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September 12th 2010
Published: September 12th 2010
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Today was mostly a work day catching up with homework save that this afternoon was my first practice with the Houhai Lake dragon boat team. There were about twenty people there and we split into two boats. A large number of the participants were foreigners and the lingua franca was English. The principle members of the crew are expat Aussies, a Mongolian guy, and a few Chinese.

It was pretty easy to get into the swing on the boat. The stroke rate is very high but the strokes are also relatively short. Because you face forwards in a dragon boat the body torsion seems reversed in direction, that is you twist into the boat rather than out of the boat. This way instead of never seeing your teammates face to face like in a rowing shell you see the guy next to you every stroke. When it comes down to difficulty I'd say rowing is much more exhausting as the dragon boat is more similar to canoeing in that it makes a muscle group surprisingly sore initially before your body gets used to it and you can go all day.

The practice consisted of on land stretching, a water
A whole mess of boatsA whole mess of boatsA whole mess of boats

There are a pair of what I think are Empacher fours but they have no rigging and I saw no oars to speak of.
warm up, some basic technique drills, a by-pairs drill for power purposes, and finally a race with the other boat. During the practice I did well enough that our stroke seat asked if I canoed or rowed, I kept to the rate pretty well. Our boat was the faster when we raced the other boat and despite briefly being stopped by another small boat we won by over half a boat length.

If I want I can go back up to three times a week at various times which I probably won't fully attend but it was enjoyable enough to do again. I also found a great little noodle stand on near campus that only charged four kuai for dinner. Overall a good afternoon.

Additional photos below
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Houhai LakeHouhai Lake
Houhai Lake

It's pretty small and a lot of people swim in it or drive paddle boats around.

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