Christmas Eve Paddle

On December 19, 2009 by admin

Hello Paddlers,

I’m relaying the information sent through to me on the upcoming mixed-team Christmas Eve Paddle:

The Christmas Eve Singapore River paddle is something which has been going on every year since 2005 (see picture of the pioneer crew from ’05). Please show up at 3:00pm on 24th so we can push off by 3:30pm and reach Harry’s at Boat Quay by about 4pm. It’s a group effort with no organisers. Everyone needs to know they are participating at their own risk.

What has happened in previous years and seems likely to happen again is that we meet, wear Santa hats and other Christmas attire (once there was even a Christmas Tree mounted on the bow), paddle to Boat Quay, sing Christmas songs with lyric sheets provided by a kind elf on our way there, and have beers at Harry’s.  And sometimes Brewerkz.  If there are two boats, one will probably go back early around 6. The other one returns later.

Hope to see you this Thursday at 3pm, Rebecca

And a message from one of our former captains, who remembers the Christmas Eve Paddle well…

Hello Rebecca,
Forgive an old paddler his inability to shut up, but I saw your letter and thought you might like to know more.

As far as I’m aware the Christmas paddle was well established when I joined the club in 2002. Previously it was not on Christmas eve, but earlier so that those going away for Christmas could join in. The standard format consisted of: dressing up in christmas garb (full fancy dress if possible), paddling to boat quay (normally singing christmas songs, normally out of time and not in tune…), quaffing a few seasonal ales at the relevant bar of choice (in those days, Penny Black as one of the paddlers ran the bar) and then racing/ambling/sleeping back to Kallang. We seemed to usually return to Boat Quay, perhaps after a while spent at Wong’s fabulous restaurant next to the boat park.

The hats began as a forfeit for anyone who had not brought their own fancy dress.. Ellie noticed a stand selling them in large quantities at the Queen street market behind Bugis.
The christmas tree was introduced along with an inflatable (and squeaky!) Father christmas, I think in 2003 – one mounted at the front of each of our two boats so that santa could race against the tree. When we paddled up in 2003 or 2004 (alcohol tints my memories) we were particularly well dressed and ended up spending a great deal of time at Boat Quay and then stopping under the Merlion for a shower on the way home. Another year (possibly ’05 which I was away for) I believe they sank, although you can ask Helen, David, Mark, Pauline, or other old timers about that. I think Jason was involved that year, so it might be the one from your photo.!
You might also be interested to know that for some time there was a tradition of throwing the captain off the boat – which happened to myself, Paul Richards, and then Paul and myself when I returned on holiday (although that was mostly my fault!). Don’t know whether that is a tradition worth reviving…?!

Although spending Christmas at the Ewels family castle in Shropshire, we will be driving down to join in our team’s christmas event – the Worcester Dragons Boxing Day paddle, which consists of a 3 miles slog upstream to a pub with no road access and a lot of wickedly strong cider, only served in half pint glasses. Thankfully the way home is downstream… The water may be colder (believe me, it’s a LOT colder!!), but the sentiments are just the same! 🙂

The memory of singing or shouting ‘jingle bells’ as we worked our way past astonished pedestrians in Tanjong Rhu will stay with me always! (although we wish you a merry christmas seems to fit paddle rhythm better for some reason)

Wishing you and the whole team a very merry Christmas and a competitive 2010.
We shall drink a toast to you all in the pub.
All the best,
Rob and Ellie

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