Tough, Ripped, And Inspiring Paddlers We Follow on Instagram

Here’s a roundup of paddlers we follow on Instagram. We intend to not say much about each of their accounts, so it’s up for you to discover and enjoy. Whether a photo’s subject is about dragon boat, food, pets, nature or themselves, their galleries show how passionate they are about paddling, fitness, and just simply loving life.

A newbie, a leisure dragon boater, a world champion–it’s an exciting mix. Take inspiration from the stories they tell through their IG; and on how they keep fit, sexy, and healthy through sports, exercise, and eating well. Some dope pointers on how to look damn hot in photos, too!

9點游到11點多只要三十塊覺得很划算 #😷😷😷😷😷

A post shared by 吳士良 (@dcrandy1900) on

Disfruta de la vida que es muy corta

A post shared by Raquel Marin (@raquelmariin) on

#dragonboat#aquaholics

A post shared by Josh M. Hosang 🇹🇹 (@jaaaasssshhhh) on

Gf making sure my hair is off my face when I train. ♡

A post shared by Sin River (@b.b.sinriver) on

🇯🇵橫濱港🗾 🚢遊輪碼頭⚓

A post shared by MJ KO (@mj__ko) on

#dragonboating #dragonboatfestival #yaris #zamani

A post shared by Osman Aycı (@osmanayci) on

Road trip! #bobbie #beagle #roadtrip #fatherdaughter #weekend

A post shared by William (@willywazza) on

#penang #race #day #dragonboat #paddle#team#argonaga

A post shared by Chun_NL (@chun_nl) on

"It's going to feel heavy… Just don't let go." . . . 📸@_tlkp.jpg

A post shared by Tiffani (@teeheetiff) on

Chins❤️ #rättinibiceps #apelsinibastun #chins

A post shared by NilsWikander, Erich Wikander (@rattinibiceps) on

#badkarmawaves #longboardfunboard#surfingportugal

A post shared by Filipp Davidoff (@jamonero89) on

Old shirt, new hairstyle!!

A post shared by Jose Victor Lozano (@gojosevgo) on


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Dragon Boat World Athlete: What Dragon Boat Taught Me About Life

This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Alice Tran, National Athlete – Team USA.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran

DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE

NAME: Alice Tran
BIRTHPLACE: Boston, Massachusetts
AGE: 34yo
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Part-Time
POSITION: Paddler; Team USA U18 Assistant Coach
PADDLING SIDE: Left and Right
HEIGHT: 165cm
WEIGHT: 63.5kg
STATUS: Single

MEDAL RECORD: 
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2011, 1 Bronze, 2 Silvers – Premier Women, Standard Boat, 500m, 1000m, 2000m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2013, 2 Bronzes – Premier Women, Standard Boat, 500m, 2000m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2013, 1 Gold, 1 Silver – Premier Mixed, Standard Boat, 1000m, 2000m
IDBF 1st World Cup 2014, Silver – Premier Men & Women, Small Boat Pursuit Race, 1000m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2015, 1 Gold, 3 Silvers – Premier Women, Standard Boat, 2000m, 200m, 500m, 1000m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2015, 2 Silvers – Premier Mixed, Standard Boat, 1000m, 2000m

Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran
Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran


Dragon Boat World Athlete, Alice Tran, grew up knowing about the sport but that little girl didn’t know she would be partaking in it someday and become a World Champion. “I knew about dragon boat ever since I was a little kid.” she said. “I grew up in Boston and the Boston Dragon Boat festival is one of the first and oldest Dragon Boat races in North America. My parents used to take us to the Charles River to watch the races and experience the festivities.”

Recruitment

Like most of us paddlers, we get introduced to dragon boat by paddler friends—very very convincing paddler friends. Alice was recruited by Raymond Lem, a friend and co-worker of hers. Her first try at dragon boating was with M.A.D., a dragon boat team in New York. She went for that ‘mad’ practice with her sister who used to paddle with Boston YMCA. She shared: “My sister moved back to Boston. I stayed and got addicted to the team work and competition of the sport.”

Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran

National Team Tryouts

Coaches are gifted to see, smell and feel their athletes’ talent, spirit and potential. Keith Tsui, Alice’s coach at M.A.D., got it right when he asked her to try out for the national team. “I was hesitant as it was only my second year of paddling and had just switched paddling side.”, she said. Alice trained hard for it and she got a call from Coach Bob McNamara congratulating her for making it to Team USA. Alice recalled: “That was the longest two weeks ever but indeed worth the wait and all the hard work paid off. I’ve been trying out for every World Championship since.”

Knowledge Transfer

On her 8th year of paddling, with multiple IDBF World Nations medals on her neck, Alice left Catch22 Dragon Boat NYC to venture on giving back to the (dragon boat) community. “After five years, I left Catch22 at the end of 2015 to pursue something entirely different.”, she said. “Catch22 will always be my legacy. I was there from the beginning and watched the team grow but at that point I felt like I needed to do something for the community and that was to transfer my skills to the next generation and develop new strong paddlers.”

Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran
Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran

Juniors Program @ DCH Racing

DCH Racing New York has a very large juniors program and when Alice had gotten to know DCH, she instantly knew that this was the team she needed to be part of. “They welcomed me with open arms and I have found my new family, too.” she remarked. “I’m looking forward to learning from my new DCH Coach, Randy Ng.”

Life outside of Dragon Boat

Trying out for the National Team also introduced Alice to outrigger canoeing; so when she’s not on a dragon boat she’d be out in the water with her OC1. She loves travelling and so her being in the National Team has fulfilled that–compete and explore. “My favourite part of travelling is exploring other cultures. I try to look for things that locals do.” she said. “I love being outdoors. This is why I love paddling so much. It gives me the opportunity to travel to the most remote locations. I’ve never even heard of Hódmezővásárhely, Hungary until I went to race there. I still can’t pronounce it.”

Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran


Q: In the span of your dragon boating career, was there a time when you had to take a sabbatical leave either from studies or work for the purpose of becoming a full-time athlete?

A: Unfortunately, paddling is a very expensive hobby/sport. In order for me to be the athlete that I am, I need to work. I have a full-time job as an IT project manager. I have to time manage really well in order to train hard. You’ll find me at the gym during lunch time and out on the water after work.

Q: Aside from the training techniques and knowledge you gained from your coaches, do you develop your own personal strategies and resources in keeping up with your teammates in the National Team? 

A: To be honest, Facebook is the best way to keep up with my teammates on the National Team. We are scattered all over the country and have our own lives. We do have things that we rag on each other about. In Welland, Canada, we were driving back to the hotel and we saw a chicken cross the road. I screamed out, “OMG, there really is a chicken crossing the road!” Now, you’ll see chickens plastered all over my page. We do randomly text each other to see how we are all doing and if we will be trying out again. We post our paddling sessions and workouts to motivate and encourage each other.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran
Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran

Q: Speaking of National Team, when the race/training season is off, do you ladies hold a fun-forget-the-training-let’s-party-party? We’re curious to know how the Team USA Women’s crew party?

A: We talked about a reunion at some point but because we all have busy lives it’s really difficult to organise. When we are together there’s a lot of jokes, laughs, and dancing!

Q: How do you obtain satisfaction in the sport in terms of the Coach’s leadership and your personal athletic performance?

A: A trusted relationship between a paddler and coach will make me a better paddler. Being a better paddler and being able to achieve your goals is the ultimate satisfaction. Honestly though, the people that surround me on each team I’ve been on and all the friends I have met around the world is the kind of satisfaction I have obtained in the sport. Nothing can replace that.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran
Dragon Boat World Athlete Alice Tran

Q: Having competed in several World Championships, at what point can you say that you have reached everything in your dragon boating life?

A: I already have two gold medals from World Championships. I think that’s every paddler’s dream. I’m definitely satisfied but there’s always a part of you that itches for more. If you’re young and still able, just keep doing it, right? The fact that I’m working with juniors now, it is opening a new chapter in dragon boating for me. So have I really reached everything? Or is it just the beginning?

