VRC (HKIPC) Birthday wishes from Des Mabbott

G’day from the Sunshine Coast of SE Queensland And Happy Birthday Paddle Club.

Wendy and I regret not being able to join you in the 20th birthday celebrations of the Paddle Club but paddling seems to get in the way of everything, even in retirement. We are competing this weekend  near Cairns in the Marlin Coast Challenge, a 38km four segment race with a forecast of  a 20 -25 knot following wind, (hopefully not a Dragon Run wind!) woo hoo!

It was just like yesterday but in fact in 1993 we were having a meeting of the HKU Dragon Boat Club when it became increasingly apparent that we should branch out and form our own club. So HKIPC was formed. The next step was to find a chairman. That’s when I realised, rather nervously, that many eyes were gazing in my direction. Somewhat reluctantly, after a bit of a push, I became chairman and remained so for 8 years I think.

So with the help of many including those still in Hong Kong ie Dan, Agnes, Katherine, Coral, Yan Yan, we worked hard to build the club and I believe we did a pretty good job by developing HKIPC into the premier paddling club in HK. I am delighted to hear that the current members continue to build the club’s strength.

Looking back over my time with the Paddle club memories are many and varied. Who can forget:

  1. The carnage at Mui Wo when I took out 5 dragon boats in one race?
  2. Coming home from China twice with heaps of cash;
  3. The 50 man dragon boat races on Dragon Boat Day at first Chai Wan and then Tsuen Wan when we blitzed the opposition
  4. The arrival of the first two Malia OC 6s  Mahoa and Mahoe in 1994?
  5. The first Deep Water Bay regatta when a few days before the race the whole of the beach became an excavation site and we had to move the whole shebang to Repulse Bay. (Jen will have fond memories of that!)
  6. Going to Thailand to find that the paddles didn’t have any “T” grips on the handles
  7. Steve Palmier presenting the Nancies in his purple sequined gown (Happy birthday Steve)

I am sure we all have our own favourite memories with trips to Penang and Micronesia featuring high on my list.

As a past chairman I am particularly happy that the club

  • now has permanent home,
  • the “paddle club “ name has been retained (although the IPC bit has been dropped), and
  • particularly happy that the DWB races seem to be going from strength to strength in participation and educating new paddlers in HK about proper dragon boating.
  • I am also impressed by the increasing skills and ability of those who are now competing at such a high level in outrigging and surf skis.

I have missed being part of the recent development but I am happy to have found another club, Noosa, with which I enjoy competing and have the joy to paddle in clean water, and breathing clean air.

So next time you are down this way come by and check us out. My shed is full of OC 1s and a surfski so you won’t be short of a paddle at Mabbott Boot Camp.

Enjoy the evening reminiscing on old times and we wish you every success in building the club for future challenges

Wendy and I hope to see you at some race or other in the near future.

So it’s good bye from me and good bye from Her with thanks to you all for keeping the club so vibrant and alive

Happy Birthday Paddle Club, here’s to the next 20 years!