Dragon Run – Pre-race Report

Friday, 23 November 2007 16:57 | Written by 
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It's 4am in Hong Kong, the paddlers are dreaming of the US$5,000 winner's cheque...  and there's a 14-15kt Northeaster forecast - enough wind to give ideal conditions for the race.

Hong Kong Sea School
Hong Kong Sea School - Dawid Mocke and Lewis Laughlin with Oscar Chalupsky and the kids...

So what have the guys been doing today?

I called Dawid this morning - he answered the phone on a line so clear he could have been next door.  Turned out he was somewhere off Hong Kong Island, paddling with Lewis Laughlin and Australian youngster Dave Provan...

Meanwhile Oscar Chalupsky was giving a paddling clinic at the Hong Kong Seaschool - a school for under-privileged kids.

Oscar Chalupsky Hong Kong Sea School
Oscar lecturing the theory...

Hong Kong Seaschool

Bill Hutchinson, principal of the school, said,

"The School is a boarding school for underprivileged boys in Stanley, Hong Kong.  All kids in the school have either family or academic problems and, for most, it is a school of last resort - if they don't go here, they don't go anywhere.

It has a strong maritime background and tries to aid in the promotion of sea sports as this gives additional opportunities to the boys - we raise funds to help the boys reach their potential in sea sports (sailing, windsurfing and canoeing) and the goal of the programs is to give them a future by having them reach HK representative levels in these sports.  The boys in the clinic are members of our canoeing team and the young man in the Instructor top doing the tango with Oscar is the canoe coach.  The school is gradually building a competitive paddling culture and has received promises of support from the local surfski community in the donation of used skis for the boys - the only problem is that many of the boys are very small and simply don't fit the skis the guys like Rene Appel and Andy Orr are offering us  - that is why the adjustable length skis are a godsend .  Still, they are interested and the goal of the paddling program is to develop HK representative paddlers at Asian Games level as well as branching out into outrigger canoeing and surfskis.  Don't be surprised if lads from the School turn up at a race or two next year."

Oscar Chalupsky - Hong Kong Sea School
...and applying the theory in practise

The Entry List

...looks pretty impressive.  My earlier top 5 predictions were made without the benefit of the list and probably needs a re-look.

The Aussie contingent includes Dean Gardiner (who's been doing plenty of training and racing of late); the on-form Ken Wallace; Michael "Gollum" Baker; Dave Provan (who, I'm told is rated by Dean Gardiner as the best downwind paddler he knows.  He's 19 and paddles under-23 K1 for Australia).

The South Africans include Oscar Chalupsky, Dawid Mocke, Bevan Manson and Ken Collins.

From Tahiti there's Lewis Laughlin fresh from victory in the US Champs.

There are four Japanese paddlers including Masaru Tamura (who runs a surf ski website in Japan) and several Chinese paddlers are also competing.

Oscar and the team from Japan
The Japanese team meets the Big O (left to right): Masaru Tamura, Shun Shirahata, Oscar Chalupsky, Mitsunobu Gohda, Fumito Kan

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Live Coverage...

Will be starting from around 10h00 Hong Kong time (04h00 SA time!)  See you then!

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