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Association (Inc)
Christchurch, NZ


Click these tabs to see the "Early Bird" regatta for each season.

Early Bird regatta

Aoraki ran an "Early Bird" Dragon Boat Regatta each year, with the first one being Saturday 9-February-2008. For that event and the EB the next year (Sat 21-Feb-09) it was run at Kerr's Reach on the Avon River.

Then for two seasons (Sunday 21-Feb-10 and Saturday 19-Feb-11) it was at Lake Pegasus.

14 10-11

19-Feb-11

Sat Early Bird Pegasus
09 09-10 21-Feb-10 Sun Early Bird Pegasus
05 08-09 21-Feb-09 Sat Early Bird Kerr's Reach
01 07-08 9-Feb-08 Sat Early Bird (CNY) Kerr's Reach

Early Bird 2011

Aoraki "Early Bird" Dragon Boat Regatta was on Saturday 19-Feb-11, at the fantastic venue of Lake Pegasus. In short, the results were:

Results - 250m Sprints:

250 metre final  
1 Tu Meke Dragons 1:05.51
2 Ridge Riders 1:05.99
3 Upper Hutt College Storm 1:09.33
4 Chch Girls High 1:09.96

Note that credit should also go to two teams who only qualified for the "B Final" yet they posted very fast times in that race: Shirley Boys finished in 1:06.19, while Beca Crewsaders did 1:09.74.

Results - 500m Races:

Open A Final  
1 Ridge Riders 2:10.14
2 Tu Meke Dragons 2:10.63
3 UC Dragons 2:14.35

In this year's "B Final", Waimak Attack edged out Sampan Warriors ahead of Give It A Go.

Last year (2010) Tu Meke dominated, edging out their U23 youngsters, with another young crew, Ridge Riders Under 23s showing what they can do!

Corporate  
1 Beca Crewsaders 2:15.12
2 Airways Paddlateers 2:19.86
3 CIAL Flying Dragons 2:20.71

In the 2010 Corporate final, Beca Carter continued to dominate (as they did at last year's Early Bird), but Airways' Paddlateers managed to edge into second spot.

Schools - Girls  
1 Christchurch Girls High School 2:21.08
2 Marian College 2:21.48
3 Avonside Girls High School 2:21.62

Now this had to be the Race of the Day! Right from the start-hooter, these three teams came out firing. As they powered down the course, they were inseparable. With each stroke, each team would edge into the lead. And so it continued to the finish line, with a mere 540 milliseconds separating Gold from Bronze!

In 2010, we had a titanic struggle in the girls School section, Christchurch Girls High School had been the dominant players, but the crew from Marian College were very close on their tails.

Schools - Mixed  
1 Upper Hutt College "Storm" 2:29.04
2 Hillmorton High School 2:40.18

In 2011, our visitors from Wellington dominated the Mixed racing.

Schools - Boys  
1 Shirley Boys High  

Last year, Christchurch boys teams Bedean Dragons and Shirley Boys High School alternated wins in the heats. Set up for a 'winner takes all' finals, with two races each, Shirley Boys edged home in the end.

How the Event Went...

The Early Bird coincided with Pegasus hosting the NZ Women's Golf Open from 17 to 20-Feb. We had the pleasure of hosting the "Cancer Society Wairarapa" Dragonboat Team for this regatta as well as "Simply the Breast" from Blenheim, which meant we could run a Women's Division as well as a BCS Division. And Upper Hutt College sent a very strong 'Mixed' team who showed they are very fast at the Sprints (third fastest of all teams with 64.36 sec).

This year we raced in four lanes. First up is a Sprint Series (250 metre races) followed by standard 500 metre races. The Sprint Races start from halfway down the lake, near the RaceHQ caravan and loading beach. The drummer holds a tensioned Starter rope strung across the lake, to align their boat. Starter was on the far beach, so that he had a 'tail wind' to blow his (PA assisted) voice across the lake.

Teams then races straight toward the suspension bridge - a brilliant vantage point for the hundreds of spectators. Precision Electronic race timing uses a camera positioned on the finish tower, erected on the future site of the 'Yacht Club'. Each crew had one heat in the Sprints - the fastest eight crews raced off, either in a "B Final" or an "A Final" (fastest four).

Then for the 500 metre races, boats back up onto the sandy beach at the northern end of the lake. The starter (on the rocks on the western point of the small bay) calls the boats forward about 10 metres to a starter rope between the rocks for the drummers to hold. As for the Sprints, Teams races straight toward the suspension bridge and race timing/camera.

Meanwhile, professional commentator Richard Bromley call the race.

Each crew had three heats, with all times counting toward their place in the finals.

