An exciting weekend of world-class dragon boat racing, spectacular cultural performances, and fun-filled activities for the whole family will take place at the 2009 Kaiser Permanente San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival on September 26 and 27 at Treasure Island.
The San Francisco event is the largest competitive dragon boat festival in the United States with over 110 dragon boat teams and 3,500 dragon boat paddlers competing in the 500 and 300 meter courses.
Dragon boat teams range from novice to competitive skill level. Novice teams represent local Bay Area corporations, public agencies, and non-profit community organizations. Recreational and competitive teams practice year-round and hail from all over the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. This year’s championship race is going to be one of the fiercest battles for victory to date!
Here is a look at some of this year’s teams. Part 1 of 2.
AAA Flying Dragons
The AAA Flying Dragons are employees of AAA of Northern California¸ Nevada¸ and Utah¸ an eight-time sponsor of the festival. You know us as friendly folks when we arrange your travel¸ pay your auto and homeowners insurance claims¸ or rescue you on the road. But in the dragon boat¸ watch out — we’re ferocious. We love the challenge of the race. We’re not masochists — we’re just into teamwork¸ hard workouts¸ and developing our skills. And it doesn’t hurt that we have loads of FUN and trophies to show for our efforts. Back on land. . . we’re just the friendly AAA folks again.
The Absolute Dragons: Dragon Boat Team¸ Wherever they go they make a huge scene. Stronger and sexier they are extreme¸ You’ll be behind when we call Six-Sixteen! A plethora of specialties¸ Absolute served straight up or on the rocks. Intoxicating personalities¸ These Dragons will knock off your socks¸ Short or long races they always go the extra mile They travel to distant lands and do it in style. A family of friends¸ 09 marks their tenth year¸ There is one thing for sure¸ this team enjoys their beer!
Alameda Dragon Flyers
Alameda Dragon Flyers is the first East Bay team affiliated with CDBA. Formed in 2002¸ ADF paddlers come from various East Bay cities to enjoy our island blend of exercising¸ socializing¸ competing and eating. In 2004 we formed a non-profit to support youth dragon boating and now sponsor the Alameda Fishtix¸ a citywide high school dragon boat team. Our practice site at Alameda’s Mariner Square has great water¸ beautiful views¸ plentiful parking and easy access. We are grateful to our sponsors and donors¸ including John Beery Yachts/Mariner Square Associates and San Francisco Fire Protection Company.
Alameda Fishtix is a high school paddling team from the island city of Alameda. Since 2004 our team has been recruiting citywide and using dragon boating to build unity¸ friendship¸ service and fun between all Alameda youth. Our two crews love hard work and Ice Cream Days¸ when we reward our efforts by paddling across the estuary for treats at Ben and Jerry’s. Thanks to the Alameda Dragon Flyers and our corporate sponsor¸ John Beery Yachts¸ we have great adult support and a beautiful venue on the Alameda-Oakland estuary.
The Anniemaniacs were born in the cold¸ wet winter of 2003 when 19 “newbie” paddlers overruled the captain to name the team what it is now. We’re a motley crew of teachers who fail to pay attention and engineers who debate the finer points of the technique. Throw in a few significant others¸ recruits “stolen” from other teams¸ and some people that just love the competition; and in a nutshell¸ that is the Anniemaniacs. We’re like a family. We laugh¸ we cry¸ and we fight; but¸ we wouldn’t be on the water if we didn’t love to RACE! We are the Anniemaniacs¸ maybe you’ve heard of us.
Arizona Gila Dragons
In 2001¸ a diverse group of friends & strangers with no dragon boating experience was invited to compete in the Taipei International Dragon Boat Festival as part of the Sister Cities Program. We instantly fell in love with the sport & in the fall of 2002¸ the Gila Dragons formed as AZ’s first dragon boating club. We started off by practicing on milk crates on the side of Tempe Town Lake¸ eventually moving into real dragon boats. With a love for fun & fierce competition¸ the team has traveled to & competed in places such as Long Beach¸ San Francisco¸ Hawaii¸ Las Vegas¸ Houston¸ Portland¸ and Denver. Please visit us at www.GilaDragons.com.
Arms of Fury
CYC’s adult dragon boat team is determined once again to rise to the challenge for the third year with team ARMS OF FURY! Dedicated during the weekdays to empowering and strengthening high-need Asian youth and their families by providing for comprehensive youth development through education¸ employment training¸ advocacy¸ and other supportive services¸ this team of arthritic weekend wannabe warriors WILL cross the finish line this year as a top contender. You’ll know it when you FEEL OUR FURY!
