Aberdeen Fisherman Race
August, 2011

Yesterday was a major milestone for Fair Dinkum. Not only was it the first time ever that Fair Dinkum was invited to a Local Fisherman Race. Competition was extremely strong with some of the top local fisherman teams competing. The Fair Dinkum CCWC Crew did extremely well Most notable mention was the Fair Dinkum Groovers (one of the FD Mixed Teams) came Second in the Premier Mixed Gold Cup Category (just a short head behind the HK Team). We were able to convincingly beat all the other fisherman teams in this top Mixed Category. Well done FAIR DINKUM!!! Our next target is the Busan International Race next week in Busan where we will get to compete once again against the HK National Team (U23) as well as the Indonesian National Team amongst others. These are all in preparation for the HK Qualifiers in Mid-September. Full race report as follows:


After the climax of the Stanley Races and the HK Internationals, the Fair Dinkum CCWC Crew has been training very hard over the last month. The aim was to qualfy as one of the top 5 teams to represent HK in the World Championships next year.

Our trainings has involved not only the usual sunday trainings but also the early morning weekday trainings. Commitment has been great with a strong crew of 20+ turning up every morning! Well done.

Yesterday was the Aberdeen FIsherman Invitation Race held in Ap Lei Chau. It was organized by South Eagles which is the top Fisherman Team in HK and one of the strongest teams in HK. For those that do not know, Fisherman races were by invitation only so Fair Dinkum being invited by South Eagles was an honour in itself. We were also the ONLY team with expatriates. I think we saw one other team with one caucasian but we were the only one with so many caucasians so it was an honour itself! Thank you once againt to Benny for getting us invited!

The day started off early as usal (7:30am) but actually this wasnt that bad compared to our usual training sessions which start at 5:45am! It was a very hot day. After setting up our marquees as usual and with our boom box blasting out Lady Gaga and all of Lee's usual disco mixes, Fair Dinkum was once again, the centre of attention with all the fisherman teams admiring at our HOT lady paddlers and drummers and the little kids taking photos with our caucasian paddlers as if they have never seen a gweilo paddler before.

Anyway, the team was getting ready with our usual star jumps etc. We had our very own Fair Dinkum Drill Seargant Adam "I feel no pain" W run the drills!

The team was actually quite nervous and anxious since it was the first time we were racing after our intensive training sessions so we wanted to see where we stand. We were lining up to compete against teams that have previously "smoked" us by numerous lengths before (some as recent as last year in the internationals).

We had entered 3 teams (1x Men's and 2x Mixed teams - Movers and Groovers).  Unlike other past races, the Movers and Groovers were actually quite even strength teams.

First Race was Movers. It was a very quick race (over 200M only) and the race was over within 1 minute. The race was actually over within 100 strokes or thereabouts so everything was in the start. These races were really fisherman style races with the strokes at a frantic pace.  This was what our teams have been training for. We were actually able to keep up with their pace unlike previously and came in 3rd out of 6 teams. First Goal achieved. We qualifed for the Mixed Gold Cup.

Groovers was next. We came in a convincing 2nd and again qualied for the Mixed Gold Cup.

FD Men's was next. We were off to a slower start then the other teams as our boat was a lot heavier than the others (yes, we all have to lose weight) but we came back strong and finished 2nd which would've qualifed us for the Gold Cup. Unfortunately we had finished in the next lane and was DQ. This meant we would compete in the Gold Plate only. There was no Silver Cup category.

After the first heats we had about 2 hours before the semi-finals and finals. FD being the usual adventurous team, wandered off to the Aberdeen local wet market for some local delicacies. After replenishing our energy with the various animal intestines etc (j/k) we went back to base camp to rest.

Then Semi-finals. To qualify for the Finals, the Mixed teams had to finish top 3 while the Men's had to finish top 2.

Movers were first up but unfortunately only mananged to finish 4th. Movers were knocked out. They were up against very very tough competiton. Groovers were next and had a great race. Although a little slow at the start, the team actually stormed back in the quick strokes and powers and won the race by a narrow magin. FD had qualifed for the Gold Cup Final coming in 1st in our Semi-finals.
FD Men's team was next. It was a race with several mishaps druing the race. The boat was very unstable and we had paddlers lose their footing. We were unfortunate and only came in 3rd. We were knocked out.

So all our hopes rested with the Groovers and we were going into the Finals. We were up against 5 other top local teams (including 4 top fisherman teams) and Sha Shing Sports Association (aka SSS). This was actually comprised of members of the HK Reprentative Team as they were not allowed to compete locally in HK under the HK Team. The other local fisherman teams included:

(a) Flaming Phoenix - who had beaten SSS in the Semi's
(b) North West Dragons - who had beaten us last year in the HK internationals by more than 2 boat lengths over the 640M race;
(c) Galaxy Sports Association - unknown
(d) Tai Tam Tuk Fisherman - one of the top fisherman teams in HK.

The teams were all lined up. After a few adjustments by the linesman, all the teams were ready. It was dead silence amongst our boat. We had trained well and we all had one common goal to aim for and that was to cross the line first. The buzzer sounded and we were off. It was a frantic start. Our team being heavier than the others were slower at the start. We had to really dig deep for the first 8 strokes to lift the boat. Then off to a very frantic 40-quick strokes. We were catching up. Then immediately we went into our long power strokes. We could feel our boat surging. From the corner of my eye, we could see the HK Team in our next lane. We were catching up. After 2 power up calls from Al Mok, we were throwing everything we had into the race. Once we crossed the line, we knew we had a podium finish. We had crossed the line as one of the top 3 teams with the remaining 3 teams behind us by a margin.  We were shouting and celebrating. We knew we had improved but to finish in the Top 3 of a Top Category in a Fisherman Race was an amazing achievement!

We couldn't believe it. What was even more impressive was that we were only a short head behind the HK Team.

When the official results came out and we found out that we had actually come 2nd, it was unbelieveable! We had only lost to the HK team. Yesterday was defiitely a major milestone for Fair Dinkum. We were congratulated by many other teams who have seen us grow from a small club 5 years ago competing in the Stanley B category to one of the top teams in HK. We have come a long way.

On behalf of Fair Dinkum, I would like to congratulate the Fair Dinkum CCWC Team that competed yesterday:

Men: Benny, Kin, Lee, Mark, Adam, Al Mok, Jon O, Chowy, Ian, Chris, Scott, Alan and myself.
Ladies: Grace, Stef, Shan Shan, Jo, Angela, Charlie, Lyndsey, Katherine, Zena.
Drummers: Mani and Angel

However, the team will not get complacent. We know we can still improve and we still have a long way to go to make sure we are ready to qualify and represent HK in the World Championships next year.

This week is back to training. Our next race will be in Busan in Korea then in Macau where we will once again be competing against the top teams in HK and around Asia. Our HK Qualifiers are over 17th and 18th September.

We will be ready....









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