Lunar New Year 2024 – Year of the Wooden Dragon

Roving Reporter Trevor Plant

The weekend of 17-19 Feb brought Komodian’s from their home lake to the big smoke to race against teams from across Australia on Sydney’s iconic Darling Harbour over 180m. The weekend was filled with racing, recovery and a formalised plan to create Komodo’s new home in the South Pacific.

The racing on Darling Harbour always has a little more excitement attached – after thumping your way down the 180m course in a twenties boat, the water starts to run out and a big wall appears. Adrenalin is pumping by the time the sweep screams “Stop, Stop, Stop the boat!” Hopefully they remember to call the “Big 10, Power Home!” before the finish line so that you aren’t accelerating into the wall.

While most of the crew were smashing out a Friday work day prior to slogging their way up the highway, Club President Chris Mills was getting the weekend off to a corporate racing start. Chris paddled with a team of veterans supported by Invictus Australia competed in the Corporate cup racing. Chris is one of AusDBF’s veteran ambassadors, providing an opportunity to veterans to experience paddling and find new options for participating in sport. Chris and the team finished first in their final – a fantastic result given they had been paddling together for only a month. Thanks for flying the Komodo flag on Day 1, El Presidente and congratulations on the result!

Away race weekends always bring some extra challenges – where do I get my morning half-caf, double decaf latte with a little lemon twist? Who prepares the best smashed avo on sourdough? Where the hell are we going to find shade and shelter from the heat in the concrete furnace that surrounds the water. Queue the W! This year our early rising stealth team secured primo position under the W hotel – close to marshalling and amenities for those last minute dashes prior to racing.

Komodo entered a mixed team in the Saturday racing and needed to crack the top 24 to be invited to race in the Inaugral Sydney International Grand Championship. Progression through Saturday heats was through time and there were 60+ crews entered on the day. Komodo’s first race was Heat 7 and first place was secured in a tick over 49 sec. Sweep Tom was acclimatising to the course and trying to locate the supposed finish line, had a minor misjudgement and called the “Big10, power home!” over the line (after the beep) and that big wall got awful close awful quick! A full twenties boat with the right motivation (no land in the boat) can stop in two boat lengths – trust me on that!

One of the nice things about the “festival of hurry up and wait” in a city like Sydney and a weekend like Lunar New Year, is the chance to catch up with paddling friends from interstate – and Komodos were spotted flirting from Flames to Sloths to Different Strokes and Pendragons, renewing acquaintances and reliving stories of battle in boats.

Round 2 arrived in heat 18 and Komodo once again cracked the 50 mark to take out the heat and advance to the minor final. Lane 3 was proving a happy hunting ground, although that damn wall was still getting closer as we powered up close to or after the line. Everyone held their nerve and brakes were applied.

The minor final saw Komodo draw lane 1 and finish fourth to wrap up a fantastic 10th overall and earn the right to paddle on the Sunday in the big show. The crew had gotten their rhythm and power dialled in early and took it to the big names all day.

Saturday night was all about recovery – good food, fine beverages and refreshments – and continuing the plan for world domination. During dinner, the initial meeting of the new Cabinet of Komodia – our dreamtime home – was convened. The master plan was developed to build a high performance paddling centre on a small-ish Pacific island with top notch training facilities and accommodation, all funded through the careful mining of the recently discovered rare earth metal Komodium, essential for making all sort of electronic devices. Appointments to the cabinet were confirmed – the portfolios of Health, Sport and Recreation, Border Control & Law enforcement, Science & Technology, and Administration were allocated and Komodian President Mills was confirmed in the role.

Komodia’s national paddling team identified a number of long distance paddling events to be raced (Yukon River, circumnavigation of Australia, etc) focusing on both Dragon Boat and canoe paddling – at 444miles (or 715kms) the Yukon race was considered to be ‘about the right size’ to get out of bed for, and with favourable weather would be completed inside 4 days. Meeting over, the cabinet adjourned for cocktails and nightcaps at the Presidential Hostel.

Day two arrived with more heat and a knockout style competition to progress from heats to finals. Day two also featured a very rare event – men on the drum seat. Yours truly drummed heat 1, Will quarter final and Paul Semifinal – final TBD.

A big shoutout to Phil from Colour City Dragons who was our allocated pool sweep for the day – steady lines and cool head as we raced through the day.

