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!


ACT State Championships 2022

What can I say Komodo.
Wow, wow and bloody wow!!! What a fabulous weekend.

Day 1 – Saturday

Cool, overcast morning, there could be a chance of rain and some wind, but the start of the day is looking good for a paddle or two.

Roll call done and dusted, now time to grab a coffee. Where is the coffee van? Uh oh, coffee van was a no-show last regatta are they going to turn up today?

The usual bit of mad re-configuring teams going on by the coaches to get the teams running to perfection. Need a coffee now. But the coffee van is not here yet.

Warm up time, greatly appreciated as there was a bit of a cool breeze – tossing the spotted quoll today. There is a great buzz in the air as we come together in our huddle, do the Komodo chant and wander back to camp with the music still pumping out.

So, after a few people start to get a bit twitchy as they have not had their caffeine fix our fabulous coach goes off to investigate where the coffee van is, returning a short time later with an announcement. “The coffee van is on its way!!!”

Now to cool our heels before the racing starts and the coffee van arrives, we decide to apply the war paint, thanks to Ang. Nail polish a plenty. Of course, it is glittery Komodo blue. The women expertly apply their polish and hope that we don’t get called up too soon and smudge our nails. We then convinced a few of male team members to line up for a nail job! Coops goes first followed by Millsy, Mr T and Tom to name a few. Others are not convinced that this a such a great idea and resist the nagging from their partners. Karl!

Time to start thinking about the 2km races coming up – Men’s and Women’s teams. This is Paula’s first regatta with the Komodo family, so welcome to the Blue and White family Paula.

After fantastic 2km races by both teams, its full swing into the 200Ms. There are teams of 10 and 20, Women, Men and Mixed. Plenty of racing for everyone. Heat after heat and then into the finals, great work everyone!! By 4:00pm we are all dead beat and ready for a shower, sleep, food, hydration (Word from the Coach – please include some water) and get ready to do it again tomorrow.

Day 2 – Sunday

Overcast 15’C lake looking beautiful and expecting to get to a top of 27’C!

Roll call, then warm up.  Today’s furry animal to toss is a tiger!  Everyone pumped and ready for a second day of racing. 500Ms all day, again there are teams of 10 and 20, Women, Men and Mixed.

So, it’s off to a slow start again, not because of the lack of caffeine but due to the lack of walkie-talkies for comms between the start boat and the officials at the tent.

To pass the time and keep warm a game of mini frizzby kick off. The players are Millsy, Coops, Mr T, Karl, Lorraine, Rob S, Alyssa, Tom, Zoe and Willo. You know that saying “it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye”?  Well thankfully that didn’t happen, but we did try to take out some of the competition hurling the mini frizzby into a number of Griffin Team members and to top it off, someone (who shall remain nameless) almost took out the Chief Official. Whoops! Sorry! Meanwhile Griffin decided that a throwing game was a good idea and tried to outdo Komodo by starting a game of zucchini toss. Needless to say, they didn’t keep it going too long!

Racing gets underway and the lake is just superb, no wind, no strong currents, just the occasional wash from the ferry or other boats on the Kingston side. Racing was fantastic with all crews pushing hard and trying to improve in every race. My favourite race of the day was the Women’s 200M 20s final. It just felt like everything went right from the start to the transition, to the sprinters push, big 10 now and the power home. Thanks ladies.

During the day we had another odd announcement from the Chief Official. “Due to the excess hydration of the paddlers, the porta loos have run out of flushing water”.  After a fabulous day of racing, it’s back to camp to relax.

Some words from the Coach, Kim, thanking everyone for their efforts over the two-day event and for the great attitude that everyone had throughout the competition.

A few words from the President, Millsy, thanking everyone for being part of the Blue and White family and for their commitment throughout the whole season. Also, a big thanks to the family and friends that volunteered for Komodo that volunteered at each of the regattas. To the coaching crew, thank you for getting us this far and to all the other committee members for all that they do in the background.

Enjoy, a celebration tunnel for Liza, Mr Liza (Aka Paul), Willo and Mrs Willo (Aka Beth). Congratulations to you all.

And one last thing, is it down, is it up, is it on 3 or after 3?

One, two, three, Komodo!!!

