Kalimantan Expedition Crewmember Bios Rod McCurdy Rod McCurdy, a founding member of the Singapore Paddle Club, is an avid adventurer. In 2003, Rod was the Operations Director for the Viracocha Expedition. Rod and his crewmates hand-built and sailed a reproduction of a 3000 year old, 20 meter, reed ship (The Viracocha) over 3000 miles from Chile, South America to Easter Island. After an exhausting 75 days at sea (versus the original plan of 35 days), Rod walked away with a revised outlook on life. He recently provided this quote from his journal written near the end of their journey: "One thing I've learned is that storms pass. Rough seas, heavy rain and winds - all end in calm. When a storm comes, prepare yourself and ride it out - it will pass." Rod stated that we should all look at set-backs and challenges that face us in life with this attitude, knowing that all rough periods end in calm. Following this expedition, he moved to Singapore to continue his professional career where he now works for British Telecom as the Chief Architect, for Asia Pacific and China. In 2007, Rod successfully led Singapore Paddle Club’s expedition to the Equator and back from Singapore, covering 250 miles over 7 days. Outrigger canoeing is an important aspect of Rod's life. "After returning to the professional world where challenges are plentiful, I longed for more natural challenges. Given my passion for the ocean, outrigger canoeing provides a perfect platform for combining true nautical adventure and physical challenge." With his recent desire to form the first team to paddle to the equator from South East Asia (and back), he has no doubt found the perfect challenge. Nick Yap Nick Yap took to paddling 15 years ago as a youth for no other reason than he was bored. Once he had committed to his team, he stuck with it, although he suffered massively from the very demanding, tough practice sessions. What he found surprised even him “after the few first practices, a rhythm began.” He was determined then to see where his potential could take him. And today, Nick tells us “I have never looked back. Paddling has so many more facets than people think. I am still learning, everyday.” Nick has taken this initial whim and become one of Singapore’s longest standing and most prominent paddlers. He went on to coach the Singapore Army team to top honors and represented Singapore in the South East Asia Games. As a founding member of the SPC, Nick was a primary driver in creating a true Singaporean paddling club. “We have over 100 members mixed evenly between expats and locals, with over 12 nationalities represented, and I am proud of that.” The camaraderie of the paddling community, although competitive, is extremely warm and friendly and it is this particular aspect that has motivated him to keep paddling and racing. He coached SPC to a 3rd place finish in the World Club Crew Championship in 2010, the first ever Singaporean club to ever medaled in the World Championship Premier category. Nick has paddled in three previous SPC expeditions, Bintan and Batam and to the Equator, but he finds this one unique. “Not only will we paddle twice as far but we will also need to cross 160 miles non-stop. I am also excited about working with charities that help our mother Earth and bring the joys and intangible rewards of paddling to Singapore’s youth at risk.” Chantal Hackford Chantal was born in the US to Dutch parents. Being a true ‘expat brat’ she has lived in ten different countries and continued to follow her passion for sport in every one. Even after having two children, her competitive streak never faltered. After having run her own equestrian center in the UK for 13 years, Chantal was ready for a change. She moved to Singapore with her husband for a 2 year stint to teach French and Spanish at UWCSEA…6 years ago! Having competed in a number of sports (i.e. swimming, squash show jumping and dressage) at a senior level in various countries, she started her paddling career with the British dragonboat team in Singapore, taking part as their women’s captain in many national and international races. After her first session in a canoe with SPC 3 years ago, she was hooked! She competed in 2 dragonboat World Championships (3rd in mixed 200m) and various international outrigger races, Hamilton Island 2009, Hong Kong Round the Island race 2010, with podium finishes. This expedition will be the pinnacle of her sporting career and at the age of 48, this will be a great test of her physical and mental endurance. In her own words… “Bring it on!!” Manfred Albrecht Manfred is a successful German Entrepreneur who has resided in Asia for more than 11 years. He is a competitive, strong individual who has participated in Dragon Boating and Outrigger Canoeing for numerous years. At first these sports were mere hobbies yet they rapidly transformed into a growing passion and an important part of his life. He has won multiple medals in national and international dragon boating, outrigger competitions and participated in