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SCDBC Cuts Practice Times for Local Long Beach Teams

May 13, 2009

The SCDBC has announced:

In order to accommodate requests from the festival teams for practice times, the current practice schedule will be reduced to one-hour timeslots starting the weekend of June 6th.

A tentative practice schedule is posted at www.ladragonboat.com under “Practice Schedule” – click on the “June6” tab of the worksheet.

Please let me know ASAP if you are OK with your teams’ listed times or if you need to move to a different timeslot.

For the competitive teams in Long Beach, this is very troubling.

These teams (LARD, Space Dragons, KG, Aero, Thunder, DPW, and the college teams) are being cast aside to accommodate new paddlers.  While I am all for growing the sport and believe that we all have a duty to grow it, it should not be done at the cost of retarding the growth of the more-established, competitive teams.

Long Beach has only recently gained the respect of the paddling community as our teams are improving year to year.  When I joined the community, teams we now compete with were beating our boats by multiple boat lengths.  That is not the case any more  and it’s not the case for many of our teams as is evident from the great competition at Baby Long Beach this year and our teams’ results in races abroad.

SCDBC and the ICEA have been the driving force behind this growth and success by allowing us the opportunity to practice on their boats, providing insurance, and generally supporting our paddling needs.  Dr. Chen has fueled the growth of our community by providing us with a training facility and his unwavering love for all that is dragon boat.  His generosity is not only felt in the Long Beach community but world-wide.  His dedication and love for this sport are endless.  Mike B. and Mary M. have also put in endless time behind the scenes and I believe many of us don’t realize their level of dedication and sacrifice to our community.  For these things, our community is forever grateful.

That being said, two (2) years ago, teams received two (2) hours of boat time on Saturday and Sunday.  This was a major factor in the Long Beach community’s paddling development.  Today, our teams pay the same price for one (1) hour per Saturday and Sunday causing many teams to register multiple boats to maintain previous practice times.

Here’s the question that Chuck posed – will out of town teams come down to compete at the Long Beach race year after year the way we go up to San Francisco and Vancouver if the local teams are, for lack of a better term, a joke?  In my not-so humble opinion, probably not.  These out of town teams want to race fast and competitive teams.  A colossal disaster would be a Comp A Final in Long Beach without any Long Beach teams.  That might not happen this year, but if this continues, my nightmare is on the horizon.

I understand that the practice schedule is tentative.  I understand this is only for the Long Beach Tournament.  However, the more established teams need more water time (not less) to remain competitive with those teams that travel to Long Beach and expect to race against our fastest teams  – especially since many of our local teams target the Long Beach Tournament as their target race of the season.  One hour of boat time is frankly not enough for competitive teams to remain competitive.

I urge the SCDBC to reconsider their position to allow growth at both ends of the community – at the lower levels AND the more competitive levels.

Your comments are welcomed and appreciated.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. yang permalink
    May 13, 2009 8:41 am

    It’s time to consider buying your own boat….

    • paddlesports permalink*
      May 13, 2009 8:43 am

      I own an oc1 and a surfski – no room for a dragon boat.

      If we buy one can we store it at your place? 😉

  2. yang permalink
    May 13, 2009 9:01 am

    Sure, I’ll clear out my closet 🙂

    Alternatively, you can take our idea and create teamDRAL just so you get 2 hours back-to-back….

  3. Bill Ting permalink
    May 13, 2009 9:02 am

    I totally agree with Scott.
    Dragon Boat paddling by nature is a competitive sport and only more practices can generate better results. In real world, one hour practice is just too short. We changed from 2 hours to 1.5 hous not too long ago.
    Sure the festival teams do deserve their time slots. However, change the regular team schedules for temporary teams is not sound.
    There will be a limit on how Mothers Beach can handle the DB growth. SCDBC & ICEA may need to search for other large water bodies, if possible.

  4. paddlesports permalink*
    May 13, 2009 9:09 am

    A Twitter comment from an FCRCC area paddler:
    “1 hour time slots? Up here my team’s working with 1:45 slots at FCRCC. That doesn’t bode well for teams down there at all”
    Thanks for the input, Tim!

  5. lori permalink
    May 13, 2009 9:10 am

    This is disturbing news indeed. All the competitive teams go above and beyond their paddling duties on and off the water working hard to represent Long Beach & the Southern California Dragon Boat Community. To have our own water time be compromised for our own local tournament is absurd.

  6. mark feng permalink
    May 13, 2009 9:37 am

    I don’t have the practice schedule for the local teams but I would recommend leaving the morning practice times for the year round teams and to allow the festival teams who only race Long Beach to practice in the afternoon during the months of June and July.
    To reaffirm Scott’s and Chuck’s comments, our Long Beach DB tournament is gaining more legitimacy because the local year round teams have been working extremely hard to improve. The new policy appears to not value this important aspect which may be detrimental to the performance of the local long beach teams, and may negatively impact the desire of competitive out of town teams to attend the Long Beach DB race in the future.
    I would strongly advise the SCDBC to reconsider their stance.

  7. Susan permalink
    May 13, 2009 3:31 pm

    What I find disturbing is many of these recreational teams will not show up for their slotted practice times. I would be willing to attend practice earlier or later if it would mean more boat time.

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