May Day Parade in Fort Langley – May 21, 2012

I am so impressed with all of you who were able to come out today… what a great job and great teamwork from everyone! We did get a bit soggy but hey… we’re used to it!

A huge THANK YOU to our sister paddlers and their families from DEAS who joined us! We truly appreciate your support.
To all of our dragon-bearers you were great with your “serpentining” which definitely wowed the spectators. From Marie’s vantage point in the front car she could hear the spectators getting excited and saying “Hey, there’s a dragon coming!”

And I know our chant was new to many of you but you sounded like you’d been doing it forever! Our banner-bearers, walkers and drivers did a wonderful job and we were all able to get our word out and show the crowd that there is life after breast cancer!

Thank you so much to all the AIAB members/paddlers, family and friends for their support and help today.

Paddles Up,
Peggy Howard

12-Nite-of-Hope-RichmondPhoto taken April 4, 2012
Richmond members that attended the Nite of Hope.

Spring was definitely in the air at our Season’s Opener which took place on March 18, 2012 at Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver. Thank you to Evelyn Smoliak and her merry band of volunteers who set up a wonderful spread of goodies brought by AIAB members. There was a wonderful assortment of teas and coffee for the caffeiners. The attending Novices entered to the song “Pretty Woman” and were introduced by “Original” Carol Dale to loud applause.

The highlight, of course, was the Spring Hat competition. First Place was awarded to Karen Sabourin of the Deas Divas. In Second Place was Alina Oleksiak of Richmond and Third Place went to Geri Madden of Rocky Point. Please note that the winners were all Novices!

A good time was had by all – great to visit with old and new friends. Another special start to the 2012 Paddling Season.

About 50 members including many 2012 Novices joined together at the Glenbrook Park Amenity Centre to participate in the 2012 Fitness Forum: “IT’S ALL ABOUT PADDLING”

This year the speakers were amazing.

The first speaker was Dean Siemens, a Paramedic, a Kinesiologist and a Massage Therapist specializing in Sports Injury Rehabilitation. Dean gave an entertaining and very informative presentation on water safety. He did, however, change his mind about the wisdom of having us try to turn the boat over should it ever capsize. When he saw the looks on our faces at even the thought of doing so, he quickly realized that it is just not going to happen. We do have a really good policy and information on safety but a couple of points than cannot be emphasized enough are the importance of staying calm and staying quiet.

The second speaker was Victoria Felkar who is completing her studies in Kinesiology and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Victoria’s mother, Lois Felkar is a member of AIAB so Victoria is very familiar to a lot of us. She is also helping with a special exercise session for the 2012 Novices ensuring that they have a good introduction to becoming physically fit for their first paddling season. Victoria did a presentation on core strength and core stability. To paddle well and safely, we need to engage our core and have the strength to hold the positions paddling requires of us. She led us through some simple introductory core excercises that we hope will become part of your dry land training regime. If you were one of the people lucky enough to have attended the workshop – what is your cue for engaging your core?

The last speaker was Heather Hellevang, also completing her studies in Kinesiology. Heather is a well respected coach in the Dragon Boat community and the co-coach of the Grand Dragons. She led us through a practice from the warm up to the cool down. Heather brought her ‘erg’ machine and took us through each step of the paddling stroke. She reviewed posture and related this to what Victoria had presented regarding core engagement. We went through top arm, bottom arm position, the catch and the exit. In terms of improving our stroke technique, we were asked to specifically analyze what it is about our stroke that needs to improve, i.e. if we want to improve our rotation, what exactly will we do to accomplish that. And even though Heather notes that she has paddled for 17 years, she still sees she has areas she is working to improve on. The message is that no one has the perfect stroke.

Barb Baker did a wonderful job of organizing this event. She pulled together an impressive group of AIAB volunteers to help with registration, food, set up and clean up. Thank you to Rebecca, Eleanor, Cathy, and Evelyn as well all those that pitched and helped in whatever way they could.

Barb also arranged for door prizes and give-aways. Remember to fill out the card with all your pertinent information and put it in the waterproof wallet to tuck in the pocket of your PFD. Again this year, we were also given fitness logs. Please use them – what you write down will encourage you to be consistent in your dry land training! Thank you, Barb.

Judi Clark

On Thursday, January 12, 2012 about 25 AIAB members joined 30+ prospective novices at the Accent Inn in Richmond for the Novice Information Meeting. Membership Chair Sandi Moffatt chaired the meeting and introduced the Board Members that were present. Past President Patricia Tanaka spoke on the history of Abreast In A Boat. The Coaches were introduced next and each pair gave a brief description of their venue, practice times and crew activities. Vice President Judi Clark went over the fitness requirement, commitment and safety issues for novices. A good reminder for the rest of us as well! The interested novices-to-be asked questions throughout and the last speaker was ‘Original’ Carol Dale with her witty and humorous talk on appropriate clothing and accessories for paddling on the water. The evening ended with more questions and then those present who decided to join were busy trying on race jerseys and life jackets. It seemed to me we have a very interested group of new members who are committed to a successful 2012 Season.

Welcome Aboard!
Paddles Up!

Abreast In A Boat in Malaysia – October 2011

The inaugural 1st INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT FEDERATION (IDBF) CANCER SURVIVORS WORLD CUP 2011 held in conjunction with MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL (MIDBF) took place at the Putrajaya Water Sports Complex from October 20 to 23, 2011. I was very fortunate to be on the crew representing Abreast In A Boat at this regatta.

Most of the crew arrived a few days before the regatta and we stayed at the Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside Hotel, conveniently located across the street from the race site. This beautiful five star hotel featured a fabulous breakfast buffet every morning, offering endless healthy and delicious choices to start the day, getting us through the race days where there was little time for nourishment between races.

