This year we have three new Directors, individuals who support the team by donating their time to manage the legal and financial responsibilities of a non-profit organization. Welcome our new Directors: Billy Leung (Vice-President), Dennis Chhean (Secretary), and Kenny Kim returning for his last term.
Also joining us this year is our new Co-Captain, Tabitha Huang.
Season Kick off is Feb 18.
The 2012 race season as of Jan 1st 2012 is as follows:
2012 Season Opener from Delwin Leung on Vimeo.
Hope this message finds everyone in good health, physically and mentally refreshed, and eagerly anticipating this weekend's official kick-off to your team's 15th season! To all of our newer members, welcome! We look forward to getting to know you and of course, developing your abilities both on and off the water to help fulfill your wildest dragon boat fantasies; to all returning members, we are very much looking forward to an exciting season filled with new experiences & travel, inspired training, fun, commitment, new benchmarks, and surprise. Hope you're pumped for what will certainly be a unique season, and not just because I'm saying so...
Earning our berth last October to compete at the Hong Kong Club Crew World Championships in July this year, our 15th season no less, represents such a monumental milestone for our organization. It's an achievement that probably even those who've been with the team for 8+ years could only have begun to envision over the past few seasons as we've continued to 'grow' into this team sport. And it represents not only the strength and potential of our National paddlers, but of our entire team and culture. Though quite a few teammates have had great opportunities to compete at the international level as members of combined crews, we'll have our first-ever LARD teamUSA represented at the international level! Having said that, we truly want to encourage the ENTIRE team to participate in Hong Kong!
Season 15 is right smack ahead of us. Like the Sunday of a race weekend, yesteryear was only a starting point for our goal-setting in 2012. We've only done what we've expected of ourselves. It has been great to see, hear, and/or read about everyone's off-season pursuits in continuing an active, healthy lifestyle off the boat. Your improved fitness and PRs will undoubtedly position the team to start off stronger than ever, and I truly believe that it is never too late to be in the best shape of your life. So come on out and show off whatcha' been up to, fuel that spark you know your teammates will ignite, meet your new teammates-- heck, introduce some new ones-- and spread the LARD spirit!
On behalf of your coaches, GO LARD!
If you were not aware, our beloved -- okay, not so beloved -- shed has been torn down and replaced! All hail the new shed!
What a season. The journey started over 9 months ago and we have shared fond memories at Arizona (Gilda and Yolanda, LARD plus Wasabi), Vancouver (I heard there was a Gilda vs. Yolanda showdown), Long Beach (two crews in Comp A is amazing), SF (fastest American mixed and open crew), and San Diego (West Coast Champs!). The success of the season isn’t measured in the amount of medals earned, but in the growth of each individual as a paddler from February to October. The coaches understood at the beginning of the year that this team possessed the building blocks for a great season, with the enthusiasm of our greener members and a group of veterans hungry after last season’s performance. The combined force with Wasabi at Tempe was a great experience, but also gave us a realization that we had a lot of work to do. You guys responded with a singular focus. One of the most notable results of our training was the emergence of depth on our team. Frankly speaking, depth of strength was never a strong point for LARD. You guys changed that in one season. Fielding two of our crews in Comp A of both the Long Beach and San Francisco race was unprecedented. Consistently fielding a third crew was only a pipe dream a few years ago. The coaches had difficulty with crew selection for each race, and this was a testament to the hard work and progression of every paddler.
A quick summary of the season: We’ve once again established ourselves as one of the elite teams on the West Coast. We have an out standing second and third boat. We are one of the teams to represent the USA next year in Hong Kong. That’s a heavy plate of accomplishments going into the new season.
Now is the perfect time to heal any nagging injuries, maintain or improve your fitness, and work on technique. Every member should understand his or her strengths and weaknesses as a paddler. Don’t be hesitant to contact a coach to help you transform those weaknesses into strengths. Most importantly, please stay motivated. If there were any regrets from this past season, channel it as motivation in the off season. Whether it’s the 0.19 seconds at PDBA, the 0.2 seconds at Long Beach, or a seat on Black (if you paddled on Red) or Red (if you paddled on White), please discover that driving force for self improvement that will ultimately benefit the team.