Austin Coolers is the first year-round dragon boat team in Austin¸ Texas and began as a mix of interested members from various corporate teams in May 2008. We train throughout the year to compete in various races and have both competitive and recreational members. You can often find us on Lady Bird Lake in the heart of downtown Austin on weekends practicing hard for our next race or just paddling for fun¸ our team motto being “If it hurts¸ KEEP PADDLING!!” For SFDBF 2009¸ we are lucky to have some paddlers joining us from Victorious Secret¸ a team formed in 1999 based out of Victoria¸ B.C.
In January of 2009¸ a local bay area high school was given the opportunity to possess its very own dragon boat team. Since then¸ the team has shown its passion and love of dragon boating by coming out to weekly practices and paddling hard. When the time came for the team’s very first race on April 18th¸ they gave everything they had and ended up taking home the first place plaque in their division. Five months later¸ the team comes back with more experience and is ready to race again. Though still a new team¸ we are filled with spirit. We are filled with ambition. We are the Balboa High Buccaneers.
Bay Area Dragons
Founded in 1996¸ the San Francisco Bay Area Dragons (a.k.a. BAD) was the first dragon boat team in Northern California – have paddle¸ will travel! We are a nonprofit organization providing coaching¸ steering¸ and general support for our members/local teams. BAD competed in Club Crew World Championships in Penang¸ Malaysia in 2008 and Rome¸ Italy in 2002. We love to travel and plan on racing in Hong Kong/Shanghai in 2010. BAD founded the annual Paddle For Life Charity Dragon Boat Race to raise money to fight against cancer. FREE lessons every Saturday @ 10:30am in Foster City – www.bayareadragons.org
Cal Dragonboat is comprised of a group of crazy and loud college students who hail from UC Berkeley. Besides paddling and pulling together as a team¸ we have bonded together in so many different ways that we consider one another family. With more than 2 water practices a week at Alameda Bay¸ Cal DB has been training hard to improve on our past successes¸ including a first place finish in our college division this past August at Long Beach. So when you pass by our tent and see a bunch of college kids wearing blue and gold jerseys¸ don’t be shy to show your Cal pride and yell “GO BEARS!”
CCF In Search of Roots
Founded by Him Mark Lai and Albert Cheng back in 1991¸ In Search of Roots is a joint program between the Chinese Culture Foundation¸ Chinese Historical Society of America¸ and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Guangdong province. The year long program bridges cultures and generations for the Chinese American youth selected to go each year. As this is our first year we¸ the Roots family and friends¸ are eager to paddle and have a great time!
Central Coast SurviveOars
SurviveOars started in the fall of 2007 as a BCS team. We are part of Team Survivor based in Morro Bay. The club has over 40 members and growing. San Francisco will be our sixth festival. In addition to promoting exercise and camaraderie for women cancer survivors¸ we are promoting dragon boating in our area. Our first non-cancer team is Morro Dragons who will also be racing in San Francisco. As the only club between San Francisco and Long Beach¸ we expect to form more recreational teams.
Community Youth Center
CYC is a diverse high school Dragon Boat team consisting of a variety of high school students from the Bay Area. The CYC high school Dragon Boat team was founded in 2001. Ever since¸ our team has worked hard for the past nine years to prove we are capable of becoming the number one high school Dragon Boat team in California. In the 2007 S.F. International Dragon Boat Festival¸ CYC reached its goal for the first time to become the number one high school Dragon Boat team in California. CYC has also expanded to compete across international waters in the 2009 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival¸ placing 2nd overall in the high school division.
CPMC Dragon Our Tails
We may be Dragon Our Tails but we’re speedy on the water! California Pacific Medical Center’s team is made up of nurses¸ technicians¸ physical therapists¸ dieticians¸ perfusionists¸ and communications and database professionals. CPMC is embarking on an ambitious plan to build state-of-the-art facilities at our St. Luke’s Campus at Van Ness & Geary. Our plan will help ensure that we can continue providing the highest quality¸ compassionate and culturally sensitive care to all San Franciscans. We believe in the power of medicine. Because medicine can transform a body. Going Beyond Medicine can transform a life.
Davis Racing Dragons
Davis Racing Dragons was founded by Jeremy Wong and Lisa Huyhn¸ both paddlers when they attended high school in San Francisco. A month after the team’s birth¸ it received its first trophy in the 2004 Long Beach Dragon Boat Tournament¸ thus marking the establishment of the first official UC Davis dragon boat team. We finished our inaugural season by ranking 20th out of the 95 teams that attended the 9th Annual Northern California Dragon Boat Championships and 2nd in the College Division. We are always ready to paddle to our hearts’ desire. Hooah!