Each day during our stay in Malaysia started out with clear skies and sunshine, about 30+ degrees and very humid. With the exception of the two days we raced, every afternoon featured a torrential downpour, followed by rain in varying degrees of intensity. The rain was so heavy at times, I swear it would have sunk the boats if it had happened during the races. It was probably a good thing to be in Malaysia during their “rainy season”, as the temperatures would have been even higher without the rain to cool things off each day.

We paddled in four races on Saturday, taking one bronze and one silver medal, both with 22-person crews. On Sunday, we had an unprecedented eight races and managed to bring home two more bronze medals, one with a 12-person crew and the other with a 22-person crew. My focus at regattas has always been on having fun and the excitement of the race – getting medals is a bonus I hadn’t even considered.

Many thanks to our Manager, Brenda Tierney, who kept us organized and in the boat on time, despite the disorganization and many changes to the race schedule.

The wind-up party took place at the Zouk Club in Kuala Lumpur on the Sunday evening. There was a delicious buffet dinner and lots of dancing in this modern high tech nightclub.

Diane Wahl
Photos by Lynne Davis

Check out the two articles on AIAB crew members at the Malaysia International Dragon Boat Festival:
Surrey Leader AND North Shore Outlook

60 local and international teams battle it out during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival at the Putrajaya Sports Complex.
Check it out

Race Results from October 22, 2011
Race Results from October 23, 2011

Many thanks to all the AIAB members who helped make our Second Annual Novice Paddle a great success. We had 22 prospective novices join us for a lovely paddle on False Creek Saturday afternoon and judging by the responses and smiles of our guests they all seemed to have a great time.

A special thanks to Deb Thiessen who coached one of the crews and Eleanor Vandergaag and Judi Clark for steering. Also thanks to Leslie Lewis who ensured we had enough AIAB paddlers and volunteers to help with the event. I would also like to acknowledge the warm AIAB welcome you extended to our prospective new members and the sharing of your personal experiences with AIAB. This was truly a novice focused event.

Paddles Up!

Jane Mann

Terry Fox Home Town Run

It was a wet, gray day but the mood of all the participants at the 31st Terry Fox Run in Port Coquitlam was sunny. Esther Matsubichi, Deb Middleton, Rebecca Chapman, Marcia Rempel, Susan Beye, Susan Anthony and I along with our supporters were on hand to hear speeches by Premier Christy Clark, Mayor Greg Moore and Rolly Fox. His brief tribute to his wife Betty had many of us feeling teary. Esther was interviewed by CKNW prior to the Run. We were part of Terry’s Team of 31 cancer survivors. You may have seen us on CBC, Global or CTV News in our special red T-shirts at the start line.

Patricia Tanaka

A few snapshots at the Terry Fox Run

We are very proud of the composite crew that competed at the Steveston Regatta this year. The weather was beautiful and the crew was full of spirit. There were members from virtually every AIAB crew – which was great!

We had four great races and seemed to improve with each one. When “finish it now” was called the boat just seemed to jump. This was a strong crew! We took second place in Division E.

We would like to thank Coach Margaret, Steers Judi, Drummer Lita and Manager Sheila for making this such a great experience for us all.

Another great showing ladies! You have a lot to be proud of!

Paddles Up!
Neoma Quintin and the Steveston crew

Deas Divas – July 8 – 10, 2011

Exhilarating, inspiring, hilarious, exhausting, fun, emotional, jubilation, glee, frivolity, camaraderie, spirit, strength, determination, guts and glory!

What a fabulous weekend culminating in a medal which was just the icing on the cake, the cherry on top! Patricia and Jane – thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

Our waterfront accommodations served us just fine and a huge thanks to Ysa for getting us a place to lay our heads at night. We had a delightful 15 minute walk to the race site along the waterfront. The weather cooperated with sunshine both days.

Friday night we donned our Caribbean hats and costumes for the Survivor Dinner – quite a colourful bunch as you can see from the picture. As dusk approached, a bagpiper led us to the water’s edge where we lit candles and set them afloat.

We had time to enjoy the sunshine on our balcony Saturday morning before walking to the race site for our first race at 11:40 am. The water was pretty rough and the start abrupt, but as always, with Elisabeth steering us, all went well and we managed a time of 2:46:92. Our second race at 3:30 pm was 2:43:27. Saturday evening we partied it up in true Diva style with appies, then an early end to the evening since we were up early.

Sunday morning our first race was at 8:20 am and our time was 2:42:55. Do you see a pattern here? We are getting faster each race! This last race advanced us to Women’s Gold Final A at 2:10 pm, but before that, we had the Breast Cancer Challenge Race.

There were ten teams and we were the only original breast cancer survivor dragon boat team. We came in fifth. It was a beautiful flower ceremony and as usual, memories, tears and emotions ran through the boats. As we came off the dock, the arch of paddles and supporters seemed to stretch forever, a pretty special and emotional moment for us all I suspect.

Back to serious business at 2:10 pm with our finals race – Elisabeth in a rare moment urging us on with “You can win this”! From the shore our manager, Dianne was jumping up and down, shouting: “My team”! We came in third with a time of 2:39:55 – an improvement of 7.37 seconds from our first race on Saturday!

We had time before the ferry for a cool one in the beer garden where we danced around with our medals like lunatics!

So many smiles and laughs in one weekend. We missed our fellow team mates unable to join us. Thank you Cathy, Gail, Marcia, Neoma, Sandy and Tracey for joining the Divas for the regatta and to Debbie for coming along to support us.

In closing, I’ll join the love fest – you are an amazing group of women – it’s been an amazing season.
Go Divas! Paddles Up!

Captain Jenny (Wenman)

Team pose with the Bronze Medal