This season, LARD’s 15th, will be an exciting one that could be remembered as one of the most accomplished seasons ever. The coaches are motivated. You are motivated. Everyone will be pushed like never before to reach their peak potential. As a U.S. representative in Hong Kong, how can we afford not to commit our best effort? The coaches are fortunate to have a special group of paddlers like you, a collection of so many committed and hardworking individuals who love this team.
On an unrelated note but deemed too important not to mention, I would like to thank the leader ship, specifically the board members and captains, for their sacrifice and hard work. We are spoiled to have such responsible and passionate leaders, and no other teams’ leadership is comparable. With a new mix of leaders set for next year, we’re primed for another successful and well organized season.
I noticed LARD around the time that they started land training and I would see flying medicine balls during some of their workouts. Initially, I never gave it much thought about joining, since my observation occurred during my early years of dragonboating. As my college years were coming to an end, I had hoped to continue paddling in my post-collegiate career and was interested in joining LARD. I had a great resource in Megan to ask her about joining LARD, their membership fees, the general attitude of team, and their competitiveness. Thanks Megan! In addition, I had conversations with several of alumni, such as Morris and Daniel, who had paddled in the past with LARD and they only had positive things to say about this team. I also remember researching about teams in Long Beach. In my opinion, they seemed like the most organized team and showed the most enthusiasm for this sport from Scott’s paddle reviews on his blog (which is why I bought my Kiola), to the LARD website.
After “gathering my data”, I formulated that I should see what all the hubbub was about. I joined in June 2010, but my practices with the team were sporadic due to my obligations as a good student and captain of my college team. But even in my brief stints with the team, I appreciated the fact that this team knew how to have a good time and keep the mood light, but focused during practices. During my, technically, first full season with LARD, I enjoyed the variety of personalities on the team from Otto’s creepiness to Scott’s constant “be a man” demeanor. I also enjoy that this team knows how to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
first competitive race with the team was the 2011 Long Beach Festival and I remember the race like it was a few months ago. I noticed the competitiveness of the heats and the heartbreak of our 500m and 250m finals. But our successive races have shown that this team handles adversity well, while having a good time doing it. I hope we bring that motivation and drive to kick butt in HK next year. Thank you to the coaches for all your hard work and everyone on the team because you guys are the ones that motivate me to improve myself to ultimately improve the team. GO LARD!
Content As my sixth season with LARD comes to an end, so too is the end of my journey as Captain. From the debut of Gilda & Yolanda in Tempe 2010, to the PDBA Regional Championships in San Diego this October, it has been quite a ride. On land or water, LARD fights with guts and heart. Through the blood, sweat, tears, moans and groans, you all have been an inspiration. With your dedication and commitment, you continue to fuel me to be a better paddler and person. As we enter our fifteenth season with a lot of expectations, I am excited to continue this adventure with our amazing team. All for one, and one for all! (Picture paddles in the air, instead of swords). It was an honor being your Captain and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. GO LARD!
I love the mountains, but my body sure doesn’t. The Lake Gregory Dragonboat Festival aka Camptime took place once again in the lovely San Bernadino mountains and a crew of LARD campers were able to make the early morning trek, ready to paddle despite the Lake Gregory lack of oxygen. Maybe it’s me getting old, as I don’t recall having altitude issues in the past, but sure enough, even before I put that swollen pfd on, my insides felt like they were in a hot air balloon, except my crispy skin wasn’t budging. Crispy fresh mountain air is nicer than smog though.
