Hey TeamLARD and friends,

This coming Saturday and Sunday will mark the official start to the new 2002 dragonboat season! New and old members, we would love to have you out to participate. We closed off last season strong, taking 4th place overall at the Bay Area International Dragonboat Festival in San Francisco! The momentum from last season has translated into a dedicated group of officers and an expanded membership in core.

Still, there are many exciting things in the horizon for the LA Racing Dragons. We are proposing the official start of the season so that we can field a strong, full crew for this year’s Vancouver race. Besides Vancouver, we will be participating in the staple Long Beach and San Francisco. Finally, drum roll…this year, we will be representing Los Angeles at the national championships in Oakland! We will be able to compare our west-coast skills with those of the Mid-West and East Coast.

Don’t miss the boat! Your participation will determine your placement within the race crews.

I want to thank the core who endured the harsh Southern Californian winters during the off-season, as well as welcome a great new group of paddlers to the team.

We will be holding a BBQ on the first Sunday of March (3rd) after practice. Please feel free to invite friends, co-workers, etc. out to join us in celebrating the start of another successful season. I look forward to meeting new faces, as well as seeing some familiar friends. So come on out! Feel free to forward this on. If you have any questions, or just want to chat, please contact me (information below). Practice schedule and directions can be found on the website.

I wish you all the best.

Leon Cheng

Behold the behemoth that is the original Long Beach dragonboat! If you look closely you can see some of us wearing the shed life-vests back when they were new -- they ain't so new anymore, sorry.

There were two paddles to choose from, a wooden grey owl, or a wooden hi-performance grey owl paddle. Most of us opted for the hi-po option and started tagging all of our equipment with the LARD logo, an endeavor that has taken on a life of its own.

But back to the monster fiberglass dragon boat. This thing was big. This thing was heavy, really really heavy. It wasn't physically possible to pick this thing up. To get the boat into and out of the water you had to just shove as hard as possible and pray for high tide. We would often use inflated boat bumpers as rollers to assist but it was still a tremendous effort to move the boat into and out of the water. The boat was so heavy there were several practices that had to be cancelled due to low turn-out as it just wasn't physically possible to move the boat with less than 10 people (well 10 if you didn't want to all develop hernias and back problems).

And the seating. Examine the photo above. Note the solid benches which added even more weight to the boat and made bailing water that much more fun. On the plus side, the benches never creaked and there was never a fear that they would break under the weight of some of the larger paddlers we've had over the years.

When these boats were finally replaced, it is difficult to explain the joy we felt. If you had paddled in these boats you would understand the true enormity of our success in the early years.

Kenny K reminiscing 2010

The Original LARD Newsletter

May 2002 Issue

Los Angeles Racing Dragons Foundation

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