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.
EDBRC – Got Pho?
We’re a group of friends united by the love of pho¸ Vietnamese beef noodle soup. In our fifth year of competition¸ we aim to stroke harder¸ faster¸ and better than ever! We are proudly supported by Doan’s Restaurant¸ serving the finest Vietnamese cuisine¸ and by Cranetec of Edmonton¸ Alberta¸ Canada. Stroke It!
EDBRC River Rats
The EDBRC River Rats is a competitive mixed team of paddlers of all ages that come together with a commitment and passion for the sport of dragonboating. It is a great way for the team to get together on and off the water. The team trains on the mighty North Saskatchewan River and is looking at making some waves in San Fran.
EDBRC Wahine Kei Waka
Wahine Kei Waka is an all women’s team within the Edmonton Dragon Boat Racing Club. Wahine Kei Waka is Maori for Women in Canoe and is pronounced “wa hee nay kay wa ka”. Wahine Kei Waka is a semi-competitive team comprised of both veteran dragon boat paddlers and women who are new to the sport. Our philosophy for each festival we attend is to showcase how hard we have worked during the season¸ keeping in mind a win is never a win unless we are all having fun. We very much look forward to visiting California and making some great new dragon boat friends!
The Southern California Edison Electric Dragons is a member team of Southern California Dragon Boat Club (SCDBC). We promote the sport and culture of dragon boating for Edison employees¸ family¸ and friends by bringing together people with diverse backgrounds to meet¸ share cultural experiences¸ and have fun while enjoying the physical benefit of paddling.
Galileo Celestial Dragons
We are a high school team in San Francisco Bay Area. After accomplishing the unthinkable at Long Beach¸ the Celestial Dragons thirst for more. Fueled by gummy bears and Gal-torade¸ we are ready to conquer anything. During the summer¸ we have traveled far to places such as Macau China¸ Vancouver Canada¸ and Long Beach¸ racing with our hearts and competing at the highest level. Our family has grown since then¸ and we look forward to another awsome year. Live strong¸ paddle strong¸ GCD strong.
Hot Sake – some 45 weatherproof paddlers from Seattle visiting the Bay Area. Year round¸ rain or shine¸ we practice on Lake Washington. To satisfy the Pacific Northwest’s reputation¸ there are some memorable winter practices with wind¸ rain¸ slush¸ and snow. Hard to beat and quite abundant are winter practices on a crystal clear day or race pieces with one of the big snow-capped volcanoes as targets. We are looking forward to our last race event of our season in the Bay area.
Houston Heat¸ established in the summer of 2006¸ is Houston’s first year-round dragon boat club. As competitive and recreational paddlers¸ we train hard to compete in local¸ national and international competitions and to become the epitome of teamwork¸ leadership and community outreach. Our members are young and old¸ from all professions and social backgrounds¸ coming together to work out¸ compete and enjoy the interactive networking of a true team sport. We encourage individuals to become an integral and seamless part of the TEAM to achieve success in the world’s fastest growing sport of dragon boat racing.
Independence High School
The second season for Independence High School has been an amazing success. The Sixer Dragons have medaled in four consecutive races including an amazing performance in Seattle where Independence finished in first place in the PDBA youth division and qualified for the Club Crew World Championships in Macau¸ China in 2010. Independence High School is located in the east side of San Jose. Its diverse population of 4¸000 students represents over 80 nationalities. The IHS dragon boat team is lead by its dedicated officers Vincent Flores¸ Adrian Reyes¸ and coaches John Herrera and Achim Karger.
Jetstart is a competitive dragon boat team from Toronto¸ Canada. The team is made up of dynamic individuals who share a passion for sports and embrace all the challenges of fitness. Since the beginning¸ Jetstart has never shied away from travel. We proudly represent our city¸ province and country¸ and we are lucky to have met so many amazing people in places as far away as Montreal¸ Vancouver¸ San Francisco and China. We love making new friends so don’t be afraid to stop by our tent and say “Hi!”. We’d like to wish all the teams “Good luck!”¸ and we look forward to seeing you on the water. Visit us at jetstart.ca to learn more about our team.
KDBC SPIRIT WOMENS’ TEAM
The KDBC Spirit team is comprised of competitive women paddlers representing five of twelve teams within the Kelowna Dragon Boat Club. Hailing from the warm¸ sunny climes of the Okanagan Valley¸ British Columbia¸ Canada¸ our ladies epitomize the spirit and culture of our club & community through training hard¸ motivation¸ teamwork¸ focus¸ commitment¸ perseverance¸ encouragement¸ friendship & celebrating achievements – all culminating in 22 hearts beating as One. We are excited to be a part of the SFDBF and thank the festival organizers & volunteers for your hard work¸ enthusiasm & dedication to making this event a success!
The Killer Guppies are a fun-loving team with a competitive spirit. This year we are celebrating our tenth year as a team¸ and we’ve been coming to San Francisco to race for the last nine. The San Francisco festival has always been a season highlight for us with great competition and wonderful hosts. Thanks¸ CDBA and Dragon Warriors!
KLM Blue Dragons
KLM Blue Dragons (www.bluedragons.nl) is a dragonboat racing team consisting of paddlers all working for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The team was put together for the first time in 1995 to compete in a local contest ending with 18 paddlers swimming to the shore. The next year we took some training and won the race. After that magic moment the Netherlands was not big enough. Races in China¸ Japan¸ Malaysia¸ Vancouver and Hong Kong were visited. We came¸ saw and conquered (in some way …). This year the San Francisco Dragonboat Festival will definitely be the highlight of our season. We are really looking forward to meeting all of you!
Who are we? What do we stand for? BROCCOLI!!! KP Dragons are paddlers who understand the importance of being healthy¸ being fit¸ and being happy. We are a group of spirited KP employees who proudly embrace the role as ambassadors of Kaiser Permanente¸ the largest managed care and non-profit health plan in the US. Our team represents the diverse community in which we work¸ serve and live. We are not only about Pilates and broccoli or about Band-Aids and blood pressures. We are about lasting friendships¸ food¸ fun¸ and meeting new challenges. As KP Dragons¸ we sweat¸ we paddle¸ and we THRIVE.
KPMG’s Team Velocity consists of employees from our San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. Entering our 8th year of participation in the festival¸ we use our accounting and auditing skills to make quick work of the competition. A big thanks to the following people for making this event meaningful and demonstrating our commitment to diversity and community involvement: Debbie Messemer¸ SF Office Managing Partner; Dean Kamahele and Yukimasa Kitano¸ APIN Partner Champions¸ KPMG’s diversity network group for Asian Pacific Islanders (APIN); Minny Wang¸ APIN Chair; and APIN members Thuy¸ Bertrick¸ Diana¸ and Inga. Audit ‘em!
What happens when you give paddles to a bunch of competitive and food loving professionals? They form Lightwave. Our team is excited to compete on our lucky 13th year. Our diverse team hails from all over the Bay Area with one commonality: the love of dragon boating with friends. And although we practice hard and win racing trophies/medals¸ dragon boating is also an excuse for all of us to simply hangout and eat together after each practice session in Redwood City or in San Francisco. Stop by practice and grab a paddle. We encourage you to check us out at: http://teamlightwave.org/ GO WAVES!!!