Now for the 2nd installment of Space Dragons 2013 - the Tournament Schedule.
So our typical tournament schedule looks like this:
Apr/May: Baby Long Beach
July: Big Long Beach
September: Treasure Island
This year, it looks like:
March 23-24: Tempe
April 28: Baby Long Beach
June 22-23: Alcan in Vancouver (25th Anniversary)
July 27-28: Big Long Beach (Same time as IDBF Dragon Boat World Championships in Hungary)
August 10-11: PDBA Club Crew Qualifier in Oakland
September 14-15: Treasure Island
So what does that mean? Lots of racing!! And lots of traveling, so save up! What we'd like is to bring 2 mixed crews to Tempe, 3 mixed crews to Baby LB, 2 mixed crews to Alcan, 3 mixed crews to Big LB, 2 mixed crews to Oakland and 3 mixed crews to Treasure Island.
Why does it matter that we bring so many people to each tournament? In general, we always want to bring at least two mixed crews so we can field our own Space Dragons OPEN and WOMENS crews. We've been working hard on our gender boats over the last few years, and we're seeing the results. We work hard because we want to race with our fellow Space Dragons teammates, and it's just not the same without 22 blue jerseys on the boat. Our team is composed of a wide range of paddlers, from those who earn the Golden Paddles by skipping just a handful of practices over the entire season, to those who come out only a few weeks before each tournament. Whichever category you fall into, there's a seat on race day for you. (Only we do ask that you come to at least a few practices before the race, for the sake of your teammates!)
Also, every tournament we pick has its purpose, and the more people who participate, the better (and the more fun we'll all have!). Our usuals are Tempe, the Long Beach races and Treasure Island. Tempe has a beautiful venue, and since it's a smaller tournament, it's a great opportunity for everyone to get back in the swing of racing. Baby LB is our chance to get a feel for 18-person boats, and it's an opportunity for our Friends and Family paddlers to get a taste of racing without the hassle of travel plans or taking up a full weekend. Big LB is our big home race, so we want everyone to participate. I mean, why not, right? It's a beautiful day on the beach, with Ripple and Dnauts by our side. Add on the zombie-dunkings to end the weekend, and it promises to be a good time. Finally, TI... a favorite tournament for many of our paddlers. The tournament itself is competitive and amazingly well run, and it's our opportunity to show what we can do with nine months of hard work. And don't forget to sharpen your dancing skills too. :P
For those of you who have been to Alcan, you have seen the amazingness that is the biggest festival on the West Coast of North America. Canadian teams are no joke - you're racing against some of the top dragon boat paddlers in the WORLD, and there's Guts and Glory opportunities for both Mixed and Womens. So we're pushing hard this year with Alcan as a target, to see how we stack up against some of the best of the best, and I can't stress enough how much we need two full crews to do it. Does this mean that this tournament is all business? By all means NO! The festival is huge, Vancouver as a city has a lot to offer (Stanley Park, Granville Island, and much more), and the beer garden (19+) at the end gives lots of opportunities to make new friends while everyone's a little socially lubricated. :) Many of us arrive in the city a day early and stay a few days later. And for anyone interested, some of us are going on a cruise to Alaska the week after.
Finally, we have a new race this year - the Oakland Dragon Boat Festival + PDBA (Pacific Dragon Boat Association) Club Crew Qualifiers. This is uncharted territory for us, and we'd love for everyone who can make it to join us. The winners of this tournament (Mixed, Open, Womens, Masters) earn the privilege to race at the *IDBF Club Crew World Championships in Italy in 2014. Wouldn't it be great to see Space Dragons representation in each of those categories at the Qualifiers? There are four bids from the USA, each from a different region of the country: Pacific, American (i.e. Midwest), Eastern Regional and Southeastern Regional, and we're shooting for the Pacific one. This will NOT be a walk in the park, and those who want to be a part of it need to be at the top of their game. We're going to have to EARN IT, so be prepared to work!
Which will lead us to Part 3: Practice... we talkin' bout practice! (coming soon)
*The Club Crew World Championships is different than the World Championship race that is taking place in Hungary this year. In the IDBF (International Dragon Boat Federation) World Championships, countries are able to pull together a crew comprised of paddlers from around the country to form a National team (e.g. USA vs Canada). In the IDBF Club Crew World Championships, the best clubs from each country race against each other (e.g. Space Dragons vs. False Creek).