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Sport: Outrigger Canoe
Location: Lamma Island, Hong Kong
Lamma Island is the third-largest island southwest of Hong Kong inhabited by a relatively tiny population of 6,000 people, including many expatriates, teachers, artists, and musicians. Just a twenty-minute ferry ride from the city, it is a traditional fishing community with rich local culture and a neighborhood feel. It is here that you will find the Lamma Outrigger crews paddling year-round, with their peak season falling in the late summer through the autumn. We had the opportunity to speak with Gina, Chairperson of the Lamma OCC, to hear more about their club and here’s what we learned: Lamma Outrigger is a wild and funny bunch. Beyond their passion for old-fashioned training and their flat-out addiction for ocean canoeing, you’re likely to find them paddling in sequined red headbands or breaking out into sporadic nation vs nation wrestling matches (Canadians are currently leading the match results, though the Americans and British are staging a potential coup).
What is Lamma Outrigger’s Story?
We have over 50 members and while we are active all year round, our season is split with Hong Kong’s traditional sport of dragon boating, which runs from January to June. Most of our outrigger races are in the autumn and we compete in the Men’s, the Ladies’ and Mixed division events. We recently competed in our biggest event of the season, the Zoke Around the Island Race, which is staged by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
The Around the Island Race offers a 44-kilometer perimeter race around Hong Kong. It is a change race, so each crew has either nine or ten paddlers, with six people paddling in the canoe at one time. A support boat carrying the rest of the crew and the support team will drop 2-3 paddlers in the water ahead of the oncoming canoe, and as the canoe comes up to them, they swim aggressively at the boat, grab on to the seat to hoist themselves in, while the seated paddlers jump out on the other side. (Sound funny? Check out the visual below.)
How did you hear about TeamSnap?
One of the guys in the Outrigger club was using TeamSnap for his football team and said it was saving a ton of time with communication. We decided to give TeamSnap a try for our outrigger team website. We were previously using Yahoo Groups but it still took a lot of time and required copying and pasting schedules and lists to send out in our emails.
What is your favorite TeamSnap feature?
The best thing for me is that I can set the schedule and program it into perpetuity. With our growing membership, it had become an administrative nightmare to continually update the schedule and training system (we offer 12 training sessions per week, and all at different hours) but now I can just program the schedule and members can check off their availability. Our membership coordinator loves the payments tab because it makes people more accountable to pay up.
We have also been ecstatic with the customer service because it is nice and so rare to receive a genuine response. We submitted feedback on the availability feature and not only did you acknowledge it in a friendly, personal way but you actually addressed our request and improved the functionality for us!
Bet you didn’t know…
This weekend Lamma will be competing in a fun race known as “Survivor” on Lantau Island, also off Hong Kong. The annual pre-Christmas race consists of funny challenges such as paddling blindfolded, or backward, along with more common sprint races, and spelling out traditional Polynesian names for canoes with our bodies in the sand.
We have the feeling that Lamma is going to dominate!