My First introduction to Dragon Boat was at Sunter Lake at February 25th 2018, During Bu Susi Pudjiastuti and Sandiaga Uno race. I was running from Kelapa Gading to Sunter; for the sake of watching the luminaries have a monumental race.
After lingering around, from watching morning aerobics, jakarta pollution meter, and the race, I saw a white tent and hanged paddles; quite eye catching among tents of exhibitors. The hordes were looks so amicable. I set aside my nerve and approached them to ask questions regarding on what they do. There were Andrea and Jeff, at the beginning my questions were not answered clearly, sounds unwelcoming, then I met Wijaya Surya who is the chairman of Jakarta Paddle Club (JPC) which established since 2014. He ardently elucidated about his experience while he was racing in Hong Kong Dragon Boat and JPC training schedule, which is every Saturday morning at Bahtera Jaya Yatch Club at Tanjung Priok.
I decided to join the training, which I also try to ferret new sport which will helps me develop my untrained muscle, recover my trauma of water sport when I was at college, and meet new friends whom are a diverse group both local and expatriates from various background.
First Paddling at March 10th 2018
I started my First Dragon Boat at March 10th 2018 at Bahtera jaya sports center. I think I just discovered a new way to enjoy Jakarta. At the beginning, it required have a session to learn how to paddle, from how to handle the top and the mid part of the paddle, just a clench from the tip of the paddle, and the requirement to rotate my back to avoid waste energy of my hand.
Before entering water, everyone must warm up and carry forward boat from deck, it requires around 10-15 people to carry it.
On the water, it was Om Deki, the coach of JPC, wearing a cap with skin burned, He seems never put on SPG 50 like I did for years, but he sounds so convincing to lead the training. On my first training i feel this water sport has manifold insights, such as the importance of team work, to be in sync with people in front of you to make the boat faster and follow instructions and beat of the drummer, a full concentration is required.
First pre-race at Marunda April 29th 2018
I never been to Marunda, I ever heard it only as location of Kalijodo exhaled citizens. But the pre race also made me has a reason to go to Marunda, 30 minutes from Kelapa Gading by Gojek, but due to its proximity to North Jakarta, Marunda is starkly less developed, but plenty of paddy field. We raced at the river, I did not win the race as part of Men B team, but the men A team won the race. The trophy was as tall as 2 grade of elementary school student.
First race at May 5th – 6th 2018 at Baywalk Pluit
There were 4 teams from JPC joined the event, Men A, B, Mixed and Woman. I joined B team, who consisted of rookies, there were Bhanu, Astrid, Owen, Kris, Rich, Shubh, Ario, Edo and My self.
We won the first race but were lost at semifinal session by 0.048 second from Dragon Li. It was a Fraught yet the most crucial 90 seconds in my life. I found Dragon Boat so thrilling and igniting zest. It is a team based sport in which millisecond counts. It is so parable in life, so competitive. I almost forget when is the last time I was so furious; a thirst to win. I also found that the race is so stress relieving, in which I can yell out loud to share the spirit, the energy of the team.
Even I did not win the race, but the team triumph is also mine. JPC team won Men, Woman, and Mixed category. One of my friend at JPC was so kind, as team captain he gave me one of the winner medal. And I bring it home, I knew my team did not win the race, but I think its an inspiration for me to get my own medal on the next race. to become more swift, nimble, and in sync with all team members.
There will be many more race to come. I think dragon boat is a meaningful sport for me, and the new friendship in which rich of experiences and diverse background has make this sport so interesting.
BlueGrass 11:12 PM
Kong Kong Kak – (RiP) SM Salim