Heat 1 was a cracker with Komodo edging Sloths Rebels to the line and going straight to the quarter final. The quarter final was a quick affair with Komodo finishing behind Flames Gold in a tick over 48sec. Not too shabby at all!

Semi-final time (after some quick work from Captain Coops to correct a timing error) and Komodo finished 4th to bow out of the competition. All-in-all an amazing achievement – top 10 on day 1 and top 12 on day 2. Results that show an amazing degree of depth and commitment within the club, where any team we put on the water can slug it out with the best and achieve great things.

If you haven’t experienced the thrill of racing on Darling Harbour yet, make sure to EOI when registration opens next year – this is one of the highlights of the paddling calendar and is getting better each year. Next year it would be great to have mixed, opens and women’s boats. There really is nothing like the sight of a Twenties boat racing down 180m towards a wall … Lets you know you are alive!

Regatta #5 “Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles”

Roving Report from Chris Spavins

A cool fresh morning greeted the paddlers for the DBACT regatta number  5. The blue and white brigade all rolled in at the somewhat ungodly hour of 6:42, all keeping a beady eye out for the coffee truck. The lethargy was quickly thrown off however with the call to warm up. We were greeted with some interesting musical selections, normally reserved for grandchildren but that somehow seemed to work well with this crowd of grown up children. The warm up seemed to consist of a lot of pointing at the sky and the ground as everyone started waking up. One up, two down, or was it three down and two up? Nutbush City Limits has nothing on us. 

Back to the tent and everyone was standing around trying to feign indifference to the configs that were about to be posted. Once again, the coaching team did not disappoint and we were greeted by a good selection of well balanced boats (how do they do it).

There was of course the usual grumbling from the fat boys who were once again passed over for positions in the front stroke seat or a place on the drum for the woman’s boat. Maybe after hunger games… 

The other fun aspect of this season is waiting for the naming of the crews that has created some discussion. Our high(ish) expectations were met with the mixed boats entered as Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. Taking up the theme of world domination, the open’s teams paddled as Pinky and the Brain.

The regatta itself was 10s racing over 500m. Probably as good as it gets. Enough distance to have a proper run and nowhere to hide in a 10s crew. Wonderful or, to quote Hoff, “Good!”.  

The opening races were kicked off in beautiful, almost calm conditions. Reasonable times were posted and there was some good racing. The womens and open’s boats went out early with some good times being posted, the various mixed boats went off after that for their first heats and all acquitted themselves well.

There was some good chat in one of the mixed races when Kim squeezed some of the engine room into the back bench of the sprint room. All good fun and we were assured that this was not to be within easy reach of the cat o’ nine tails.  Of course, all bets were off after a quiet start, and the sprint room got the mandatory (and deserved) nudge to lift with only about 450m to go. We had a good laugh about this afterwards, when we could breathe again. 

At this point in the proceedings, the wind picked up and all races were met with really strong headwinds. Good character building stuff. The finish times rapidly dropped by 10 to 15 seconds for each boat. The end result was a bit of a lottery in terms of selection for the finals. The women’s boat was the most affected as they ended up missing the A-Final after placing 1st in both their heats (yes, that is weirdly possible). The B-final ended up feeling their wrath as they smashed that race to take a comfortable win.

The open’s boats had a great result with Pinky and the Braining winning the A and B finals respectively. 

The mixed racing also acquitted themselves well. Absolutely remarkable that Komodo could field 3 strong boats. Buttercup took 3rd in the minor final and Bubbles beat out Blossom (I can’t believe that I wrote that) to take the win in the A-final. Not that anyone is over competitive but…the hurt in that Blossom boat was real. Rematch? Best of 3? 

That is enough about the actual racing, let’s rather discuss the amazing volunteers. Komodo provided their fair share this time and they were simply wonderful. Angela managed to get us all lined up before every race. She even got us to figure out how to line up alphabetically by surname (yes, even the open’s boats)!  No easy task. And how awesome to have Christine and Michelle guiding us in with lane numbers like the best landing signal officers at the busiest airports. Sorry to see them and the other volunteers not on the water but it is so appreciated. The net result was a regatta that even ran ahead of schedule. No mean feat when you consider the wind at the startline.

Unfortunately nothing lasts forever (except for multiple 2km runs, they never end) and the day was wrapped up with some discussion about the channeling of your spirit animal. There does not appear to be too much debate about the role of hippo. A few other ideas were proposed and the suggestion of “honey badger” was shot down as quickly as it was proposed (and hence, no names mentioned here to protect the innocent).

