KIALOA was proud to sponsor a dragon boat team from Southern California on their 2010 Glory Cup journey to Shanghai, China in September. The Glory Cup was a series of 250m and 500m races in a 10-man dragon boat (not the usual 20-man that we are most accustomed to) where Team SoCal was expected to finish at the bottom of the heap. Competing against teams that get paid to train and make salary bonuses for wins, the KIALOA hybrid armed men and women held their own finishing 6th place overall. They even brought home some cash that they will reinvest into the dragon boat community in Long Beach, California.
I keep making the mistake of referring to this team as LARD (LA Racing Dragons). The reality is, they were joined up with some other great SoCal paddlers from the Killer Guppies and the Space Dragons. Perhaps this is the Killer LARD Space Guppies? Nah... too hard to remember after a beer. I'll stick with Team SoCal as they were representing the Southern California Dragon Boat Club. Or, maybe... Team Awesome?!
The real message here is what a great group of athletes these guys and gals are on and OFF the water. They know the importance of training but understand the importance of maintaining the spirit of community that comes with dragon boating. In the outrigger culture, we refer to that as Ohana. I'm not sure if there is a Chinese equivalent but I'm tempted to call it LARD Love. To read more about the journeys of Team LARD, be sure to check out Coach Scott Wu's blog, Ready and Reach. And if you're wondering about paddling as Guppie, a Space Dragon, or any other number of fantastic teams that paddle with the SCDBC, go HERE.
Here's a great video compiled by team member and visual media king, Philip Sun, that shows us how much more fun they were having than us that day. Even if their PFD's were blinding to look at:
Congrats to Team Awesome. May your KIALOA paddles always return the love!