See you on the water,


Regatta 8 (the lost paddles)

A tale of lost paddles, and other mysterious stories…


What was forecasted to be a stormy and a wet day, nothing was stopping the Komodo warriors from racing. The day turned out to be perfect!

One could not see any waves on the lake and this caused a little bit of a confusion to the paddlers, since they had to adapt to the situation and try to bring back memories about how to make a good start when the boats are not tossed around by the waves.

Before we jump into the writeup, let us seize the opportunity to say a big thank you for our volunteers and the coaching team for the awesome effort in making this regatta a success.

The day began with two sweepstakes 500ms races, where ACT State crew – Women and Opens (10s boat) raced against the clubs (20s boat) …. Bring on the competition!

WAIT, No time to rest…..let’s marshal for the 2K race! The women’s boat created waves, powered through the other boats in the race, and finished with a cracking time of 12:08.15. Races #5 and #6 were combined, which resulted in two Komodo boats in a single race. Was this a pursuit? NO! Each Komodo boat put their best effort and achieved the two best timings in the race. Komodo BLUE led the way with an advantage of 9.3 seconds ahead of Komodo WHITE.

The two seasoned Komodo sweeps, Aunty M. and Ads, were focused on crushing the competition, even if our boats didn’t have the right of way on several occasions. They had to “tap down” the boat’s rate 80 percent and 50 percent rate, BUT we were relentless! We anticipated the lifts and used every window of opportunity to our advantage.

On to the 200ms…. Is the coffee trailer here? NOT YET!

We had almost forgotten the feeling of doing a 200ms race in a 20s boat. The boat was powerful, heavy, but we churned through the races by remembering to ‘twist and thump’. The reinforcement calls from our sweeps – “Yes, crew”, “One machine”, “I want more” helped overcome the lactic moments and reminded us to finish the race with exhilaration.

In the middle of all the marshaling, coordination and intensity, our config masterminds were planning the distribution of power in the boat — CAN WE IMPROVE PERFORMANCE and POWER!?!

We were excited to see the two interstate clubs:

  • Mako MAKO
  • Western Waratahs / Red Dragons

They put up a great performance, especially in the final (last) race where Mako finished ahead of Komodo WHITE by 2.7 seconds!

After a long night spent with analysis our coaching crew figured out that this result could be the consequence of a rushed start. From a “journalist point” of view that is too factual and boring, so after a 20 seconds spent with thinking, let’s say that the winning crew used some kind of alien technology which allowed them to bend space, thus gaining that 2.7 seconds.

This assumption could explain the stories being told about paddles mysteriously disappearing and breaking through the day…


Nobody confirmed these stories, but that does not mean they could not be true. Was it aliens, or simply the lack of caffeine?

To summarize the day:

  • We went there to win.
  • Open 2K: smashed it.
  • Mixed 2 K: got penalized, smashed it anyway.
  • 200 Women: smashed it.
  • 200 Open: smashed it.
  • 200 Mixed: almost smashed it.


Will we do it again?

  • Yes but better.


  • We do not know (yet)

We will be back with more unprovable theories and with even more nonsense questions.

A&V, a frivolous news agency Est.: Sunday

Kamp Krusty Feb 2022!

Benchmarking is DONE!

Near the start and end of every season we push, prod and poke our paddlers to take part in a process of “benchmarking”. It’s an opportunity to evaluate how we each progress as individuals in areas such as

  • power
  • fitness
  • lactic tolerance, and
  • technique.

At Komodo our paddlers are tested and evaluated under various conditions:

  • The Erg
  • Solo dragon boat race
  • Video technique sessions

These results provide information to assist the coaches to create performance plans for individuals, as well as contribute significantly into the selection process for our State and National championship crews.

Putting yourself voluntarily under scrutiny, where you are being assessed as an individual and compared to others, is a big ask for anyone.  We can’t build the best team without having athletes who listen, watch, learn, adapt, measure and grow.

That’s why this process is so important to us, and why we are so proud of this team!

For our Komodo’s, links will be sent shortly with footage of your paddling, and the coaches will publish Erg and Solo results via email.

By Captain Coops

A Komodo Affair – The Great Konspiracy!

Regatta 7 – Fast & Furious

A regatta that was scheduled to finish before noon, with almost no breaks between races, it promised to be a fast & furious day! With Komodo overseeing the set-up and pack down for the regatta it meant an early start for everyone, and it was great to see the entire team get involved and eager to help set up for the day (or morning) of racing ahead.