A good conversation to have over a well deserved beer at the end of a day of racing. A big thank you to everyone involved with all the behind the scenes work in getting everyone there and on the water in configured boats and, not least, for providing the beer and BBQ, what a perfect way to close out a wonderful day! 

Blown Away! (and the Zac Attack!)

Roving poet Ben Kemp, reporting directly from the storm front that was Regatta #1!
The legendary roving reporter, Ben!

Get to know Ben better by taking a look here before moving on.

The first regatta of the season started with a bang! but sadly ended up being a windy fizzle. The anticipation and excitement amongst the club members leading up to the day was palpable. A good deal of rigour had gone in at training and the joy of our blue and white community was on full show as we assembled for the 6.45am roll call. A generous amount of banter and wise cracks from the usual suspects was observed; a few fresh haircuts to celebrate the dawn of a new season, and it was particularly lovely to see some new faces. It was great to see them celebrated and supported throughout the morning. 

We know what we're doing
We know what we’re doing
We know not what we're doing
We know not what we’re doing

After a good deal of the obligatory waiting around, the excitement rose when the configs were posted. A few reunited seat buddies in the women’s boat, and a good deal of empty seats in the opens boat! i.e., only six paddlers in each boat. A moment of surprise quickly turned into a willingness to rise to the challenge; the steeliness heightened further on the start line when we observed all the other crews had a full complement of ten paddlers in their boats (we Komodo folk relish a mountain to climb!)

On the racing front, I was personally excited to have that feeling once again as we sat on the line waiting for the starters call: a shared nervousness and a curious desire to push oneself into glorious discomfort! Isn’t that why we love this sport? Strange folk we are!

Despite the challenges of drifting boats at the start line, the women’s crews blasted out of the blocks and did the club proud. Personally, I enjoyed the challenge of a smaller crew in the open’s boats, and it was noticeable that with each race, we relaxed and settled into the task. The mixed boats are always a joy to be in, and naturally brings out the competitive spirit within the club i.e., mate vs mate. To be frank, I am not entirely sure whether I was in the ‘la,’ ‘di’ or ‘da’ boat. I just waited for a familiar voice to call me over “Oi! over here mate” Sadly, it was at this point that the regatta was called off. From my understanding, all crews would have qualified for the final.

Zac Attack!

For reasons of posterity, I felt compelled to include this endearing image of Zac yelling expletives at a gazebo pole that would not cooperate. It was whispered to me by an observer (who explicitly asked to remain anonymous) that he might need to engage in a little more gym work to successfully get the job done. What exactly Zac might have been yelling at the gazebo pole. Well, I’ll leave that open to the comments section…

ACT Champs induces Komas

Roving journalists Pam, Sandi, Trev and Dan, reporting from on location at ACT Champs 2023!

The weekend of 18 and 19 March saw the culmination of the 2023 ACT Dragon Boat racing season with the ACT Championships. Crowds came along to Grevillea Park, Menindee Drive to watch all the action and the weekend was a huge success for DBACT.

With a lack of standing room available, many spectators resorted to hot air balloons.

Clubs battled it out over 200m, 500m & 2000m with Komodo crowned champions in all categories entered!

The racing was fast, furious and of course fabulous.

The meeting of the Kpaddlers, Ksweeps, Kdrummers and Kvolunteers at Grevillea Park commenced at 0645 sharp.

A quick acknowledgement of those present was recorded in the minutes.

The temperature was a tad colder than expected with many of the crew looking for some morning sun and eyeing off the potions master working his magic in the coffee van.

After a brief warm up Coach Kim rallied the team reminding us all why we were there, how hard we had worked, and what now needed to be done, finishing with a rousing call of ‘let’s get this party started’! Followed by the confused (‘is it on 1, after 1 or before 1’) 3,2,1 Komodo!

"Ok, where's the Party?"

The crew returned to Komodo barracks where members eagerly read the crew lists and memorised where they needed to be every minute of the days racing program, before settling into the familiar “hurry up and wait’ mode.

First up were the 2k races. Komodo crews White and Blue 10s women and opens and 20s mixed launched into butt kicking, thumping, twisting, getting forward and finding more water 2k racing. Sweeps mastered the corners, turning tighter than a camel’s a*se in a sandstorm and crews relished the chance to work as one in chasing down other boats.

