Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tug of War - Dragon Boat Style

Don't let the dragon boat part fool you.
I know that some of my Venetian rowing friends view dragon boat racing
as a "simple sport". 
Admittedly, It is a bit more entry level.
If you can sit and paddle, then you can probably pull it off.
I'm guessing that many of my crew rowing friends have similar sentiments.
We've all seen these wide-body canoes jammed full of first-time-paddlers spastically splashing at the water in their corporate team-building events.
But not all who climb into dragon boats are soft-handed wimps who work in office cubicles under florescent lights.
There are lots of folks who choose dragon boating in favor of joining a gym or taking up Tae Kwon Do.  It's a very social activity.
If I hadn't stumbled my way into the gondola world,
I probably would have ended up dragon boating.
After all, I did get the canoeing merit badge in Boy Scouts.
And you all know how great it is to be out on the water.
It's no surprise that dragon boating has caught on with such fervor.
As with any sport, there are the hardcore athletes.
The guys in these videos remind me of some of the outrigger canoe racers we regularly see in Newport - blasting by like it's nothing.
Regular contests (in any type of boat racing) 
usually involve boats racing against each other,
or teams taking turn on the same boat in a time-trial format.
But these guys, well, they've come up with a whole new approach.
It's like a tug of war, but instead of pulling away from each other,
the two teams are pushing towards each other.
Oh, and then there's the fact that both teams are in the same boat!
Take a look:
The above video clip can also be found on YouTube under the title
"Polish Dragon Boat Rowing: Tug of Oar edition"

Yes, the guys paddling are Polish, and...
No, it has nothing to do with Polish jokes.

It seems that this isn't the only place they do this
two-teams-on-the-same-boat thing.

Here's another couple contests from a get-together in Hong Kong:

And in Australia - here's a contest in a pool:
With the US Gondola Nationals coming up in October,
I'm sure this gives some of you food-for-thought. 
I've thought about it myself.
It's important to remember that with dragon boats,
you just need a place to sit and a paddle.
There's no oarlock involved.
We would need to come up with a way to mount forcole
on both ends of the same boat to achieve the same goal.
Anybody got a boat that we could use?

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