Houston Heat at the 14th IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships

During the last week of August, 2019, the 14th IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships were held in Thailand. Over 3,500 dragon boat athletes from 29 nations gathered in Pattaya for the 5-day, biennial event.  Houston Heat athletes Jackson Lau and Joel Castaneda qualified to be on the National Team and helped Team USA bring home many medals from different race distances in the Senior A divisions.  The United States ranks 3rd overall in medal count.

The competition in Thailand was fierce this year, with a couple of records being broken in the 200-meter race. China’s premiere open team broke the world record with an impressive 39.251 seconds; the previous record of 40.02 seconds was held for a decade by the Philippines National Team since 2009. Canada’s premiere women’s team also broke the world record with their finish time at 45.958 seconds.

Now that the World Championship in Thailand is over, dragon boat athletes around the world will start their training for 2021 when the next World Championship will return to Hong Kong, a significant city where many athletes believe modern dragon boat racing got its start in 1976.

Early Bird Special on 2020 Memberships

It is that time of year again to provide paddlers the opportunity to take advantage of the Early Bird Specials for the 2020 year. The Houston Heat Board has made the decision to maintain the same membership rates as the last few years.

For the 2020 year, the annual membership rate is $200. There is a one-time $20 Administrative Charge for brand new members.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: For a limited time, Houston Heat is offering an Early Bird Special Discount if you submit your dues by February 15, 2020 with a completed and signed membership form to the Houston Heat PO BOX (address is listed in the form) – Memberships will be $175.00 for returning members and $185.00 for brand new members (50% off of the one-time admin charge).  You can submit a check to the PO Box or submit payment via QuickPay with Zelle to houstonheatdragonboat@gmail.com.

Don’t delay. This discount will end at midnight on February 15, 2020. Your check/Quickpay and form must be post marked and delivered by this date. Please visit the Houston Heat Join Our Team page to learn more about how to become a member. You can also download the membership form and read the Houston Heat Code of Conduct at this page.

Houston Heat at the ICF Dragon Boat World Championship

Our club wants to congratulate seven paddlers (plus Bong, Heather’s husband) on making the ICF National Team:

Jackson Lau
Christi Pham
Liying Zhao
Heather Mercado
Joel Castaneda
Ha Nguyen
Mas Nash, Master Women’s Coach

The 2018 ICF Dragon Boat World Championships were held at Lake Lanier, GA—the same location where the U.S. held the 1996 Olympics for rowing, canoe, and kayak events.  The event was held from September 13—16, 2018.  Over the 4 days, Team USA paddled fiercely and racked up medals in different divisions.  The final medal count for Team USA was 15 Golds, 13 Silvers, and 8 Bronzes.  Team USA also won the Nations Cup by having the highest medal count.

Each of these paddlers have dedicated a lot of their time, training to be on Team USA.  Their hard work and dedication paid off when they all took home some hardware and even spent some time on top of the podium with the flag flying high, singing the national anthem.  Mike Nguyen from our team was also part of Team USA as a volunteer MacGyver and photographer.  Our Houston Heat’s head coach, Jeff Gee, also traveled to the race venue from Houston to cheer on the Heaters and Team USA Paddlers.

The next ICF Dragon Boat World Championship will be held in 2020, in India.  If you want to train to be a part of Team USA, the training needs to start now!  Each individual plays a small part in the making of a great team.  When everyone on the team gets stronger, the boat gets stronger!

Battle on the Bay Announcement (Weather Update)

The Battle on the Bay staff and crew have taken the advice of Galveston officials and made the decision to cancel the August 26th date for Battle on the Bay, Galveston.  Safety is priority for our participants and guests.  We are in contact with Moody Gardens and will determine an alternative date as soon as possible.  We are also in contact with the Moody Gardens Hotel.  They are very aware of the weather situation.  For those who have made room reservations through the Battle on the Bay discount code, we will have more information as soon as we receive it.  For those who reserved rooms through other sites or methods, you will need to contact them directly about your cancellations.  This also goes for those who set up AirBnb housing.

Once again, we will do our best to make sure Battle on the Bay goes on in the safest way possible.

Thank you for your patience and support!