To open the day of racing, the ACT team decided to test the course in full race conditions and to provide another opportunity for the members to gel as a team. Komodo paddlers filled most of the spots in the boat, and after some confusion at the start line, the boat was off and running.

The smaller number of crews attending the regatta meant that races were almost back-to-back, with paddlers jumping straight from one boat to the other, with some not even leaving the boat! The Mixed teams of Komodo Blue and White hotly contested the mixed races. Some dispute has arisen as to whether the boats were evenly configured. This was all brought to a head during the Major Finals, where even when presented with photographic evidence the results were still being disputed.

In light of this dispute, we took it upon ourselves to investigate the matter. An issue such as this deserves a nuanced and unbiased inquiry, and so we present the very first edition of….

Breaking News from A Komodo Affair

Is there a Great Komodo Konspiracy?

Tune into the latest exclusive premier of A Komodo Affair where our field reporters dig into the facts at Regatta 7!

A huge thank you to the Coaching Team and the Komodo Committee for organizing everything for the regatta, and also to everyone who helped with the set-up and pack-down. Everyone’s efforts were recognized by the DBACT who commended us on the efficiency and our willingness to help.

Brought to you from field reporters Oscar (of many faces) Ofiana and Tom (the Fang) Wicks

Bei Loon 2022 – Komodo Muscles Up!

Wahoo!! What a Trip!  Last weekend saw the Club pack up and head North to Northern Narabeen to participate in the annual Bei Loon 8 km Dragoon Boat race around Scott Island. But this year it turns out there was no Scott Island because of high winds, instead participants were confronted with four 2km “out and back loops” that actually worked out to be 9 Km. What’s an extra kilometre thrown in at the end of an 8 Km race among friends, actually a fair bit as it turned out!

The Komodo advance party set off on Friday to attend the renowned smash hit Broadway production of Hamilton at the Lyric Theatre.  What a great night, sitting in a dragon boat configuration in the theatre, humming and at times singing along to this magical stage production. And on our journey back from the Theatre we were in awe with the Club’s number one Hamilton fans; Thea, Sarah and Laura as they demonstrated an amazing ability to rap to almost the entire stage production – Eliiizaaaaa (those who attended will understand 😁).

On Saturday the big guns left Canberra for us all to arrive in time for our warm ups, strategy talk and then off to the start line.

You want me to do what? Post on every corner? Sure why not!
Sounds like fun! How hard can it be! OMG!!

With 18 paddlers and Bestie on the sweep ore, Komodo set off at a cracking pace down wind. With our strokes leading the way we made quick work of most other boats, except for that one pesky boat with 20 paddlers ahead of us.

1 km down and our first turn back into a significant head wind that did not let up the entire race; Komodo dug deep as the Sprint and Engine rooms MUSCLED UP!  Dogging waves, motor boats, and the occasional oncoming dragon boat, Bestie looked for every small runner she could get us on and sliced around every corner as we made our way round the course, lap after lap.  And finally, with the last 500 meters to go, the big call up from our super coach Kim, “give it all you have got Komodo”.  The rate lifted and we all dug deep to find that little bit extra we could give for each other as the boat raced passed the finish line. Everyone had given their all, exhausted, proud and exhilarated all at the same time.

Exhausted, Proud and Exhilerated

Performance of the day definitely goes to our sweep Bestie with a special mention to our two bailers who kept us afloat, Rach and Michelle. And of course, everyone on that boat that gave it everything they had, and then some more!!

Following presentations and our Second Place (Wahoo!!), the club celebrated with the other clubs with a BBQ and a welcome swim to help those sore muscles.

And finally, we moved on to the final stage of the weekend.  Dinner and drinks together telling stories of the day’s efforts, comparing whose muscles were more tide and who had lost more skin.  The more adventurous formed teams and duelled each other in Viking Chess and Finska.  And a notable mention for best dinner goes to Roddy and Sam’s BBQ.

And finally, rumour has it, lots of liquid was consumed that evening to try and replace that lost earlier in the day, not a lot of that was water!


What a great weekend away racing, with best mates, giving it all for each other, sharing and caring!

I love our ‘Blue and White Family

I cannot wait to do it all again soon!