Next up was the 200m, fast and furious sprint races 10s and 20s again. Komodo starts fired up like a bat out of hell and scorched a pathway down to the finish line. The Pitt crew were in shock and awe at the White and Blue women’s boats performances. By now the weather and wind were starting to heat up but DB ACT powered through the finals as did all Komodo boats.

On day 2 the opens crews put on a masterful demonstration for the spectators, thumping down the course in the 500s to the tune – ‘this is how we do it’.

A sight to behold, was the mixed Blue crew which put on a truly mesmerising display of synchronised paddling in the 500m race. Timing was ‘perfection in motion,’ leaving the komodo supporters on shore ‘speechless’. Even coach Kim had no words but clearly thinking ffs – they just needed an audience!

The mixed crew fought against the ‘we will rock you’ soundtrack all the way down the racecourse  in the first heat of the Senior A race. The technical glitch was ‘spoted’, and after a quick reprogramming of heads, with a more fitting soundtrack of ‘we are one’ installed in time for the second heat, the crew found their komojo, and way into the finals.

Overall Komodo rose to the occasion time after time and commensurate with the rising temperatures – a sizzling 34 and 36 degrees (eventually), turned up the heat on the competition and all crews made the finals on 500s days as well.

Unsanctioned performance enhancing popsicles

It’s been said before and will be said again because it’s true, the team is so grateful to the wonderful volunteers eg who gave up their time to support the team and represent Komodo. Komodos and friends of the family were in marshalling, time keeping, announcing (sadly because of an injury), wrangling. Our thanks to these individuals who made it possible for others to paddle.

Finishing up at the Jetty for post ACT champs hydration, the team engaged in ‘recovery’ activities before heading home and switching off into komotose mode.


To our coaching team – big love and our thanks 💙

Knock Out Win!

Knock Out Win

The most awaited annual 8km race is here!

We had every intention to write 8 K reasons why we love the Bei Loon race but just like the race, it’s now down to half of what it should have been.

So here are 4K good reasons why we love the Bei Loon race.

K reason # 1: Komodo grit

We all know that every Komodo has undeniable grit. The hunger to win resonates in every paddler not just in races but also in training. As soon as the “Komodo Beiloon 2023” group chat was formed, we all knew it was on! In true Komodo fashion, the first ever Bei Loon boat training ran for not just 8 but a total of 9.6 km (with a false promise short break after the 20min mark turn).

Heads in the boat, the Komodo Grit was in full swing as soon as the race started. Big 5, deeper, longer, 3, 2, 1 were called. The Komodo boat starting last, went for the boat in front. (Hot tip – never trash talk a blue and white boat especially right before a race). Boat after boat after boat. Aiming for the very last boat to chase, Komodo reached the 4km mark when we heard “Komodo stop!”. The blue and white boat was not happy, not at all.

The last heat ended abruptly due to dangerous weather. We were all thinking it but Michelle said it, “These Sydney siders need to toughen up”.  Cries of disappointment throughout the boat. All 18 paddlers plus the sweep still wanting to race until the very end. We all know now, nothing will stop a Komodo. Not even choppy salty water.

K reason # 2: Kick Ass Music

Thank you to our strokes, Thea and Millsy (and maybe coach Kim) for the Bei Loon playlist. Setting the rhythm of the boat, the playlist was a huge success in trainings and also the race (despite battling the wind). Everyone was definitely in the zone as the music set the rate. Few weren’t  Meghan Trainor fans but we  loved almost every single one!

K reason # 3: Killer Turns

Because Bestie takes her craft very seriously, first order of business was to watch the previous heats and strategize each and every turn. With a game plan in mind, Millsy was asked to post and two benches behind to draw deep.

Posting did not happen. I don’ t know about the other sweeps but Bestie sure as hell made those turns look easy peasy! No other boat turned as sharply as the Komodo boat did which surely helped getting ahead of the other boats!  I truly believe our sweep deserves a standing ovation. Bravo Bravo!

 K reason # 4: Knock Out Win

Okay okay so we were announced a third placer.  This is debatable. Who thinks  4km time x 2 minus “bugger” factor is the right equation? With all that hardcore training, we’re all fit as we can ever be. Komodo does not get buggered over 8km!! If anything, we go fast and we power home! So with that, I therefore conclude that Komodo won that race. We just have to race again next year to prove it. Who’s in?