Battle on the Bay Staff and Crew

Battle on the Bay | August 26, 2017 | Galveston, TX

Welcome race participants and fans! How about a place where both the sport of dragon boat and stand-up paddle racing meet and battle at an event like no other! With the combined forces of Island Paddle and Houston Heat Dragon Boat Club, we are excited to bring both paddling disciplines to one great event: The Galveston Battle on the Bay, held at Moody Gardens! We’ve taken our first-hand experience and input from fellow participants to put together an event like no other! This truly will be a paddling event run by paddlers! So gather your SUP and paddle! Round up your dragon boat crew! We’re gonna race until we see who comes out on top! Then at the end event, we’re gonna turn the top SUPs and the top dragon boat teams loose and see who is king! Not yet ready jump in on the races? Come out anyways! Spectator admission is free! Check out the website at www.battleonthebaygalveston.com

Coaching, in general, is a thankless job!

If the team wins a race, the paddlers usually believe that they did most of the work, which is true. But, the coaches also have a big part in determining the outcome of those races, since they must have done their homework well and got the most out of each paddler’s potential for that event. However, if the team doesn’t do so well, it is the coach who usually gets a lot of the blame!

Houston Heat has some experienced coaches who don’t mind helping their own HH teammates, as well as paddlers from other teams become the best that they can be. Most of the time, they are well appreciated by their teammates, but, sometimes, they are not.

For all the effort and preparation time spent by each of the coaches in getting ready for a particular event, let’s show our appreciation now for all the Houston Heat coaches: Jeff, Albert, David, Matt, and Jackson!

Also, our club has someone else who has been part of the backbone and strength of the club for a very long time… Mas Nash. For the last couple of years, she has been part of the Team USA coaches who have put together the men and women representatives to compete at the world level. We also want to thank her for being part of our organization, too!

Thank you coaches for your dedication, your leadership, and all the sacrificed paddling time just so you can coach/steer the teams. Thank you Houston Heat for 10 dragon years.

Front and back of the miniture paddle, gifted to each of the 2016 HH coaches from a long time Heater.
Included is the Herbert Gee patch…Always in our Hearts!

Houston Heat’s 3rd Dragon Boat Youth Paddling Clinic

Attention ALL youths ages 14 – 17!

Houston Heat Dragon Boat Club is holding a free paddling clinic on Saturday, July 23rd at Clear Lake Park (Mud Lake side), on Clear Lake Park Road, Seabrook, TX 77586. The nearest address is: 5001 NASA Rd, Seabrook TX 77586. Meet and register promptly at 8:30 am and spend one hour on the water paddling with other friends, family or teammates around the same age.

Houston Heat is an established year-round dragon boat club and has experienced coaches to train and steer you through an exciting, fun filled session. Paddles and personal floatation devices are supplied, but bring sunblock and plenty of fluids. Dress accordingly for a water sport. Come learn first hand the ultimate team building sport, where every seat plays an important role in which boat gets to the finish line first.

Check the Practice Registration section, sign up, and look forward to some paddling fun!

(Flyer designed by: Bouncing Pixel)

Happy 10th Birthday Houston Heat!

Happy 10th Anniversary Houston Heat! How did time go by so fast? Our club had its humble beginnings in June 2006, and the premise is the same today as it was back then – a group of people paddling together in a dragon boat because they love the sport and the challenges it presents. After a few years of leasing boats, Houston Heat made a significant investment in its future and acquired 3 boats, thanks to the efforts of David, Jeff, Herbert, Ann and Albert. The 4th vessel in our flotilla is owned by David’s Exmar Offshore Company but he generously makes it available for HH use as well as the storage facility.

Early practice sites were at Tony Marron Park on Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Watersports complex near Pearland. Soon after securing long term storage agreements at nearby warehouses, regular practices began in Sugar Land and Clear Lake, instead.

Many wonderful memories have been created as HH teams entered in local competitions and also traveled to the Woodlands, Austin, Dallas, Grand Prairie, Oklahoma City, Shreveport, New Orleans, Boston, Tampa, Long Beach, San Francisco, Denver, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Hawaii and Hong Kong. Along the way the Gulf Coast Dragon Boat Alliance was created, with teams consisting of the Houston Heat, Austin Coolers, Dallas DUC Delite, Pink Phurree, Blind Fury, Cajun Invasion, All Hands Abreast, FYP Island Warriors, Gavel Dragons, and Exmar. Many of our members have also taken the opportunity to paddle with other teams and also qualify for national teams.

