This morning I went to the beach to try out a sport that I hadn't tried before - dragon boat racing!
It is the ADAS (Abu Dhabi Airline Spouses) group that have set up a team, and the plan is to get together and train twice a week, and maybe enter a fun race or two further along in the year.
This morning there was quite a few of us, as it was a free trial to start the season. I'm not sure how many ladies will return to actually commit to the team; but it was a good workout, and lovely to be out on the water; so I will definitely consider participating on a more regular basis.
Dragon boat racing originated in China over 2000 years ago. Traditionally, these boats are carved out of teak wood. For competition events, the boats are generally decorated with ornately carved Chinese dragon heads and tails, but during training these decorations are usually removed.
The crew of each boat is typically made up by 20 paddlers, a drummer or caller up the front, and a person who steers at the back of the boat. The paddlers all face the front, where the drummer or the caller sits and guides the rhythm of the rowing.
Dragon boat racing is very similar to other human-powered water races, such as canoeing, but has one main distinguishing factor: rather than an oar, we used a paddle - which was not attached to the boat in any way. This meant it was important for the all us rowers to move in a synchronized manner and the movements had to be shorter and sharper. It's a fantastic workout, it really gets you working your whole upper body - AND it sure gets you working on your team spirit..!
(Thank you Jennifer Cruickshank Lévesque/ADAS for some of the photos!)