Photo Credits: Fernando Huh, Ed Nguyen Photography, WIFC

 
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Dragon Boat World Athlete: It’s Important to be an Intelligent Paddler

This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Marc Rößler, National Athlete – Team Germany (Deutschland).

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE

NAME: Marc Rößler
BIRTHPLACE: Berlin, Germany
AGE: 30yo
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
POSITION: Paddler; Social-Media-Manager
PADDLING SIDE: Left and Right
HEIGHT: 1.86cm
WEIGHT: 80kg
STATUS: Single

MEDAL RECORD:
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2013, Gold – Premier Open, 1000m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2013, Silver – Premier Open, 500m
EDBF European Championships 2014, Gold – Premier Open, 200m
EDBF European Championships 2014, Gold – Premier Open, 500m
EDBF European Championships 2014, Silver – Premier Open, 2000m
German National Championships 2015, Silver – Premier Open 200m, 500m
German National Championships 2015, Gold – Premier Mixed 200m


Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

They say athletes have better physical and intellectual abilities. Well, this Dragon Boat World Athlete definitely personifies this notion. Marc Rößler from Team Germany is one of those amazing athletes who combines physical strength and intelligence.

Marc started with Canoe Flatwater Racing sport in 1996 and had been successful during his participation in the Junior World Championships and U23 European Championships. “In 2003, I bagged two Silver Medals from my two Junior Deputy-world Championships in Kayak (K2 and K4).”, he said.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler
Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

“In 2009 I started to work at an IT systems company”, Marc shared. “That was when my sporting world became a bit more quiet.” In 2013, he joined WannSea Dragons and from there he was asked by a teammate, Uwe Heidler and by Ronny Keil (Team Germany’s Coach) if he wants to try out for the dragon boat national team. He did and he’s been competing in dragon boat races with his club and with Team Germany since.

In this rare interview Marc shares with us his intelligent view on an athlete’s success, his other hobbies when he’s not paddling and some very useful tips on how to be prepared for races.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler


Q: How do you envision success?

A: Success is a question of the physical and the mental attitude. A good training session is just half as good if your mind is not concentrating.

Q: What’s the role of the Coach’s leadership in the National Team’s unity?

A: The coach is the thinker and visionary. Apart from the fact that he paddles with us, it is also his responsibility to plan and develop the training for his crew. Also, he is open to suggestions and opinions from experienced athletes.

Q: How intense does your training go nowadays now that it’s only a few weeks until the European Champs?

A: From this time up to this year’s European Championships we have created a master plan which would become more and more intensive up to the championships. Thus, every athlete can also prepare pertinently at home. I train as a rule from 5 to 6 times a week and align the training intensity and distances in relation to the respective competition.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

Q: What are your other hobbies?

A: Aside from dragon boat sport, I take part furthermore in competitions in the canoe racing sport. It makes me more calm and relaxed when I take photos and make my own ice cream creations.

Q: Given the tight training schedule, do you still have time for these hobbies? If yes, how do you spend your rest time? Who do you spend it with?

A: Sure, I find the time to do my other hobbies. Friends and family time are important just as the sport is to me and I’m happy to share my hobbies with them.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

Q: Do you sometimes play a ‘mental video’ of a race with your toughest competition?

A: Yes, I do make it run in my mind before the race starts. I think about what to do in a particular moment and how to beat the planned target for any race distance. Dragon boat sport is also a tactical sport so it helps very much if one is mentally prepared for the race.

Q: How does it help your determination when you relive some of your winning moments in the past?

A: The victories in the past give self-confidence of course and also the necessary composure for the upcoming challenges. However, one shouldn’t relax on the victories from the past; there will always be new aims, new opponents and therefore also new duties. I think this is what makes the sport more fun and meaningful to me.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

Q: Outside the dragon boating world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?

A: Ronald Rauhe. He was a successful paddler before I started my own career in Canoeing. He is still one of the best athletes with multiple Olympic medals and World Championship titles. His world-class talent and longevity in the sport is simply very impressive.

