On April 6, fearless paddlers flew off to Tampa, Florida to have some fun in the sun and to get a jumpstart on our paddling season.
We arrived at the Dragon Boat Paddling Camp to beautiful accommodations overlooking a lake, with the dragon boats docked below our patios.
The first morning we had our wakeup call. This may be a little bit of a fitness stretch for most of us, although some of us had been busy preparing for the camp all winter by swimming laps in the pool, running and working out at the gym with weights.
The paddling was intense.
We started the morning with a one-hour boot camp, which we quickly modified to our levels of need, along with some yoga stretches.
We bravely entered the boat and paddled for the next 2.5 hours with people from all over the U.S. and even meet some new Canadian friends.
Leaving the boat, I thought the ground might be too far away as I laid down for a few good yoga stretches, working my hip and lower back muscles until they loved me once again.
We were thrilled when they told us we have a several hour break where we could swim, replenish our energy and meet our new B.C. friend, Glenda.
Back in the boat we went for another 2.5-hour paddle and a 1,400-metre race to wind up the workout. We wanted a winter work out and well, a winter workout we got!
By day three, we were comfortable in the boat with our new paddling partners, learning a few new tricks, gathering our energy up for the mini regatta, and to finish off with a long-distance race.
What we learned is that Florida teams mostly race 200-metre races and their stroke rate is very fast.
The Survivors Abreast paddlers have been coached to race longer races and have a long, slower stroke rate. The coached appreciated our slower stroke rate and pace. And while he did push us with the fast stroke rate, he also taught the group the advantage of the longer stroke.
We survived and headed off to Cocoa Beach for some relaxation, shopping and beach time.
There’s nothing I like more than a good book and a beach.
Sometime you need to stretch and do something completely different — and we certainly did.