it's a good skill to have as a paddler! Not only are you helping out the team, you're learning more about the sport in general and are able to see practices from a new perspective. You're also getting a chance to help bring up our team since we'll be able to cycle through our steers and give them some much needed paddle time as well. As a family, we all want what's best for each other, and opening up more opportunities for everyone to paddle is a great way to achieve that!

Over the past couple of seasons, we've seen certain people steering every single practice, and it's a big sacrifice for them to come out to paddle and be forced to steer since no one else is certified. We have a fairly large team, and it's important that we don't let the same people give up their paddle time over and over again. That being said, we're trying our best to make sure that one person doesn't steer the entire practice (unless it's due to an injury and they offer).

So whether you're new to the sport, or have been paddling for years, let's try to spread the responsibility of steering so it doesn't fall onto the same 2-3 sets of shoulders, and bring everyone up together as a family!

Feb 6, 2017

Space Dragons 2017 Red/Blue/White Selection Criteria

Below is the 2017 Red/Blue/White Selection Criteria.  It's very similar to years past, but please review it and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions!

How do the coaches determine who paddles on which boat? It's no black magic. The coaches make the decisions balancing what we believe is best for each individual as well as what we believe is best for Space Dragons as a whole.  The tricky part is that not everyone agrees on where that balance lies and what is "best for Space Dragons," not even all the coaches.  It is impossible to make everyone happy, but with seven coaches bringing different perspectives, we hope to get as close as possible.  The following set of criteria is used in the decision making process:

1. Practice Attendance - Quantity and Quality

Coming to practice makes you a better paddler. Only at practice do you get the opportunity to sit in a dragon boat and get coaching on your technique.  You work on starts, finishes, pacing, timing, blending, paddling-specific conditioning. How do you become a more effective paddler? Paddle more! BUT, just showing up isn't enough. In order to become a better paddler, you need to take advantage of the time on the boat by staying focused and determined, and by seeing every single stroke as an opportunity to make our team better.

2. OC-2 Water Testing

The OC-2 time trials are the easiest way for both you and the coaches to measure your individual contribution in getting the dragon boat past the finish line. Even in a dragon boat race, each paddler pulls some dead weight (the weight of the boat, plus the caller and steersperson). Similarly, in an OC-2 each paddler pulls the boat weight plus a coach who is steering. Water testing isn't everything - it doesn't show how well your technique blends with the rest of the paddlers, and it doesn't show how good your timing is, both of which are essential to being a good dragon boat paddler. What it does show is your fitness level, strength and how effectively you connect with the water to propel a boat forward.  How do we use this data?  Refer to the FAQ.  If you cannot make it to either the primary or make-up test dates with an excuse cleared with the coaches, your previous test time from the same season can be used.  People tend to get faster as the season goes on, so it's in your best interest to test before every tournament.  OC-2 testing is required to be considered for Red and strongly encouraged for Open.

3. Land Drill / Core Workout Attendance - Quantity and Quality
Dragon boat races are athletic competitions, so physical fitness and strength play an important role in how quickly we cross the finish line. Participating in the land drills and core workouts designed by Devant helps build that foundation. Again, just showing up isn't enough. You need to push yourself in order to make yourself (and the team) stronger.  The work you put in here will be visible in the quality of your practices (stay stronger for longer) as well as your OC-2 time trial.

4. Coaches Discretion

There are many unquantifiable qualities that make a good dragon boat paddler, things like timing, experience, technique, focus and a team-oriented, positive attitude. These are some of the things that the coaches watch out for when we stand at the bow during practice. A boat of the twenty "strongest" paddlers is not our fastest crew if they can't work together and motivate each other.  If any one of these traits is missing, that can be a deal breaker!  So be sure to pay attention to these unquantifiable details when working toward being a better paddler.

As always, if you have any questions about the selection criteria, any of the decisions that are made, or what you personally can do to make yourself a better paddler, don't hesitate to ask! We want each and every one of you to finish off this season with NO REGRETS!

Jan 27, 2017

Rain Protocol

Just a reminder that our rain protocol is to check the blog and Spacebook for practice cancelation notifications.  If there is no notice canceling practice by 11pm the night before, then practice is on!

On that note and as a matter of public health safety, practice for tomorrow (January 28th, 2017) is cancelled due to beach closures resulting from a number of recent sewage spills. There is a significant risk to health in having contact with the water and so it should be avoided until further notice. Officials will wait for the results of a second test from Wednesday before they decide to reopen beaches, so stay tuned for a Sunday practice update!

For more information, you can check the CONSUMER PROTECTION PROGRAM RECREATIONAL WATER MONITORING page here.

Until then, enjoy your time off the water with a snooze, a hearty dim sum breakfast, or sweat it out with a solid gym session (or all-of-the-above!). However you decide to spend your time make sure it's well spent with some important suggestions--pass along some best wishes, enjoy your family time, and have a happy, safe Lunar New Year!

Jan 20, 2017

Starting up 2017! (Part 2)

Goals and  Training

With the season really starting to ramp up, now is a good time to start thinking about your goals for the year. Having one or more goals helps give a little more purpose to each practice, and also creates a positive mindset throughout the year. Creating goals and meeting them is always rewarding, and our job as a coaching staff is to help you achieve those goals.

Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, people standing, sky, outdoor and natureAs you think of your goals for the year, remember that we're not only here to help you with your paddling goals. Space has always been a supportive family and we will do everything we can to help you with your non paddling goals as well, whether it's training for spartan races, triathlons, or even just living a healthier lifestyle. Remember, working towards your goal is always easier with a support group, and Space is just about one of the best support groups out there. Don't be afraid to talk to us about what you want to achieve, and we'll do our best to help you get there!

As for paddling, there will always be so many different goals that individuals can focus on, whether it's getting a smoother/faster time trial, improving technique, or even just being able to get through practice a little better than the last time. For us coaches, one of our goals is to always promote healthy improvement, not just at an individual level, but especially at a team level. So even as we focus on our own individual training and goals, it's important to remember that we do this as a team. We strive to have that "team first" mentality because that's what helps us strive and push ourselves to our goals. That team perspective is what makes Space such an amazing team. Everyone does what they can to help out. We're lucky to be in an environment that is so supportive and everyone wants the best for everyone. Sure there can be some friendly competition and individual training, but at the end of the day it's all about how we can bring each other up as a team. So just remember, whatever boat you paddle on, the important part is that we're part of the same team. Boat color is irrelevant because we're all one family.

Always going hand in hand with creating goals is, of course, training for them! Once you've come up with your own goals, sometimes it's hard to think about how to proceed from there. However, that's exactly why having this huge support group of Space Dragons comes in handy. There are so many different people on the team that are willing to help you reach or even exceed your goals!

Image may contain: one or more people, sky, outdoor and waterOur practices always have a specific purpose to help you train for races, but we also have resources to help you off the water as well! This includes the land/core training after practices, and soon to be starting up SDWW's! Working out together makes training a lot more enjoyable, so don't be afraid to ask if anyone wants to train with you. Like I said before, it's a big part of who we are as a family. Starting up working out might seem pretty daunting, especially if you try it alone. The team is spread out in so many areas, that there's bound to be someone in your area that will work out with you!

Time Trials
As many of you know, time trials are a great way to measure yourself throughout the year, and a good way to learn more about yourself and how you paddle. It's also part of how we get you prepared for race day, but more on that later.

For those of you that have been asking and waiting for it, here are the current dates for the time trials! Once our mid and end of year races are determined, we'll come out with the dates for those time trials.

Tempe: February 26
Baby LB: April 2
Mid Year: TBD
Big LB: July 2
End of Year: TBD

The first race of the year is coming up quick, which means the first time trial is coming up even quicker! So remember to start thinking about your goals and how you want to change throughout the season!

Jan 13, 2017

Starting up 2017! (Part 1)

Welcome to the 2017 Season!
The 2017 season has officially begun this past weekend! I hope you all had a restful off season because we’re going to start off this season strong. We’re starting up our post practice land workouts on Saturdays and Sundays so don’t forget to bring your water and yoga mats! Special boat is scheduled to start up once again in March.
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2017 Racing Schedule
We are currently planning to go to six tournaments this year, and the schedule will be posted below. Our mid year race hasn’t been finalized yet, but it’s been narrowed down to two options. Same with our last race of the year, so stay tuned!  

Where: Tempe, Arizona
When: March 25-26
With the exception of last year, Tempe has been our season opening race for the last 10 years. The weather is usually warm and dry, and we'll be able to race teams from all along the West Coast! It's a fun tournament featuring Mixed, Open, Women's, and Masters division races. Now that Tempe has been moved back to its original schedule, we're looking forward to having it as our first race of the year again.
Bonus: Rebel BBQ (delicious food stop halfway to Tempe)

Where: Long Beach, California
When: April 23
Also known as "Baby Long Beach", this is a local race open to the year-round teams as well as college teams around California. It's a one-day tournament at Marine Stadium featuring Mixed races only, but also has a 200m knockout tournament in the afternoon. It's a great race for newbies and vets alike, as the race is low commitment because it's here at home and only one day!

Mid-Year Race, more to come, but possible options are: 
Nevada International Dragon Boat Festival (May 20-21 in Las Vegas, Nevada)
Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival (June 23-25 in Vancouver, Canada)

Where: Long Beach, California
When: July 29-30
This is our big local race where teams fly in from around the country (plus usually one or two teams from China).  It's a big two day tournament with lots of divisions, including High School and Corporate.  For any vets looking on to help spread the joy of paddling, there are always opportunities to help coach and/or steer for these "festival teams" leading up to the tournament (inquire with the captains & coaches).  There are vendor booths and a performance stage, and (usually) beautiful beach weather!

Where: Busan, Korea
When: TBD
For our big travel race for the year, we're looking to go to Korea! This will be a first time for Space Dragons as we go to Korea to compete internationally. We'll be testing out new waters here, so it should definitely be an exciting experience.

End of Year Race, potential options:
Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival (September 23-24 in Lake Merritt, Oakland)
San Diego International Dragon Boat Race (September 30 - October 1 in San Diego, California)

With these six races, it should be a fun and full season! Coming up next, goals and training