Dianne Takasaki, 64
Nursing Unit Assistant, Victoria General Hospital
Sports: Paddling, Yoga,hiking, influenced by CrossFit.
Favourite or notable paddling teams: Momentum
Years of paddling: 7
“ I have such respect for the club in terms of how they’ve managed to let people continue (in the gym and on the water). What they do in terms of the right steps and protocols and everything is amazing, probably next to the hospital, the best I’ve seen anywhere.”Buy this calendar to help prepare us for the future.
Q: What inspires you most about paddling?
A: I’m a full-time nursing unit assistant at VGH and this year — this extraordinary year — there has been no dragon boating.
So the opportunity to do a three-and-a-half-month course in an OC1 was just such a gift because it was such a challenge to me.
I have to say that in the first class, just getting into that silly thing was difficult. I thought ‘I can’t do this.’ By the end, I really reached such a good comfort level. It was such a good challenge to learn something new and to be challenged in a way that was outside of my work environment.
I also did the extraordinary access kayak program, so I kayaked once a week for 18 weeks with a couple of my dragon boat teammates, and oh, what a gift that was!
You know, to be physically active and to be doing something new was great. In some ways, I mean it sounds a little dramatic, but it saved me.
Q: How has paddling and the paddling community affected your life?
A: I’ve raised a family and I’ve never been on a team since high school. I’ve been a spectator my whole life, of others and a cheerleader, for others. So to be on a dragon boat team is just awesome. That’s one of my favorite things about dragon boating are the twice-weekly practices and the grind. I just love it. It brings all different kinds of people together with a common goal.
I also love coming off work and going to paddle and not having to think and make a decision, because my coach tells me what to do.
I wouldn’t be still paddling it if I didn’t fill me on some level. Paddling is about being on the water, with nature and working. I love physically working hard.
Q: How active were you before COVID-19 hit?
A: I was doing something physical probably six days a week. Fitness is a big part of my life, and training is a big part of my life. And then paddling is a big part of my life. My son is an elite Crossfit athlete who has represented Canada numerous times, so I don’t pretend to do Crossfit, but I’m very influenced by that modality.
Paddling isn’t everything for me, but it is a really nice complement. I’ve been dragon boating since 2013, which is a competitive sport, which really balances my yoga which is non competitive and very internal and solitary if you will. Strength and agility and mobility is involved in all of them so I feel that all three things I’m involved in really complement each other.
Q: How did you initially cope with the crisis and what are you doing now?
A: Well initially I was just doing everything from home.I live about a half a kilometer from Thetis Lake, so I was doing upper and lower Thetis maybe three times a week and yoga at home, two or three times a week. As you probably know, you couldn’t buy a dumbbell to save your life in the last seven months, so I just used what I have at home for working out.
I call it my treading water stage, where I was just maintaining and not improving. Then the opportunity for OC1 opened up, which was fabulous, and kayaking — that got me on the water two or three times a week, and then my yoga studio opened, then everything else started to loosen up as well.
Q: Have you learned anything positive about yourself or your community as a result of the crisis?
A: I have such respect for the club in terms of how they’ve managed to let people continue (in the gym and on the water). What they do in terms of the right steps and protocols and everything is amazing, probably next to the hospital, the best I’ve seen anywhere.
I’m so impressed I can and I don’t hesitate to tell people that, because some people were shocked, especially in April and May, that I was able to participate. I told them all the things that are in place. I feel totally safe and they’ve led by example.
Q: When it comes to paddling, is there a person, event or team that has a special memory for you?
A: I’ve had a few coaches, and Erik has a way of keeping it interesting, challengeable and doable. We all want to win and we all want to challenge ourselves but it still has to be fun. And Erik makes it fun.
Q: When this crisis passes, in terms of paddling, what are you looking forward to the most when normalcy returns?
A: My team and the dragon boat because that whole team thing is kind of awesome. I’m thinking, too, that because I now have some experience in an OC1, I might want to try an OC6 and maybe an outrigger program, but there are only so many days in a week.