Early Bird 2010

Aoraki "Early Bird" Dragon Boat Regatta was on Sunday 21-Feb-10, at a fantastic new venue - the lake at Pegasus Town.

Team tents are set up just a few metres back from a beautiful sandy beach, about half way down the north-south manmade lake. Crews are marshalled and load into the boat and cruise the 300 m to the top of the lake.

Teams arrived about 8:30, ready for the official blessing of the new lake. Formal procedings for the day start at 9:15 with a Captain's briefing at Race HQ (a caravan on the lake's shore). First race (at 9:30) with Prize Giving at RaceHQ at about 6pm.

Three teams back their boats onto the sandy beach at the northern end of the lake. The starter is positioned on the rocks on the western point of the small bay, and when starter and finish line are ready, the starter calls the boats forward about 10 metres. A 'boat aligner' stands in waist-deep water and can pull any boat around that is drifting with the wind (there is virtually no current to worry about). Teams then races the 500m distance straight toward the suspension bridge - a brilliant vantage point for the hundreds of spectators. Precision Electronic race timing uses a camera positioned on the finish tower, erected on the future site of the 'Yacht Club'.

Meanwhile, professional commentator Richard Bromley calls the race, aided by live video feed from three race camera.

Each crew had four heats - the best three race times determined their place in the finals. The race results are here!.

Results:

Open Final  
1 Tu Meke 2:13.07
2 Tu Meke Development 2:14.98
3 Ridge Riders U23 2:17.11

In the adult open section, the top teams had a big shake up this year. In 2009, CPC took out the final, followed by Fei Long (who came under Tu Meke's wing this season as their 'development' team) with Tu Meke in third. But in 2010 it is Tu Meke who dominate (as they showed at the Ice Breaker in December), edging out their youngsters, with another young crew, Ridge Riders Under 23s showing what they can do!

Corporate  
1 Beca Crewsaders 2:16.13
2 Airways Paddlateers 2:18.94
3 Screws Loose 2:19.80

Then in the Corporate final, Beca Carter continue to dominate (as they did at last year's Early Bird). But this time Airways' Paddlateers managed to edge past Screws Loose from Corrections Department.

Schools - Girls  
1 CGHS 2:22.14
2 Marian 2:22.95
3 Avonside Y13 2:28.61

In the Schools division, we had two titanic struggles going on. In the girls section, Christchurch Girls High School have been the dominant players, but the crew from Marian College are very close on their tails. The first heat of the day saw CGHS edge Marian in a very tight race, and the Final was just as tense!

Meanwhile Avonside Girls had an 'internal struggle' going on, with their Year 13 girls having competition from their Year 12 school mates. Both teams had a slow first race, but improved during the day, with the Year 12 team actually posting the fastest time for the school in the last heat.

Schools - Boys  
1 Shirley Boys 2:06.02
2 St Bedes 2:07.91

Meanwhile Christchurch boys teams Bedean Dragons and Shirley Boys High School alternated wins in the heats. Set up for a 'winner takes all' finals, with two races each, Shirley Boys edged home in the end. This set the scene for a great showdown on 6-March at Lake Hood!

Early Bird 2009

Aoraki ran the "Early Bird" Dragon Boat Regatta on Saturday 21-Feb-09, a little later than previous years so that Schools will also be in a position to compete. We have eight Schools enrolled plus 11 adult teams.

Racing was again at Kerr's Reach in Dallington, over 500m distance. Teams started gathering from 10:30 am, setting up despite light drizzle. Formal procedings for the day started a little after 11:30 with a Captain's briefing at Race HQ (a new concept for Aoraki - a caravan between the tent sites and the pontoons).

Then a Lion Dance Troupe delighted the crowd, followed by an extremely moving launch of our fleet of new IDBF Spec Champions, complete with an Eye Dotting ceremony.

Another development at this regatta was the covered (and laned) marshalling area (behind the pontoons). This allowed teams to focus before loading, while being checked off by Chief Marshal Peter Mitchell.

First Race started at 12:30 pm, with each crew having three heats - the race times determined their place in the finals. The race draw can be downloaded here.

Results:

Open Final  
1 CPC Canterbury Dragons 2:27.12
2 Fei Long - The Next Generation 2:27.13
3 Tu Meke 2:28.13
Corporate  
1 Beca Carter (Crewsaders) 2:28.83
2 Canty Prisons (Screws Loose) 2:28.97
3 Airways (Paddlateers) 2:37.43

 

Schools - Girls  
1 Christchurch Girls High School 2:25.22
2 Marian College 2:29.52
3 St Margarets College 2:30.08
Schools - Boys  
1 Shirley Boys High School 2:17.07
2 St Bedes 2:17.13

Racing through the day was intense, with some very close finishes. For example, Canterbury Dragons pipped the Under 23 squad (Fei Long) by the absolute narrowest margin in the Open Final. And St Bedes gave Shirley Boys a real fright in the School Boys Final, looking like a stroke or two could have easily close the 0.06 second gaps that separated them.