Until then, Komodo will work hard and party harder. It was an over all a fun day out in the sun, doing what we do best. A day spent with beautiful happy people. Thank you coaches for always pushing us to be the best we can be and thank you teammates for making every race one for the books!

Alyssa and Kym reporting from the Northern beaches of Sydney.

Regatta #6 – Worth Camping Out For!

From roving reporters Oscar and Zac!

The last regatta before the second biggest event of our calendar, ACT Champs. With 2km and 200m races on the board, you just know it was to be a wacky and wild weekend! There was plenty of eventfulness happening before the racing got started!

Komodo paddlers proved their adaptability, both in and out of the water with having to move the club tent several times before eventually settling in near the marshaling area. Even then, scrutiny was rife, with club president Mills having to talk his way out of moving for the umteenth time. Diplomatic relations were tense at this time, but the president has done well. We look warily to the ACT Champs, with so many teams competing, will there be enough room?

Captain Coops claims that he never sits down during a regatta. I think this photo puts that claim to bed. However, with the amount of downtime accruing, this is understandable. There have been reports the Captain will be bringing his prized rocking chair, with talks of a 3 hour break this weekend.

Enduring a late night inter-state drive, dodging a ticket from a “routine” police check, surviving on scant hours of sleep in the Grevillea Park parking lot, all just to get our configs printed and to be on time for roll call. Is there anything Tom/FNG/ cannot do?? Yes, win a triathlon.

And a big welcome to Narelle, who was attending her first regatta!

With racing under way, in the 2k races had Komodo boats in the womens, opens, and Komodo White chasing Komodo Blue in the mixed. At this point in this season it was a good time to allow the coaches to fine-tune positions in the boat in preparation for Nationals, and to solidify everything that has been done in training. This produced very good results across all categories, as Komodo managed to come out on top in each one.

Midway through the racing festivities, aside from the much-awaited (and possibly a now-regular feature) Nutbush break, the members of the ACT Premier team had a chance to show a 1km pursuit race. Although some there on the day would claim that it was maybe closer to 750m, it still was a great chance to show the level of paddling at a representative state level. The ACT team consists of several Komodo paddlers and coaches, both open’s and women’s captains are from Komodo, those being Zac and Kez. Congratulations and well-deserved appointments!

The 200m races proved to be a challenge for the Komodo boats, as everyone was forced to dig deep against some of the competition in the other boats. In the mixed category, Komodo White and Blue put up an amazing fight, where all the boats finished within tenths of a second of each other. And although Komodo was not able to put up a clean sweep across the categories, it was definitely a good experience to learn and improve from for the upcoming ACT Champs, and more importantly for Nationals in April. 

A very special thank you to our coaches, committee, and especially volunteers on the day – Kristen, Nigel, Louise, and Viktor. Next stop, ACT champs!

We All Survived Regatta #5!

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 😁)

Regatta #4 with capsizes and more!


The New Year certainly started with a bang! Christmas Holidays? “So last year” and it was time to work off all that excess! The Club focus has now firmly switched to the Australian Nationals, with warm up races at Sydney Lunar, Bei Loon, potentially New Zealand and then it is on – strap in everybody!

Fabulous weather, which was a nice change, capsizes, lots of other clubs, fierce rivalry and racing, one our boats went walkabout in the 2 Km, Laura making a guest appearance from UK back with the Club and lovely to see her, Sonia supporting us in true style with her injuries and a warm welcome to our latest recruit Ben the Kiwi who was certainly thrown in at the deep end – welcome aboard! This culminated in a great BBQ and a heap of fun! Where do your roving reporters start?!

The day started early as we were the Regatta set up and pack down crew to set the day up for the racing – dressing the boats, tentage, signage etc. How many Komodo’s does it take to put up a tent? It depends how many times it has to move. While all this was going on, Thea and Kim were sorting out the Racing Configs and the results of the day showed how successful they were – great achievements all round. We had a very strong turnout and had three full 20s boats racing which brought additional challenges as we had been training with smaller crews.

What’s a warm-up without a little disco music to get everyone moving? With Coops pumping the tunes during his usual funky moves, everyone was in tip-top Phase Blue shape. Bonza motivation speeches by our Captain, President, and coaching teams.

The Racing was great – everyone was pitched in to starting the day with 2 Km racing back-to-back which certainly got rid of the Christmas Blues – “why did we eat so much and do so little exercise” we muttered! And then it was a blur of 200m races followed with some very sharp turnrounds at times – flexibility was key! Also, some valuable lessons about “removing the rock” noted for future training.

