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Jul 30, 2008

Weekend of Many Firsts

Ah, another successful tournament! So much work was put into this and seeing the fruits of your labor is simply gratifying! As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words -- look at those fierce game faces, the tears of joy (you know whose), the matching funny hats, etc. All of these said we’ve accomplished what we want going into this tournament -- paddle hard and have a good time.

There were so many firsts at this tournament – first time Long Beach hosted the USDBF US Nationals races; first time we entered 3 mixed teams; first time our mixed team was placed in Division 1, racing with the big boys and becoming one of the big boys; the first time our gender team medaled under our own flag.

Highlights from the weekend:
  • Our very own Emily Chi won 2nd place in the US Nationals Premier Women division
  • Our very own Sammi Matsunami and Felicia Chanco (partial Matsunami tribe) won 1st place in the US Nationals Jr Women division
  • SD Red won 4th place in mixed division 1A (Grand Championship), that means 4th overall out of 71 mixed teams!
  • SD Men won 1st place in Open division group B
  • SD Blue placed in mixed division 3A
  • SD White placed in mixed division 4B
  • SD Women placed in Women division group B
  • SD Masters placed in Masters division group A
  • Human Poker 1st place winners: Felicia (SD), Jim (SD), Kristine (RE), Roselyn (RE), Pat (RE); Royal Flush in Spades

Look at all those accomplishments! No matter what boat one were on, one cannot help but be proud to be a Space Dragon, because after all, when the announcer calls, he/she didn’t say Space Dragons Red, or Space Dragons Blue, or Space Dragons White, or… you get the drift. He/she calls “Space Dragons.” That is who we were, ONE Space Dragons team. We all trained so hard together so we are all very proud of everyone’s accomplishments. Many thanks go out to every single person who helped make this weekend one memorable one -- the staff who took care of the logistics; the many contributors of equipments and yummy & healthy snacks; the individual paddlers who paddled their hearts out; the friends and family who cheered on the team, yelling at the top of their lungs; the callers and steerers who got the boat from the starting dock through the finish line. Without every one of you, this tournament would not have been the same.

Of course, thanks also go out to the Matsunami tribe. We heart the POSERS! Congrats to the POSERS for winning 1st place in the Jr. High division.

Much SD love to our Ripple sisters and brothers! Especially Justin for hooking us up with his Mission High paddlers Carlos, Daniel, Kim, who paddled with our SD Blue and SD White boats when we were short male paddlers (I know I'm missing someone, dang the memory's escaping me).

The weekend concluded with our traditional Circle of Love at our super-secret location. Ripples Kristine, Roselyn, Jane, Kurt and Anna joined the Space Dragons in this festive tradition of celebration, bonding and relaxation with tasty wobbly-pops! Thanks to our tireless sponsor chair, Brian, we got 4 free cases of Kona, yummmmm. Apparently some were more adventurous than others. Devant busted out the slack line across the sand and many took their turn on the rope, some had more success than others. As was the case last year, the CoL lasted till we were kicked out of the beach! Ah, good times.

So Space Dragons, the bar has once again been raised, get ready for more crate pulling, more race set after race set after race set, more land workouts, because there is high expectation now!

P.S. guess what Joe's super-secret dream for the team is -- Red, Blue and White in Div 1A final and having photo-finish of 1st, 2nd, 3rd places! Oh imagine the tears that will flood his face!

Stay tuned for more photos & videos.

- P