This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Erik Åke Öberg, National Athlete – Dragon Boat Team Sweden (Sverige).
DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE
NAME: Erik Åke Öberg
BIRTHPLACE: Vinninga, Lidköping Municipality, Sweden
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
PADDLING SIDE: Both
STATUS: In a Relationship
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2013, Gold – Open, U24, Small Boat, 200m; Silver – Mixed U24, Standard Boat, 1000m; Bronze – Mixed U24, Standard Boat 500m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2015, Bronze – Mixed U24, Standard Boat, 2000m; Bronze – Mixed U24, Standard Boat, 200m
Swedish World Dragon Boat Athlete, Erik Åke Öberg, has been racing in competitive Canoeing (Men’s Kayak Singles, K1) before he got into the sport of dragon boat. He’s a member of a flat water racing club Lidköpings Kanotförening and have been representing the club since he started paddling. Because of Erik’s vast experience in paddling and competing in flatwater racing, he was noticed by the dragon boat coach to have a big potential for the national team.
Erik was then asked by the National Coach if he wants to try out for the national team selection. “Yes, I really want this!”, he thought. He worked hard and went through the fitness, endurance and paddling selection process and eventually made it to the Swedish Dragon Boat Team. Amazingly, though, it’s also his first dragon boat team ever. “I have been paddling dragon boats since 2012 and loved it from the very first stroke.”, Erik said.
Though there aren’t many dragon boat paddlers or teams in Sweden, it doesn’t stop the members of the National Team to strive to be the best during the European and World Championships. The support system within the Swedish team plays an integral part on their success and team unity. They are a bunch of hardworking, dedicated, and fun-loving paddlers. They even have a resident Tenor on their team–their very own Luciano Pavarotti.
Q: Being in the National team is a tough responsibility. What keeps you going?
A: The fact that I can become better, I have always liked to challenge myself and what greater challenge than compete against the world’s greatest?
Q: How did your experience in Sprint Kayak or any other sports helped you in developing your Dragon Boat skills?
A: My experience in sprint kayak have helped me a lot, thanks to the kayaking skills I have developed. I was able to train with some of the world’s greatest sprint kayakers and learned a lot from them. I’m thankful for the opportunity that it made me more capable to perform well in dragon boat.
Q: What other exercises do you do if your team is not training for Dragon Boat?
A: I train a lot of sprint kayaking, cross-fit and powerlifting; a good balance of endurance and power is the key to being successful in your chosen sport.
Q: How do you manage your pre and post training nutrition? Any tips on keeping fit?
A: The key is to always plan ahead. If you know that you are going to have a long day at work or school, bring all the food you will need for the day. For example I always bring three or four bananas and supplements with me when I go to school so that I know I have something to eat between meals and before and after training.
Q: Is it your own research or is it imposed by your coach?
A: It is my own research and knowledge based on experience, when you have been competing and training for many years you learn what your body needs in order for you to achieve your best performance. But a good tip for beginners is to keep it simple, bananas get you a long way.
Q: How do you envision the Team Sweden’s performance in the coming EDBF Champs?
A: I hope we do well! This year we are not going to compete in the U24 group which means that the competition is going to be harder, but we are up for the task!
Q: Outside the dragon boating world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?
A: I admire Anders Gustafsson, a former World Champion in K1 500m. From 2009 to 2012, Anders has bagged individual medals in Canoeing at the World Championships, European Championships and World Cup Competition. He is a not just a great athlete but also a great guy and friend of mine.
Photo Credits: Christoffer Carlsson, Cissi Velin, Ed Nguyen Photography, Jan Fransson, Joacim Petersson, Michaela Jonsson Lindblad, Karl Lind, TiszaDokk