Brisbane River Dragons on top of the World

The 100 strong paddler and supporters who formed the Brisbane River Dragon contingent to attend the IDBF World Club Crew Championships earlier this month went with one thing in mind and that was to do their best.  Who would have believed we would return as the 6th top Club (on trophy count)  in the World!!!!!

BRD Competed in the following categories

  • Premier Women Standard Boats 2000m, 500m, 200m
  • Premier Open Small Boats 500m, 200m
  • Premier Mixed Standard Boat 2000m, 500m, 200m
  • Senior A Women Standard Boats 2000m, 500m, 200m
  • Senior A Open Small Boats 500m, 200m
  • Senior A Mixed Standard Boats 2000m, 500m, 200m
  • Senior B Women Standard Boats 2000m, 500m, 200m
  • Senior B Open Standard Boats 2000m, 500m, 200m
  • Senior B Mixed Standard Boats 2000m, 500, 200m
  • Breast Cancer Survivors Standard Boats 500m, 200m


  • Senior B Women Standard Boat 2000m Silver
  • Senior B Open Standard Boat 2000m Silver
  • Snr A Women Standard Boat 200m Silver
  • Breast Cancer Survivors Standard Boat 200m Silver
  • Snr B Open Standard Boat 200m Silver
  • Snr B Mixed Standard Boat 500m Silver
  • Snr B Women Standard Boat 500m Gold
  • Snr B Open Standard Boat 500m Gold
  • Breast Cancer Survivors Standard Boat 500m Gold
  • Snr A Open Small Boats 500m Bronze


In all other categories we made the minor or major finals!!!!!

Victoria Harbour produced some of the hardest water conditions most of us had ever paddled in with rolling waves, tidal rips and to top it off the wash from other boats.  With all this combined, it was like paddling in the world’s biggest washing machine.  

We soon learnt that to produce boat speed and to succeed we had to drive the boat forward with power and smooth out the bumps and lumps.

Heat was also another factor we had to learn to cope with as those who were required to paddle every day were exposed to the elements from 7 in the morning to 7 at night. This was very energy sapping.

The great support our members showed each other was on mixed days when many who were not paddling were on site to support and cheer on the crews, you could hear the words “Goooo BRD” from almost everywhere on the course.

We had many members who had never been to a WCC Championship before and I am sure they have come away knowing they can compete against the world’s best.  This was a priceless learning experience.

Also new for us was the leadership of Head Coach Dan Campbell for this campaign. Tough decisions had to be made due to draw changes and many paddlers made personal sacrifices to ensure the club was as successful as it was.  The harmony before and during this campaign cements my belief that Brisbane River Dragons (BRD) is not just a club but a family of like-minded people. A huge thanks to Dan for all his training programs and coaching and ultimately team selection for this very successful championship.

We also had the benefit of Gary Quartermain’s experience and paddling prowess to drive home the last medal of the championship for us in the Senior A small boats 500m. I think he likes the stroke position. I had the privilege to sweep this boat and the finishes at the end of the 500m’s in a 10’s boat was awesome to experience.

One of the contributing factors of our success was the world class calibre of our sweeps, a tremendous effort from Blair and Janelle Gamble, Dallas Piwari and Ewen McDonald.

It takes the strengths of all club members to make something extraordinary out of something ordinary – I feel that this was achieved.

The majority of the club members and IDBF officials stayed at the Regal Oriental Hotel in Kowloon which is located 7km from the race site.  Buses and team coordination was provided by the Hong Kong organising committee and we were very fortunate to have as our volunteer Eva who worked tirelessly to try and make our time in Honk Hong an experiance.  Eva has indicated that she wants to come and paddle at a BRD training session when she next travels to Australia. BRD even recruits internationally…

One good measure of success at these events is the number of shirts traded at the after party and I know Diane is very short of stock.  There will be many paddlers throughout the world now wearing a BRD race shirt.

In conclusion my sincere thanks to those who work tirelessly behind the scene’s to make this all work,  Sue Beith and Emiliia McDonald (Event Coordinators), Ann Hubbard (Club Treasurer) from the early stages of our campaign till we arrived home and to David Spillane who at the last minute took on the role of Team Manager at the race venue.

The next WCCC is in Italy and I have heard already many who are wanting to attend, start preparing now.

"Through the waters to friendship"

Ewen McDonald



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