the Club Crew World Championship 2010 in Macau. His strong and guiding nature makes him a natural born leader who can always find the appropriate solution to any situation. He recently was appointed the honorary role of Treasurer of the Singapore Paddle Club. Aside from Outrigger Canoeing and Dragon Boating, he is an eager rescue diver. When asked about his favorite quotation, he replied, “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart” by Confucius, because I have always approached mundane tasks in life giving my all. If you give 50% to your day you will end up half as satisfied.” This defines Manfred. “I am thrilled to be participating in the Kalimantan Expedition because it will be an unforgettable experience. I am also pleased that we have the chance to support important charities like the Breast Cancer Foundation, the Children-At-Risk Empowerment Association (CARE Singapore) and the Plant a Tree programme. Manfred is married and father of two children. Chris Box Chris left Melbourne, Australia for Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1996 with one suitcase and for a six month secondment, and nearly 15 years later he is still in Asia. Chris has worked in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore and loves to travel. Growing up not far from the water in Australia, he was an avid snorkeler, swimmer and body surfer, and his love of the water has drawn him to paddling. Chris competed with Buzz Dragonboat team in Hong Kong where he got a taste for the sport, before moving to Singapore. In Singapore Chris was one of the founding members of SPC and a key driver of the outrigging program of the club. Since beginning outrigger canoeing when the club purchased its first canoes, Chris has raced in Guam, Australia, Hong Kong and Hawaii, and paddled expeditions to Batam and Bintan in Indonesia. One of his aims is to cement OC racing in Singapore and ensure that the sport attains a strong foothold in Asia. alexxx aka: Alexander Patterson With just a few years of experience, alexxx is one of SPC’s newest paddlers. He grew up in Venice, California where he sk8-ed big, old-skool boards, and was a shabby surfer. He attended university in Hawaii – one of the most beautiful places in the world – where his love for water grew, as did the ‘aloha’ in his heart. In 2009, alexxx raced with SPC in Kona, Hawaii at the Queen Lili`uokalani Race, the World’s Largest Long Distance Canoe Race. Notably, the team did well. In 2010, alexxx again joined SPC in Macau at the Club Crew World Championships of dragon boat paddling. His crew took home a single hard-fought medal, but the experience was unforgettable. On the local scene, alexxx is neither the biggest nor strongest paddler, but he has consistently finished in top OC1 positions – depending on who happened to show up. alexxx believes in understanding water, and always paddles with heart. ] Petra Schuller Petra Schuler, a Swiss citizen, had taken up competitive downhill skiing and running on a regional level at a young age. After moving to Singapore four years ago she began to compete in long distance runs and triathlons due to the lack of snow and mountains. Having only started with water sports 2 years ago (dragon boating and soon after with outrigger canoeing), she considers herself still as a rookie among the very experienced ocean paddlers. However, water sports soon have become a passion of her and she enjoys all the competitiveness and adventures that comes with it. Furthermore, Petra has successfully participated in various local dragon boat races with German Dragons and also been part of the mixed crew winning the bronze medal at the CCWC 2010 in Macau. Besides that she has paddled in several OC races around Singapore as well as in the ATIR in Hong Kong. She can still be found on the roads cycling or on the running tracks in order to keep her activities balanced. Petra is very excited about this expedition as it will be an journey of a different kind combined with the fight against the forces of nature and personal abilities. Martha Levin Martha Levin is one of the most multi-faceted people you could ever meet. People who know her realize that she engages fully in everything she puts her mind to, whether it be cycling, endurance racing, paddling, running, musical instruments, or simply a piece of chocolate cake accompanied by a glass of good red wine. Martha was born in Hong Kong, but left there at an early age as her parents moved around the globe, giving her the opportunity to pursue activities such as learn to sail in Dar-es-Salaam, climbs mountains in Nepal and ski on ice in Vermont. She returned to Hong Kong in 1995, where she took to paddling with the HK Island Paddle Club and participated in the IPC’s inaugural foray into outriggering canoe racing in Kona, in 1996. She cofounded an outrigger club in Kamakura, and was captain of the Singapore Paddle Club during her years in Singapore. She joined SPC in the “Paddle for Earth” Expedition in 2007. She recently returned to Hong Kong, where