Deloitte Dragons are ready to bring it again this year! Not only do we work hard¸ we paddle hard as a team of auditors¸ consultants¸ and tax accountants from the various bay area offices. Who are we? We’re the DELOITTE DRAGONS¸ watch out now! Deloitte provides audit¸ tax¸ consulting¸ and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in approximately 140 countries¸ Deloitte brings world class capabilities and deep local expertise to help clients succeed wherever they operate.
Delta Dragons is comprised of vivacious paddlers coming together from Stockton¸ Sacramento and the Bay Area. Many paddlers are returning from last year¸ eager to race again! We also have fresh faces coming on board due to the awesome hype of this sport¸ wanting to feel the waters. Delta Dragons’ sponsoring organization is CCSS (Chinese Cultural Society of Stockton)¸ and the team captain is Stefanie Chu for the 3rd year in a row. Stefanie is extra excited to lead this team again¸ to get the adrenaline pumping¸ and to put forth their best effort in crossing the finish line. With enthusiasm¸ they roar “Who are weee?!!…Delta Delta Dra-gunnnnnss!”
We are a women’s team who share a common enthusiasm and devotion to the sport of dragon boating¸ that shows in our capacity to pull together persistently & consistently. Thus demonstrating the esprit de corps of our name¸ Despirit Housewives. We live for fun and enjoy the humour of a simple play on words. Pride and loyalty to the team & sport go deeper than our attention to how great we look; in our jerseys¸ on the water¸ during races & of course¸ how we look first across the finish line. As with all that is good in life¸ it all comes down to timing; time for practice¸ time for races¸ time for fun¸ time for beer & martinis!
BEHOLD! Another dragon boat team that introspectively asks¸ “Who are we?” The answer¸ in our case¸ is DieselFish! From paddling waters of SF-Bay Area and afar over the past 12 years; strong friendships¸ and even the odd marriage with ‘Fish fry’ have developed amongst our tight-knit but welcoming Fishie Family. Our extended family includes our newest DF Youth members from Pioneer HS of San Jose¸ as well as other SF¸ South Bay & Peninsula crews coached by Fishies. So from our Redwood City home¸ we look forward to seeing you at Treasure Island – our favorite race of the year! Do drop by our tent or visit us at www.DieselFish.com
Dragnum is a Calgary¸ Alberta based fun/competitive team that began in 1998 under the name of Dragon’s Pulse. The team came together as a bunch of friends who shared a passion for outdoor fun (mainly mountain activities) who decided one year to “give that dragon boat thing” a try. Since then the crew has continued to enjoy the dragon boat scene with an identity crisis¸ racing under various team names including Pulse¸ Tri-Cort¸ Dragnum PI¸ CP Dragnum and this year as simply Dragnum. Through it all¸ the team has never gone south of the border and is looking forward to the San Francisco experience!
Dragon Hearts Magnum
Magnum is a competitive team from Vancouver¸ Canada. Our creed: We are one team with one desire. Hoping that we can go to a division higher. Practice by practice¸ we paddle harder. Learning in the process to paddle smarter. We will paddle in rain¸ sun or snow¸ With ambitions that it will make us pro. We will bring surprises along the way too¸ Making teams yell N-F-W…N-F-W! And as the end of the season comes to a near¸ We will have nothing to fear. Because our preparation will have brought us here¸ With 2009 being our year. Our statement will be bold¸ and maybe it’ll come with gold. We are Dragon Hearts Magnum¸ And our time has come!
The Dragon Warriors is a high-energy¸ competitive¸ spirited team based right here in the San Francisco Bay Area¸ and we are proud to be celebrating our 10th year of fun¸ competition¸ food¸ contribution¸ and excellence! We are active in the local DB community as a CDBA member team and typically field 3 crews at local races. DW loves to hit the road as well and has raced across the US¸ Canada¸ and throughout Asia. We look forward to a great weekend of good¸ hard racing with you all! When you aren’t on the water¸ please drop on by our tent and say hello. For more information on DW¸ please visit www.dragonwarriors.org
DragonMax trains year-round in Berkeley¸ California using dragon boats¸ outrigger canoes¸ and kayaks. As part of the Berkeley Racing Canoe Center¸ we provide access to the San Francisco Bay for all community members on a weekly¸ drop-in basis. DragonMax is a warm¸ welcoming family that sticks together both on and off the water. Please visit our websites at dragonmax.org and berkeleyrcc.org