Additionally, our club members have served as participants, mentors and hosts to some extraordinary teams and organizations that recognize very special people in need of some physical activities that allow them to compete with other athletes in a team water sport. Some of these special teams served to date have been the visually impaired (Blind Fury), Cancer survivors (Pink Phurree, All Hands Abreast, Cajun Invasion) and the Youth teams.

HH has also been a social club, of sorts, and there have been a number of hook ups, babies, and grand babies that have enriched the lives of many members. Special thanks to Margaret for those times when she hosted the annual HH birthday celebrations at her home and swimming pool as well as the times when the Yee Family has generously invited HH to their private compound for some needed boats/trailers and gear maintenance.

But, most importantly, we have learned to function as a team in the boat. It is not always the strongest team that gets to the finish line first, but the team that is most in sync with one another. Every seat is vital and taking ownership, wherever one is assigned, is and has always been critical to our success. We understand to not take this sport for granted, as life changes can have a profound effect on each of us. Houston Heat lost a Board Member and mentor a few years ago, the Honorable Judge Herbert Gee, but he would always paddle as long as he was capable and performed the best he could every time he set foot in the boat.

Special shout out to a few of the current members who were with HH for their first competitive DB race in Tampa 2006: Coach Albert, Ann, David, Mas, Matt and Si. Your dedication and longevity speaks volumes and clearly shows everyone the right way to embrace the sport. Also, thanks to our current coaches, Albert, David, Matt, Jeff and Jackson for always putting in extra time and effort to help us to always remain a competitive force on the water.

Because of the way our members carry themselves, Houston Heat is well respected throughout the dragon boat community. As we move forward to the next 10 years, may we continue to always display the principles of respect and good sportsmanship that the club was founded on. Many past and present members have contributed to make this club successful. Always wear your colors proudly and wish Houston Heat a very Happy Anniversary!
(Picture credit goes out to: Si Tran)

Houston Heat’s 2nd Annual Youth Dragon Boat Clinic

Houston Heat Dragon Boat Club strives to promote the rich cultural history of the dragon boat sport and to bring community involvement and awareness to our paddlers — from working with the Lighthouse of Houston’s blind paddlers, Blind Fury, to promoting greener waterways through Houston Heat Goes Green.  HH is all about teamwork, leadership, community, and hard work — we aim to have fun AND do some good!

Earlier this July month, we held our 2nd annual Youth Paddling Clinic in Clear Lake. Our purpose for this event was to introduce the sport of dragon boat to youths between the ages of 14-18. It was exciting to do so for the younger generation and help them learn how to work together as part of a competitive team.

While unloading our two boats, there was a family (1 adult, 6 kids) casually walking by the water, while observing our oddly shaped boats. We invited (or persuaded) them in joining us and they were excited for this opportunity to participate. Of course, we didn’t tell them how long the event would last and that there were no restroom breaks.

In total, nineteen brand new young paddlers, between the ages of 11 and 17, woke up super early on Saturday to spend their summer morning paddling in the Clear Lake waters. We hope they enjoyed the experience and will continue to participate in future dragon boat events.

We also want to take a moment to thank all of the volunteers who drove the distance to spend almost 4 hours in the scorching heat for the youth paddlers. We appreciate you and all your time in helping with this effort.

Many of our Houston Heat paddlers volunteered to help coach these young paddlers as we executed drills and paddling exercises. The coaches could see the huge improvement in the new paddlers within the short paddling session and we ended the event with a 250m race between the two boats. It was a great race, with both boats going head to head all the way to the finish line, and we couldn’t tell who won, even with video and pictures taken on land.

One of the most important things during the event was seeing the smile and excitement on the new paddlers’ faces. Check out the excitement in the jump shots from the volunteers (top) and all the youth paddlers (bottom):







A quote from our head coach Jeff, “Whether or not they come back, I could tell they had a blast and will walk away with an experience that they can talk about forever! Its days like this that keeps me going.”