she is now coach of the Hong Kong Island Paddle club, her alma mater club that continues to be successful in races across Asia, the US, Canada, and South Africa. She is a learning manager with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and has played the violin for 10 years, two of which she played with the New Delhi Symphony. She is now on to her next musical instrument, the banjo. Charity is also a key aspect of her life. For four years, she has competed in the annual Oxfam Trailwalker, a 100km endurance event, for charity. She recently responded very simply when asked what her passion is, “Being happy.” She does that by following her heart. Her heart has led her to participate in the Kalimantan Expedition and she will surely be asset to the team. Frederic Cabay Frederic Cabay hails from the Congo (the fun one: RDC) and considers himself a white African. For some reason he has always been attracted to water- maybe it was the weekly waterskiing sessions on the Congo river, or just because you get to meet people with less clothes on when near the water. Frederic has sailed, water-skied, kayaked, rafted, skinny dipped and dived in rivers, lakes, and oceans around the world. When he moved to Singapore in 2006 he discovered dragon boating and for the first time in his life enjoyed a team sport. When he joined SPC in 2009 to take part in the dragon club world cup in Macau he discovered the meaning of pain and became addicted. Through SPC he started to paddle on OC and never looked back. Andreas Rocznik Andreas growing up in Bonn, Germany competed in many different sports, judo badminton, soccer, and gymnastics are just a few of them, but he never stayed with one sports for long. And eventually stopped competing after entering working life. Posted to the German embassy in Singapore he was looking for new challenges and discovered dragon boating in 2009. After watching his team succeed in the Singapore River Regatta he decided that he wants to be part of this success and committed to training. After a while the 2-3 Training sessions on the water a week were not enough anymore and he joined SPC to do outrigger canoeing. Just roughly 1,5 years paddling and no experience in long distance events make Andreas the least experienced paddler in the crew. Jeremy Taylor Jeremy, a Brit by lineage, was born in Singapore and grew up in Singapore and Malaysia. After trading commodities in London and New York for 12 years he returned to Singapore in 1997 to start up a retail chain, which now has 13 outlets in Singapore and Malaysia. A sports nut who is a “jack” of many sports including swimming, cricket, rugby, squash, tennis, golf, table tennis and table football. Searching for a team sport Jeremy joined the Singapore Paddle Club when it was founded. He has since become an avid outrigger paddler and dragon boater, paddling both in local races as well as overseas races in Hawaii, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Micronesia. Jeremy is one of a few SPC paddlers who constantly struggle to balance the demands of family life with the desire to spend more time on the water. By joining the Kalimantan trip it would appear that, for the next five months, the balance will be tipping in favour of the water. Anne Bendt Anne grew up in ‘sailing city’ Kiel on the Baltic Sea in northern Germany, spending her time sailing and scuba diving from the tender age of 10. She tried living in a city (Cologne) without access to the ocean for a while where she got addicted to Shaolin Kung Fu, however, in 2004 she decided to follow her fascination for Asia and make Singapore her home. Attracted by the beer sponsorship she quickly joined the German Dragons dragon boat club and realised that they hadn’t got a girls’ team, a challenge that she quickly met by forming one and then making herself the captain. This has resulted in numerous successful races, both locally as well as overseas, and an impressive medal collection including a bronze medal with SPC in the world championship 2010 in Macau. When Anne started outrigger canoeing four years ago, an ever-growing passion for the ocean and how to move crafts on it was revived. She has since participated in a number of OC6 and OC2 races in Micronesia, Hong Kong, Hamilton Island and of course Singapore. To Anne, the most intriguing aspect of outrigger canoeing, and in particular the Kalimantan expedition, is the strong team-work aspect, as well as the enormous mental discipline. “If one was only able to control the mind entirely, the forces one could mobilise would be unbelievably strong”. Her single concern about the expedition is: “will there be enough food?“ When not paddling, Anne is usually found reloading lost energy, preferably via a big steak and a glass of wine. She works as a Scientific Programme Manager for a research group at the National University of Singapore, tackling scientific questions such as combating infectious diseases and developing new diagnostic tools.
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