Noting some of the brilliant results which really puts paid to all our hard work and training: Komodo Opens in the 2km started from being the last boat to cross the start line to becoming the first to cross the finish. The resulting 10m51s time was a full 80 seconds faster than the second boat. Thinking of every 500m stretch as four separate races really works!

In the Mixed 20s 2km, it was Komodo Blue up against Komodo White. With Adz and Aditya sweeping beautifully, both boats romped home to 1st and 2nd

It was a while since we had seen a capsize, but it was handled well, no injuries and there was certainly some fun in the “chaos corners” of the various 2 Km races as calls, bogus shouts of “right of way” by the other sweeps who seemed to focus on the Komodo boats and clashes were handled (by Komodo anyway) very well.

The capsize was an interesting sideshow – it was at the end of a race and seemed to be in slow motion as they did a stately dance and flopped into the water. The recovery was speedy and meant they were all floating around and holding the boat with only their heads showing as if they were on the start line – but the boat was underwater!

We also had the pleasure of welcoming the DeafACT to Dragon Boat Racing and take us through our paces with Dragon Boat signing which included new Dragon Boat signs as some of the commands are not in the signing vocabulary – a very warm welcome to them and a big thanks to O’B for helping to set it all up.

A cracking day down at Grevillea and many thanks to our coaches for setting us up for success. A couple of the clubs ran us a bit closer than we thought giving the coaches plenty to consider – as we found out the next day at training! No mercy in our quest for world domination ……………..

Roving Reporters Matt and John!

Regatta 2 Strategic Brilliance!

Strategic Brilliance – that was the catch cry of the day!

Local and interstate club’s chatter was overheard around the regatta coffee van line and whispers circulated aside the portaloo hand sanitisers “did you see Komodo, they’re racing half boats?”

Regatta 2 started just like any other regatta, arriving before the sun had time to rise above the horizon and dry the dew from the grass, old friends fighting over chair placements beneath the shady trees, all the while considering the earth’s rotation about its axis and its diurnal motion as it appears to move across the sky, heated config table discussions before the marquee had been erected, and ending with coffees warming hands during Roddy’s roll call.

Eventually the config sheets went up, and came down again and went up again. Was this all part of coach Kim and Lexie’s ploy to test our mental resolve and challenge our resilience?

All the while estranged Komodos hovering around the config board bewildered as to why so many empty benches?

Yes it was a depleted Komodo crew in attendance, many missing due to illness or on international duty with the Auroras.

Nonetheless warm ups began and marshalling for race one started with our women’s crew driving and setting perfectly around the 2km course. Up next, the power of the opens boat 2km race.  Although missing six paddlers the team put in a perfect run incurring only one time penalty for being too fast around corners.

Next up the two Komodo boats went up against each other in the mixed 2km race. Being the prized event as always, honours went to Komodo white in a sizzling time of 12:50, 20 seconds ahead of Blue who took the safer wide option, paddling just over 2.47km in a time of 13:10.

With the fear of 2km behind them Komodo settled into its rhythm of 10s 200m racing. But again the numbers didn’t add up! “We only have seven paddlers” and “our sweep is also sweeping the other boat”. Confusing the officials in marshalling more than normal with our inability to alphabetise paddlers, most of whom were still on the water in another race, missing, in a coffee line or lining up for the one serviceable portaloo, we all eventually clambered into boats, swapping sides, swapping strokes or swapping banter enroute to the start line.

Ready, attention… boat one can you hear me…….?  hands ups if you can ……me, this thing is not work–g, can  you hear me–now……… GO! It’s great to see our officials keeping things moving despite equipment failures, thank you!

As always, all boats powered up and up and up and big ten now calls with 150 to go got the blood pumping enroute to the finishing line’s welcoming call of easy.

No we didn’t win! But it was so refreshing to be able to see other boats in the race. With fewer paddlers in the boat than normal 10s racing affords, Komodo crews performed admirably in every race, harnessing the lessons from training and applying teamwork, determination and technique to match it with the other full crew clubs. We know that’s Strategic Brilliance, and the hard work now will pay dividends later in the season.