The crowd were treated to another thrill when St Bedes welcomed Shirley back onto land with a fierce haka, which Shirley responded to with equal pride and spirit

.

Ice Breaker 2008 - inaugural

In 2008, Aoraki launched a new concept to the Christchurch scene - an early season regatta. Well, alright, it was probably done before, but we're talking about the modern era here...

Saturday 9-Feb-08 was a landmark occasion. It was Aoraki 's very first event, the inaugural Dragon Boat Regatta, held in conjunction with Chinese New Year (7-Feb-2008).

Venue

The venue for the Dragon Boat racing was Kerr's Reach in Dallington. All participants seemed to agree it is a superb natural arena for the sport!

Schedule

Formal proceedings for the day started at 8:30 am with a very emotional Whakawaatea (or Maori blessing) by local kaumatua Riki Pitama. Pastor Graham Reid of Spreydon Baptist Church replied. Then a Lion Dance Troupe performed a stirring launching ritual for the boats.

Racing started around 9:30am, with each crew having four heats - the best three race times determined their place in the finals. The race draw can be downloaded here.

Races were run at 10 minutes intervals, with three boats per race. Races may include Corporate, Open and BCS teams, as well as school squads.

After the 500m Finals, a series of 200m sprint races were run. Trophy presentation was at about 4:15 after the last race (in the Riverside Pool Club).

Results - Note these are from the HEATS only

Aoraki Dragon Boat Regatta was on Saturday 9-Feb-08. This was a virtual trial for the new format (first time racing on the Avon)

Open Best time:
1 Ridge Riders 2:31.30
2 CPC Canterbury Dragons 2:32.80
3 Abreast Of Life Chch 2:32.80
4 Tu Meke 2:34.10
5 Sampan Warriors 2:38.10
6 Spreydon Baptist 3:05.40

Corporate Best time:
1 CCC (Cruisers) 2:29.60
2 P & N (Evacut) 2:29.65
3 Airways (Paddlateers) 2:32.00
4 Canty Prisons (Screws Loose) 2:32.30
5 Beca Carter (Crewsaders) 2:32.80
6 CIAL (Flying Dragons) 2:37.80

Schools - Girls Best time:
  Riccarton HS 3:17.10

Schools - Boys Best time:
  Shirley Boys 2:23.50

Schools - Mixed Best time:
  Shirley Boys/Girls High  

Facilities onsite

Teams tent sites were allocated ('BYO' tents, table and furniture). These had prime viewing of the latter stages of the race, and a short stroll to "Crew loading". Tent sites are non-powered, but some facilities are available at the Riverside clubrooms (including drinking water, toilets and showers).

Six Portaloos plus a couple of flush toilets were set up between the tent area and Crew Loading (for those last minute 'nervous' ones).

Food vendors (Chinese food, Pizza, Hot Dogs and fries, Coffee, Ice Cream etc) were set up near the tent area.

Photos

Esteemed photographer Ken Baker helped record the day's events. Team photos are available to order. Size will be 8.5" x 11" mounted on card with a border at a very reasonable $15 each. Also, candid photos taken during the day and available to order from his website (6"x4" at $8 each). Teams who were at the World Champs in Sydney last September may recall they paid AUS$49 for photos there!

Race Video

Now here's a good idea! What if you could analyse a video of your race? Wouldn't that be great! Well Aoraki trialled a system where we teams can buy a DVD (about $5 each) of the regatta. Contact Aoraki to borrow our copy, or arrange a purchase.

Regattas are run under NZDBA Race Rules


Schools and adult teams compete on the same day, trying out the skills and techniques they have been practicing since October.

Note, from 2011-12 season, this event is renamed the "Aoraki Open" in recognition that it is no longer so "early" in the season.

How much does it cost?

Aoraki's charges entry fees to Regattas on a cost recovery basis (we are a not-for-profit organisation). Season fees cover the Early Bird and our big Regatta for the year (called either the "Christchurch Regatta" if it is run in the metropolitan area, or the "South Island Regatta" if it is run at Lake Hood etc).

But fees for other regatta (like this Ice Breaker) will be on a cash basis. Aoraki charges a nominal fee from teams to cover the cost" - in this case, $5 per paddler or $100 per team.

See also Ice Breaker - Super 12 - Aoraki Open - South Islands - Nationals

Affiliated to NZDBA updated: 10-Aug-2016 :: (c) Noel Anderton