Team Photo in front of Headquarters Bar/Restaurant who supported the crew throughout the day.

At the last minute, owner of Greyman Fitness Solutions John Papalii entered the Annual Auckland Anniversary Dragonboat Regatta that was held at the Auckland Viaduct having 90% of the crew never paddled in a Dragonboat before apart from the one training they had on the Wednesday the week of the regatta. Whilst most will say that the team actually have a lot of paddling experience, there were still enough challenges that the waka ama paddlers had to overcome and do so in short time because they were coming up against some very experienced, passionate and seasoned Dragon Boat Teams including Lion Dragons and NZ Steel Dragons.

The plan for the Greyman Dragons was to enter the 20 person Standard Mixed event, the short Boat 10 person Mixed event and the short boat Open Men’s events and despite paddling more than some of the other crews because of entering 3 events, Greyman was able to hold off both Lion and NZ Steel Dragons in the finals to take out their three entries.

Greyman Vaa Dragon Short Boat Men’s Team

John says the credit is down to the team trust, enthusiasm, experience in paddling, leadership with in the crew was strong and the balance, strategies applied were mostly different to the approach taken by the crew’s Coach and crew.

The main reason for attending and participating was to encourage more Waka Ama paddlers to try Dragon Boating and vice versa. The two codes are similar in many ways like the culture of the paddlers, the demographic, the ability to involve all ages and levels of fitness, the single paddle and so on. The other reason is for people to know that there is an actual paddling gym facility in Auckland that can help individuals, teams, clubs and coaches with their paddling needs. To prove this was to compete and do well so that the results speak for itself.

Youngest paddler of the winning men’s crew Kanoa Macfie – 12 years old.

Aside from the on water action, you are not successful without the support of the team off the water so John would like to make a special mention to owner of Headquarters Bar/Restaurant Leo Molloy for his kind hospitality in providing space close to the race action, to his friendly staff keeping us fueled up with Pizza’s and cold water and for being genuinely interested in the regatta.

A special thanks also goes to the Greyman members who wished the team well and to those who attended on the day too. Greyman Vaa was representing the whole gym community.

Lastly, Greyman would like to thank the Auckland Dragon Boating Association for hosting this awesome event, managing the logistics, the safety, the administration and more. Everyone had fun!

More about Greyman Fitness Solutions
Greyman Fitness Solutions is the only paddling gym in the country that specializes in Paddle Fitness & Coaching as well as being a consultant to the paddling world for supplies and equipment, Greyman also separates itself from other gyms because they too manufacture and sell, hire paddle converters to put on Rowers so paddlers can train in the comfort of their own home or for clubs to be able to coach at their clubrooms saving time or to test and trial paddlers for selection, etc.
These are some of the benefits of going to Greyman gym whether as a regular member of for a one off coaching or teambuilding session because not only will you get specific paddle coaching, paddle fitness training, specific cross training for paddling, you will be guaranteed quality advice, paddling tips from someone who has been involved with and had a lot of National & International success with a variety of paddling codes especially Waka Ama and Dragon Boating.

If you are interested in learning more about Waka Ama & Dragon Boat paddle training, coaching or any of their general classes, you can check out their website or visit their social media pages or on instagram –

If you’d like to contact John direct you can email him on – or text/call to 0211076557.

The 5.30pm class