It was a perfect day for racing, the scent of sausages sizzling from the Ice Dragons tent wafting tantalisingly on the mild breeze, Komodo’s attuned Alisha eloquently announcing the races and informing us of the portaloo reductions, charismatic Cindy’s safety boat safetying and jubilant Gina’s officialising contributed to a memorable day. Big thanks to our volunteers who as always make the regatta more enjoyable for all.

I don’t really know who won any of the races, but we did win the race to the line at the coffee van and got first crack of the portaloos by being first ones there.

All race results are on the DBACT website and check the link sent around for the Auroras race times. Training is on tomorrow at 9am with coffee likely to be on afterwards and where all the weekend’s racing stories can be exagerated further.

Until next time – I’m Roving Reporter 2 signing off.

Off Season Update: New Committee and Australian Selections

Winter is a relatively quiet time in the Canberra dragon boat season. With temperatures well below freezing most of the club generally takes a well-deserved break, however behind the scenes there’s been quite a bit of activity!

Annual General Meeting

On Saturday the 9th Komodo held its AGM, where among other things we:

  • Presented the overall position and goals of the club
  • Thanked our great sponsor Ainslie Football Group
  • Outlined the club’s financial position
  • Set the membership fees for next year
  • Announced the re-appointment of our Head Coach
  • Welcomed the new committee (and thanked the outgoing committee)
  • Presented the 2022/23 Komodo Season Plan

Members will get a summary via email shortly – stay tuned!

Committee Changes

A huge THANK YOU to our committee members for the last season. Our little club actually requires a lot of administration behind the scenes to keep at its peak performance. Without the dedication, time and support of these amazing people we simply wouldn’t have the beautiful blue and white family that we love.

Executive Roles

  • President – Chris Mills
  • Vice President – Michelle Ricketts
    • Thanking Agnese Di Crescenzo as our outgoing VP
  • Secretary – Jacqui French
    • Thanking Angela Notaras as our outgoing Secretary
  • Treasurer – Liza Stephenson
    • Thanking Sarah Paterson as our outgoing Treasurer
  • Registrar – Melanie Louey
  • Head Coach – Kim Toussaint
  • Captain – David Cooper

General Member Roles

  • Marketing – Karl Vaivads
    • Thanking Rachael Kadziela as our outgoing Marketing coordinator
  • Events/Logistics – Sonja Hammond
    • Thanking Brett Silk as our outgoing Events coordinator

Season Plan

Head Coach released the 2022/23 Komodo Season Plan, packed with goodies for everyone! On the back of the success of last year it could be argued we could just “rinse and repeat”. But no! Komodo doesn’t rest on its laurels, and we have a new improved plan for World Domination (2022/23 Edition).

Members will get a copy via email shortly – stay tuned!

Season Opener

Our first official function for the new season will be the Season Opening training session and BBQ at the lake.

Maybe you weirdly haven’t already convinced all of your friends, family and any strangers you meet on the street that they should be dragon boating… If not, then get out there and let them know that they really need to come along! Our Season Opener is a great target as you get training and an opportunity to hang out and enjoy a BBQ and drinks together in the Spring sunshine (I promise) by the lake.

Coaching Announcements

First, we’d like to thank Mel (Punchy) for her contribution and commitment to the club and our members as she steps down from coaching (for a while). Last season we all lived somewhere between excitement and dread when waiting to hear what we’d be doing on our Wednesday “gym in a boat” sessions! These sessions were instrumental in building the strength and lactic tolerance that we demonstrated so strongly at the Australian Championships earlier this year. Mel is now doing even more development work, this time on herself, growing two new humans! Lots of love to you and your family from your Komodo family, we miss you already!

Second, we’d like to welcome Tom (FNG) as a new assistant coach. Tom has plenty of form both paddling and coaching, including campaigns as an Aurora paddler and head coach of the highly successful ACT State Team who went on to medal strongly at the Australian National Championships this year. The coaching crew is delighted to have Tom join the team to provide his experience and knowledge to our members.

Komodo Auroras

While many of us are snuggled up over the Winter, others have been training hard for the opportunity to be selected to represent Australia. Congratulations to Mel, Tom, Chris and Coops who have been successful in making the team! Next step, the Asian Championships towards the end of this year!

Komodo Auroras Prems
Komodo Auroras

Having four members of the Komodo family make it through selections onto the Australian premier team is a testament to the quality and strength of our club. And stay tuned, there are many more members putting in the work and eyeing off spots in the Masters categories for the World Championships next year!


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