Everyone has hobbies and ways they enjoy to spend their free time. What is even better is when you can do these things as a family. Suzie, Sean and their son's, Campbell, Cody and Hamish all take on roles within Soaring Dragons DBC, meet them below!
Hello! So what got you started with Dragon Boating?
We joined Soaring Dragons in Mach 2017 after seeing an advert for an Open Day on Facebook. Growing up
I [Suzie] spent a lot of time sailing and holidaying on the water. Campbell, our eldest, has always been into sports especially swimming and land rowing. As a family, we thought we would give it a go as it looked like something we could all get involved with. As a family of 5, it's difficult to find things that you can do as a family and all take part.
The whole family gets involved in SD, what 'roles' do you take on?
To start with it was just Campbell, then our two youngest got involved. They were 14 and 10 at the time. Neither thought that paddling was for them but then they found the drum! A couple of months later Sean fancied a go and hasn't looked back. My role is to take a nice leisurely stroll along a great stretch of water and to take photos and videos of the team.
Sometimes it can be quite difficult to find a hobby for youngsters to commit to, how have your boys found this?
Our boys just love it! After the first 5 minutes Campbell was well and truely hooked and the younger two now even have their own personalised drum sticks.
It's really great that they love dragonboat racing. Do you feel the sport brings you together as a family?
Totally. Everyone plays a part however big or small. For me it was just seeing my family all enjoying a mutual interest and watching them spend time together. Happy family happy mum!
And Campbell has qualified for Team GB's junior squad, I bet you're all so proud! Is watersports again something that Campbell has always been into or was it a lucky find?
We are all extremely proud of what Campbell has achieved. It just shows what a great team he trains with and the support and encouragement that the team gives him. Mike gave up a lot of extra time for Campbell to give him extra coaching which without this Campbell wouldn’t be doing what he does.Personally, I think Campbell was born to be on or in the water. If he isn’t lifeguarding, or teaching Swimming you can find him down the boat club!!
With Campbell eating, sleeping and breathing paddling, there must be a lot of commitment also from your end in terms of making training sessions, race days and trials for team GB. How has this experience been?
Before Campbell decided to trial for GB Mike did say that there would be a lot of commitment not just from Campbell but from Sean and I. To be honest it’s a pleasure taking him up and down the country for training camps, just to see his face and watching him interact with his other GB mates is great. Campbell has widened his friendship group and they are all so like-minded and focused.
I guess all a mother wants is to see her children happy and healthy and it's so lovely that Soaring Dragon's get to be a part of making that happen. What is your favorite memory with SD?
There are far too many to pinpoint just one!
I loved hearing Campbell after his first race just mutter the words “manic but awesome”, to hear Cody on the go pro video shouting “did we win?!”, to seeing Hamish’s Christmas list and on pole position was a personalised drum stick, which thanks to our amazing helm Ian came true.
You are SD's 'Silent Coach' and your photos are adored - is photography a previous hobby for you or something you took up once the boys began going on the water?
To be honest I was never into photography other than the odd family snap. After spending time walking along the river soar and seeing how stunning the scenery was I just started taking pictures. I love taking photos of the dragons training as you can see the real story of what they do from pleasure to pain in their faces. I then realised that if I started to take the odd video then this would be helpful for their training.
I do think that I have become slightly obsessed though. I can take up to 300 pictures on race days.
The pictures really help with our training, especially the videos seeing how in time we are and polishing our individual techniques. What do you think the future holds for SD? Will you guys still be involved?
Great times are ahead. The team is growing and getting stronger. There’s no doubt as long as there’s Soaring Dragons we will be there.
What would you say to anything thinking about trying dragon boating?
Just pop down and watch/take part. There’s something for everyone. You don’t have to just paddle. We have a great social life with the dragons, meals out, camping trips the odd flight to Ireland.