Local Canberrans report more sightings of a blue and white Komodo on Lake Burley Griffin!

A roving regatta reporter update from Lorraine and Kate!

Lake Burley Griffin was on showcase with perfect set conditions, sunny blue skies with a mild 15 degrees that slowly crept towards 31 degrees holding off a westerly that kicked in by 11:00am.  It was a day for friends and families, dogs and local residents to come and spectate this specular sport of Dragon Boating!  Visiting clubs from the south coast, Merimbula Water Dragons, Nature Coast Dragons and Jindabyne Snow Dragons, as well as the unveiling of the Deaf ACT Paddlers, plenty of good feels popping off all throughout the day! Regatta 5 was off to a ‘fantabulous’ cracking day!

Komodo’s have been pretty busy of late, travelling long distances across the region attending races in Lunar, Sydney Harbour and Bei Loon and to local regattas. Typically, a Komodo begins their journey well before sunrise and on arrival to LBG, if you listen carefully, you can hear the snapping of twigs as Komodo’s start appearing through the tree lines of the Grevillea Park escarpment. Being territorial to Lake Burley Griffin, Komodo’s are quite comfortable in their natural environment, knowing precisely where to claim that piece of estate for cool refuge under the canopy of trees.

Whilst coaches Kim and Thea, disappear into the security of a four door ‘Toyota Carola’ work continues behind the scenes, making those final crucial deliberations on configs. Komodo’s thoroughly enjoy that early boost of caffeine as part of their preparations, complementing those moderate levels of adrenalin and endorphins, others enjoy a light snacks like yoghurt and muesli, nuts and plenty of H2O!

The verdict is out! With other inspirational fellow team paddlers trialing for Aurora’s, Komodo paddlers were going to be stretched thinly across the 18 races that consisted of three categories of a 20’s Women’s, Opens and Mixed 500’s.

Whilst Captain Coops is being held up in the teams mangers meeting, Coach Thea took lead with ease, prepping paddler’s for the first women’s race kicked off at 8:00am. Never enough warm-up and what’s a regatta without the ‘Nutbush’!

Final motivational brief from Head Coach, Kim and it’s a “3-2-1-Komodo and is pumped and ready to rumble!!!”

Let’s Get Down to Racing!

Komodo’s are now at that pointy end of the season, coming out of the beetroot phase and working hard into the red phase. Regatta’s provide opportunity, not only to flex muscles, test and measure our levels of fitness and endurance against other club paddlers. But importantly, they can be a testament to how Komodo’s demonstrate other essential skills: agility, adaptability, and resilience to whatever gets thrown at a paddler. This can include warming up at 5:30am to Pokémon and Duck Tunes! President Chris Mills was delighted to hear that ‘He Mele No Lilo’ has climbed back up into Komodo top 100!

As previously mentioned, Komodo’s were going to be stretched and Komodo’s stepped up! A great example of this was Aditya, who spectacularly drummed for many of the women’s races. Additionally, Ads was back-to-back with sweeping races!

Enticing weather gods were truly smiling, giving a flat calm glassy racecourse. Official starters and paddlers were in their element and races went without incident.  With the Women’s 500’s out of the starting blocks, it was Griffin’s and Invictus turning up the heat in the first two women’s heats, but Komodo women really fought back crossing that finishing line with dragon’s head in front, taking the final. Let’s not forget, women’s Komodo had only 17 paddlers, well done ladies!

The Mixed 500’s took off to a flying start in the first heat, but were cursed with ‘rockin’ n rollin’ all the way down the racecourse in the second heat. With a quick team huddle and debrief from Captain Coops, how not to fight the rock, relax those hips and go with it, and reshuffle of weight. Komodo magic all the way down that racecourse, taking out the final. Captain Coops was very pleased and decided to give everyone an exemption from the traditional 3 hour debrief huddle!

500’s Open – Komodo Opens were a strong contender, finessing their technique in consecutive wins in the heats to a convincing boat length finish. A strong longer deeper reach call from Ads, and the Komodo’s harnessed their kick and powered down the 500m straight. A thumping big ten and a power home.

 Breaking News!!

Special event of the day was the unveiling of Deaf ACT Paddlers, and who no one else better to capture this experience than from Kath O’Brien (OB) herself.

Four weeks of training and preparation as part of the DBACT/DeafACT inclusion program resulted in fierce competition between the two teams –  Buddy Dragons and Magic Dragons over 200m, with 2 heats and a final. The sweeps calls were relayed in Auslan. Some of the signs such as paddles flat, back paddle, stop the boat were created specifically for dragon boating.


One of the highlights of the day, was after the crews raced seeing paddlers from various clubs and supporters clapping in Auslan.


 It was an absolute pleasure and very rewarding experience, to share our sport with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Many paddlers from various clubs volunteered their time including my Komodo family.  A heartfelt thank you to DBACT’s approval for this program and all involved.


Thank you, OB.

(Awesome work from our Kool Komodo Kathe O’Brien)

Wonderful team support from Sweeps Kim and Julia, Paddlers Jacqui, Michelle and Vic and Pam on the drum.

Again, paddlers were being stretched across racing and if you weren’t out on the water, it was a quick ‘Do-si-do’ back to line up for the next race. Indulge in a bit of fun banter and strike up those conversations amongst fellow paddlers, music, food, politics, world’s longest plank…and…NAPISAN!  ‘But what’s ‘Napisan?’ you ask Matt and how do you get a Komodo shirt so white?’

Whilst other paddlers jostling around the marshalling area, a brief scuttlebutt broke out amongst the 500’s Open, leaving some paddlers slightly dazed, yet curious in wonder… ‘Was it fake news, fact or fiction?’  Some described a weird phenomenon happening out on the lake with strange parallels to that of the Netflix series ‘Wednesday’ (Adams Family)…Was there a “Wednesday” (Pam) cameo? And let’s not forget it was only a full moon last week! What’s not to wonder, are there ‘Wolverines’ who walk and paddle amongst Komodo?

Congratulations to Ursula Ross, debuting in her first regatta with Komodo, powering from the sprint room!


Regatta’s don’t happen without the support of volunteers, a BIG THANK YOU to all!

Final words from Coops and Milly summed up the day. It was great to see to us all improve on each race, taking on the feedback, to reach and find depth with each stroke. Whilst our best races on the day were the finals, each race we fought to do the best for ourselves and our team!

(and it’s ok to win as well 😁)

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