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.”



Paddling for precious medals at 2015 OKC PaddleFest

Greeting paddlers, reporting from Oklahoma City site of the June 27, 2015 Oklahoma City Dragon Boat Paddlefest. We appreciate all those that carpooled and shared rooms to keep expenses down for the long drive. It was fun stopping along the way for the foodies and sightseers. Several teammates had participated last year but this was the first year Houston Heat entered a full roster. After a bit of uncertainty for the dragon boat racing agenda, the festival organizers did compromise and the race schedules were expanded to the enjoyment of all teams.

HH practices as with most Texas teams were limited due to unseasonal rainy weather conditions that caused a few practice cancellations. When we did have opportunities to paddle, coaches pushed hard and the team responded. Other festivals on the HH calendar in Dallas and Grand Prairie were already cancelled because of weather related issues so the team was more than eager to make the 8 – 9 hour drive and compete in 20 person and 10 person boats. The OKC racing site was indeed worth the trip. Thanks to sponsors it was a beautiful architectural watersports complex that was shared between rowers and paddlers competing that day. The racing schedule began late afternoon Saturday and lasted until 10:00 pm. Great nighttime racing under the lights followed by an impressive fireworks display. There were also man-made climbing parks adjacent to the race site that many festival goers got to visit.

Houston Heat was entered in 200m and 500m races for both 20 and 10 person boats. As expected, HH faced stiff competition from strong intrastate rivals Austin Coolers, Dallas DUC, and Lone Star. When all Texas teams reached the podium to accept medals it was a sight to see, especially in the state of Oklahoma. Racing starts were not altogether because of inconsistency from the festival starters, but it did get better as the day progressed. Water conditions were good and lanes well defined, so it was anybody’s race and the times were close.

So for the results, HH finished first in 500m 20p, second in 200m 20p, first in 500m 10p, and second in 200m 10p. Very strong showing for our first team entry in OKC and there were no substitutes – everyone paddled hard and left it all on the water. Coach Albert accepted his obligatory water cooler shower knowing he did his best to strategize, train and get us to the finish line in good shape. Coach David had come in from an international trip and made it in time for the first heat, and he also did some steering for the 10p boat. Ann did a lot of work as usual to get the communications out and work with festival organizers to make it an event we would like to come back to.

Congrats to all of you that participated – pats on the back forward and …
(Picture credits goes to: Ann Wong)

HH Cross Training to the Extreme

The HH Coaches always advocate doing cross training in other sports or exercise that stress various parts of the body and cardio work that builds up strength and endurance for our dragon boat paddling teammates.

When the 2015 Chevron Houston Half & Full Marathons were held recently, some of our Houston Heat members who have been training vigorously for running these distances finally completed their journeys. There was a great sense of pride from their colleagues and coaches for their dedicated training and perseverance in completing what they had set out to do.

Kudos and some well-deserved rest are in store for Linda Heth, Graham Everett, Jackson Lau, Yu Min Liu, Ernesto Rodriguez and Luis Perez for taking on the Full Marathon while Mike Nguyen (no training) and Joel Castaneda did the Half Marathons and Linda Fox ran a 5K (too short in comparison!).

We’re all excited that the dragon boat off season training has been going on so well for some of our members but we all need to ramp it up in the near future as the competitive juices start flowing again as we prepare against the other DB teams.

It’s almost time to Heat It Up again!
(Picture credits go out to: Joel Castaneda, Mike Nguyen, Jackson Lau)