Leon started the day with a warmup, having us jog (gasp!) across the bridge to the other side of the lake. We had our start-of-day powwow, and then headed back to the tents to start eating. As usual, we had an array of munchies set up but nibbled knowing we had one of the first races of the day. After a respectable heat, the nibbling turned into a daylong chow down interspersed with the occasional race here and there. The Kenny had his taco stand open, Andy had his BBQ pit smoking away all day, countless delicious home made goodies were brought in, snacks were overflowing, and Sheryl drove all the way to the Lake to deliver a mountain of fruit!
After a day’s worth of camp picnicking, chat, wordfeud, and races, the traditional waterslideintomurkypit is a must. Complete with team paparazzi ready to take something you’ll want to destroy later. This little rite of passage is always the perfect end to the camp day before taking things down for the caravans back home. We had a smaller crew than usual this year, but it was a respectable showing and part of what makes this team such a warm and fuzzy group. New and veteran paddlers came together for a day to enjoy a different venue and to bond over a low stress competition. While this was still a race, and we still proudly wore our jerseys, we knew this was a break from the usual training. Fun was had, but from here on, we all know we have business to do.
This delectable reward was graciously offered to LARD RED paddlers by our eversogenerous coach, Otto Jan, for placing 3rd in the Comp A Division Finals. What is Yogurtland? That delicious treat wasn’t the only awesome event to happen that weekend.
Once again, Diesel Fish graced us with their friendly pres ence, and we were ready to host the hell out of them this year. Our team prepared a welcom ing and nutritious food table to keep everyone’s energy high and stomachs full. The gents of our team offered up their services as Master Spam Musubi Chefs and created a couple platters worth of the scrumptious seaweed, rice, and spam combination. During the dead time between races, I ran a fun, Diesel Fish customized set of Jeopardy questions to entertain the native San Franciscans with. At George’s Greek Café, Phil put together an incredible ice breaking game that involved sharing some details we never knew about even our own teammates. And last, but definitely not least, KDub and C-Dub elevated the Cake Wars to a whole other level with their dragon boat decorated tri-cakefecta.
What about the races, you ask? Well, LARD showcased their incredible strength and depth this year at Long Beach with all three LARD Boats. We came out in numbers, and LARD Red and Black flew out of the gates taking 1st in of all the qualifiers. Both our gender boats destroyed the competition with shiny solid gold medals. At the end of the day though, we weren’t able to take first for Mixed I. LARD Black and LARD Red finished a solid 2nd and 3rd respectively, but that didn’t break our spirits. We ran the best races we could and finished that weekend feeling inspired, hungry for more, and AWESOME like the FAMILY that we are.
It was 2004 that I encountered LARD as a coach in Long Beach. In Long Beach, we placed 3rd in Division 5A (LARD II finished 4th in 3A). I remember telling my team at the ’04 Merced race, “This is one of the top teams of southern California; to be in the same division as them with only 7 practices should be our target.” By that foggy Sunday, we had finished 2nd in Comp B Consolation, just one second behind LARD Red. Looking at 2004’s roster now, it’s odd realizing that just 7 years ago, I looked over at Chuck, Jessie, Evelyn, and Karen and told my team “Let’s kick their ass, guys!”
Fast forward to 2011, the year I told my Bay Area paddlers in 2010 I’d come out of retirement. The problem though, was finding a team. I didn’t know I’d move down to LA, and be forced to learn everyone’s name at dim sum. Then came joining, and realizing I left all my gear back in SF since I had no plans of even paddling. Fast forward again to the Treasure Island race, where double duty on LARD RED and WHITE brought back past memories of seeing a clump of red uniforms gather around the marshalling areas, recapping races. Except this time, I was part of that clump of red. Paddlers that I introduced into dragonboating seven years ago were now on different teams and presenting serious competi tion. But the confidence that my team had worked to get to the point where we were mentally prepared to stay calm and concentrate entirely on paddling and less on psychological intimidation made me feel at ease. Despite getting smoked by One West during the starts in one of the heats, I knew our boat had a job to do: get in the finals with LARD BLACK, of course!