President Millsy

Regatta 6 – Tips & Tricks

Alyssa and JohnNews update from Komodo’s reporters on the ground: John Shanahan and Alyssa Velnton

Well what a Regatta that was!  Sinkings and capsizes at “chaos corner” on the 2 Km race that involved many of us. The safety elements were fully tested and as ever, some improvements can be made, but everyone got back safely – albeit very wet and cold.


ColdmodosThe weather initially and at the end was cold (very) and then it was hot and sunburn was on the cards for some. The full panoply of clothing was required, be like Lexie indeed! Is this really Summer??


Our Canberra weather continues to bemuse us all! 

We had intensive competition, a Komodo Men’s Team for the first time in years and some very sharp racing! In addition, we had a number of new Komodo’s joining us for their first Regatta and some lunatic Komodo’s who did the first 2 Km with Komodo and then jumped in and did the next one with another crew to help out – not anticipating the calamity of “chaos corner!”  A top day for everyone, especially for Coach Kim’s boat who had the joy of having her as stroke… 🤯 


The beetroot training frenzy stood us in good stead for the day and all its surprises – race starts when you couldn’t hear the starter, as well as switching racing lanes and the carnage that caused – generally behind the Komodo boats though! There were also some great racing lines through the corners and then you turned into the wind and were quickly awash. There was a few Komodo vs Komodo races and guess what?


Komodo Versus Komodo

Great to see out ACT Nationals Coach being reminded by Punchy that he is no different to the rest of us – no one is safe in Komodo! 

Bei Loon next and the Nationals are beginning to appear on the horizon – not long now!

Thanks to the Coaching Team and Committee for all the energy and support they put in not just making us very competitive, but also the “Coolest Dragon Boat Club in the world!”  

Millsy’s plan of world domination remains firmly on track!

World Domination

Regatta 5 is Alive!

Mel Little-Boss reporting from today’s regatta.

January 15, 2022 was filled with sweat, tears and laughter as the Club undertook the challenge of 500m sweepstakes, 2km and 200m racing!

With one eye on the weather forecast and the other eye laser focused on the water, all crew members have been training extremely hard in “Beetroot Phase v 1.0” (formerly known as red and blue phase).  Everyone was super pumped to be racing (especially after Wednesday’s session of 2km racing riding waves! – thanks Captain Coops for developing that session!)

The day started off with 500m sweepstakes with Aditya and Willow as sweeps.  Both were totally in control and nailed both races.

Next was the 2km racing for mixed, opens and women’s crews.  The weather was a bit choppy, but we handled it beautifully.  I got the opportunity to drum the Open 2k with Ads and I’m pretty sure we got the MACHINE call at least 4 times (might have to refer to the go pro footage to check that!).

Click To Watch!

I also had the pleasure of drumming for Em in the Mixed 2k and she handled the boat with her usual style of grace and elegance.

Click To Watch!

Regatta Jan 15 - One Hot Minute Mixed Edition) (Time 0_00_59;27)

And to ease off the pace (just a little bit!) we finished off with 200m racing.  We had the 2 women’s crew in the final and all 3 mixed crews in the finals.  All I can say is WOW the competition was fierce!

Click To Watch!

Regatta Jan 15 - One Hot Minute (Awesome Edition) (Time 0_00_14;12)

Congratulations goes out to Robyn W for being awarded a Lifetime member for all her hard work and efforts to DBACT and to the Club on and off the water.  Coach Kim provided a heartfelt presentation speech.

Robyn doing Aurora things!
Robyn doing Aurora things!

Special thanks also goes to Coach Punchy for undertaking the task of configuring all the crews for today’s regatta (she totally aced the configs to get all the crews into all the finals) 💙

Thanks also to Tammi and Cindy for volunteering as Marshalls and Timekeepers 💙

We celebrated a full day of racing with a social BBQ and drinks (and sunshine!) organised by the Committee.  What a great way to cap off the day!   Thanks to Karl and Sonja for cooking up all the snags while the final mixed crew was racing, and to President Millsy for arranging the drinks to help cool us down.

Komodo BBQ

Regatta 6 is just around the corner!  And in the words of the Cookie Monster (because he is my spirit animal!)

Cookie Monster Hungry to Paddle

xo Mel Little-Boss

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