Long Beach Competition

One team, one family

The water treads behind you as you paddle in the water. The adrenaline courses through your veins as you synchronize with the rest of your boat. 18 people on one boat, one team, acting as one.

Asterisk, Walnut Valley’s dragon boat team, competes during spring and summer racing seasons. Both seasons are 21 weeks long and the team participates in three races. Asterisk competed in two this year — one in Long Beach in July and another in Oakland in September. At the Oakland event, which was held at Lake Merritt, the team won third place in its division.

“A significant event I [attended last year] was the spring season race located in Long Beach. At this event, I was the caller for the boat, meaning I was keeping the tempo, raising alarms and inspiring my entire boat,” public relations manager sophomore Justin Lau said. “This race was significant because I was granted a special opportunity during my first race of my dragon boat career.”

Created in 2010 by alumnus Mignon Huang, Asterisk uses social media campaigns and Club Fair to attract new members. On Facebook, officers post announcements inviting their friends to sign up for the organization.

“[I like Asterisk] because of the people, [and] the sport itself is really enjoyable,” member freshman Kelly Dai said. “You get out on the water, you get this adrenaline while you’re racing, and it’s pretty addicting.”

Asterisk holds practices such as poolsides, in which the group practices its paddling next to a swimming pool, and drylands, in which the team exercises at Suzanne Park. Their routine focuses on cardio workouts and strength training. On Saturdays, the members polish their racing skills by rowing in dragon boats at Long Beach.

“I would say the hardest part about doing the sport itself is keeping up that physical fitness and knowing [how to do so] because everyone thinks that dragon boat is an arms sport, but it’s more of a core sport,” captain senior Coby Fan said. “You have to work on your core and find the correct exercises for that.”

Asterisk gathers for bonding experiences such as ice skating or eating at restaurants. Annual social events are held three times during the competition season. These events allow members to familiarize themselves with the club and boost team chemistry.

“It’s been life-changing for me personally because I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people,” vice captain senior Elias Magdaleno said.

Asterisk looks forward to the spring season starting in January. It has been and continues to compete in the Southern California Dragon Boat Club.

“With each new coming of paddlers and cabinet members they all put before a lot of effort to help grow Asterisk and that’s what everyone is trying to do,” Magdaleno said. “We’re looking to improve and I’m grateful toward everyone who’s come before me to help have Asterisk be where it is right now. I think [that spending] a lot of effort and time [has] come a long way.”

By Ethan Park and Landon Park, Staff writers
Photo courtesy of Justin Lau