It made me feel at peace that I kept the promise to start paddling again in 2011, because I found a team that had the dynamics, discipline, and determination I yearned but could not find. I could not ask for a better team to be pull me out of retirement after four years. Looking forward to 2012 and my 2nd (and hopefully not my last) season!
Fruit counts as a dessert, too. What’s a holiday if there’s no dessert? But all too often, that piece of pie or cake after an already indulgent dinner sends us into food coma oblivion. So try using a fruit as a base of a lighter dessert. It’s equally delicious but packs a much more nutritious punch!
Poached pear with salted caramel ice cream is one of the few desserts that would work warm or chilled. And it’s versatile enough to star in an elegant dinner party but no fuss enough to be enjoyed while playing Scrabble in your pjs. Serves 6
*For this recipe, I used Trader Joe's 2009 Late Harvest Moscato from Paso Robles. The sweeter the wine, the sweeter your fruit will be since no sugar is added to cook the fruit.
This year’s November yard sale was great! We raised $1,105. Susan was nice enough to allow us to use her front lawn again. There were a lot of interesting items up for sale including a Christmas tree, two George Forman grills, and two strips of computer memory. There were many customers including Susan’s neighbors who spent over thirty minutes trying to fit everything they could into the $5 bag. There was also a woman who kept coming again and again and bought over $30 worth of stuff.
We had pizza for lunch. There was a lot of food available throughout the day including pizza, waffles, porridge, and chicken tortilla soup. It was great seeing everyone pitch in. I’m sure everyone was glad to get rid of their excess junk that’s been taking up space at home including obsolete items, clothes that no longer fit, and dishes that have been replaced. It was a great way to close out the season. I’m definitely looking forward to the next yard sale!
2012 is going to be an epic year for the first time ever, LARD will travel to Hong Kong to participate in the IDBF Club Crew World Championships. In addition to that we will be racing many of our usual venues including San Francisco, Tempe, and San Diego.
Over the years, we have risen from a hodgepodge group of paddlers to a cohesive team that is successful both on and off the water. This wasn't done overnight. It took the hard work of every single one of you. If you ever put on a LARD jersey, you are part of our success.
Unfortunately, there is an area that we frankly suck in. And suck is a generous word for our performance in this area. Despite the growing pile of medals in my garage that to some signify the team's success, our efforts to obtain meaningful sponsorship is nonexistent. We complain about LARD dues. I agree, in tough times it's a sacrifice to cough up dues but did you know last year the team's total expenditures was over $28,000.00? Expenditures include things like boat rentals, insurance and boat registration fees. Last year we had approximately 80 members each paying dues of $150 per person. So last year, the team collected $12,000.00 in dues. We had a few LARD sales that net approximately $1000.00. You can see that although $150 per year hurts the pocket book, our dues alone are not enough to keep the team afloat.
The area we suck in the most (sponsorship), if improved, can actually help us bridge this gap and allow us to spread the dragon boat love locally and worldwide. A few of us have started LARD's sponsorship committee to try and bridge this gap and we have made some great strides to date but we need your help. We are reaching out to businesses in the community and educating them in the world of dragon boating and providing them a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure in our community. LARD can help these business grow by creating more awareness of their business and products. In exchange, they can help us grow. A prime example, look at the influx of Kialoa paddles not only on our team but across our beach. We made the community aware of these paddles and because of that, Kialoas are popping up all over Mother's Beach (and beyond).
So what can you do to help? Simple. We all know of businesses that can benefit from exposure and awareness in our community. It can be a company you work for, your parents work for or own, hell, it can even be a company that you buy from that you think would be a good fit for LARD. Here are some areas that we are approaching that might help you: paddle companies, sporting good stores, food/drink makers, financial institutions, insurance companies, local and chain restaurants, and other nonprofit organizations. The sky is the limit!
You do not (and should not) approach these companies on your own. We have a sponsorship packet in place (translated into Chinese as well) and have templates for all the correspondences you need. Just contact Kenny or me and we can guide you in the right direction.
Let's not suck at sponsorship. Step it up.