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