 
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Dragon Boat World Athlete: Dragon Boating made me feel ‘Whole’ Again

This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Mark Harding, National Athlete – Great Britain Dragon Boat Team.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Mark Harding

DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE

NAME: Mark Harding
BIRTHPLACE: Wigton, Cumbria, England
AGE: 40yo
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
POSITION: Paddler
PADDLING SIDE: Both
HEIGHT: 193cm
WEIGHT: 96kg
STATUS: Single

MEDAL RECORD:
Paracanoeing National Championships, Nottinghamshire, England, Bronze – 200m
IDBF World Cup 2014, Fouzhou, China, 10th Place World Ranking,Premiere Open, Standard Boat, 500m
EDBF European Dragon Boat Nations Championships 2014, Czech Republic, Bronze – Premiere Open, Small Boat, 200m
London – Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2014, Silver – Premiere, Standard Boat, 200m; Overall Champion


We are honoured to feature Dragon Boat World Athlete, Mark Harding, a once severely injured soldier who served in the HM Forces in the United Kingdom. Mark is the lone person in the Dragon Boat Team Great Britain (Team GB) with physical disability to have competed together with able-bodied crew in the 2014 European Dragon Boat Championships.

Mark has served in the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment for sixteen years where he worked mostly as a sniper with the Reconnaissance Platoon for operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Skopje, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Mark Harding

“I was shot through the neck in 2010 in Afghanistan.” Mark shared. “On 28th May 2010, I was leading a four-man patrol sent from the platoon base to investigate an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Things went quickly downhill. My patrol came under sustained small arms fire and three of my team were wounded. Then my life changed forever.”

Soon after he emerged from all the pain and suffering, Mark started to gain strength and then eventually was able to walk again. It was Kamini Jain who introduced him to dragon boating at a training camp at Newport Beach in California. The camp is being ran by Kamini Jain and Richard Parrot. It was from that training camp when Mark’s journey in competing in international dragon boat races began.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Mark Harding

“When I got home from that training camp, I learned that my Mother had passed away and it was at that point when I wanted to make her proud of me so I went down for a time trial at Liverpool. After making it to the Great Britain (GB) Premiere team, the training went through the roof as I was training down at Liverpool and training up at Derwent Water and also doing cross fit and weights session at the gym.”, Mark recalled.

Mark’s first club who helped him get into the sport was Amathus, a dragon boat team based in Liverpool. He currently paddles with Powerhouse Dragons in the North East as his main club. “Allyson, our club coach, has been so helpful to me –- an amazing coach and I am looking forward to getting better with her help as I continue pushing myself to perform my best for Team GB.”

Let’s get to know more about Mark’s inspiring story and the upcoming inaugural training sessions to be conducted by Purple Warriors Dragon Boat Club — a dedicated support team for the men and women who have suffered from injuries while serving the military.


Dragon Boat World Athlete Mark Harding

Q: How are you, Mark? How are the preparations going with you and Team GB for the upcoming European Dragon Boat Championships in Rome this July?

A: Things are going well, thank you — lots of training over in the north east with Powerhouse — water training, strength training and Crossfit, etc. Very busy but good and I just want to be the best I can for my Club Team and Team GB and I constantly keep pushing myself.

Q: After your three-year rest and recovery from injury in 2010, how did you overcome that to find a renewed strength?

A: I can remember being paralysed from the neck down for eight months and after I was told I’d never walk again by two spinal consultants. On that week, times got very dark for me and I was told that two of my friends were killed in Afghanistan. I made a promise to myself to prove the consultants wrong and I did and I just want to keep pushing myself. I really don’t think I’ve done anything that anyone else wouldn’t have done. I just want other injured people to see that if you’ve got a positive mind anything is achievable.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Mark Harding
Image Credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography

Q: Why Dragon Boat? And what made you choose this particular sport?

A: I crossed over from the Team GB 200m kayak sprint team after a training camp I attended in California ran by Kamini Jain. I found out that the team mentality appealed to me. It reminded me of the army, depending on those around you.

Q: We understand that you and some others are starting a dragon boat team for injured soldiers, can you tell us a bit about it?

A: Purple Warriors was formed in early April 2016 to provide an opportunity for serving and retired members of HM Forces who now have some form of impairment (mental or physical) to use dragon boating as part of their personal road to recovery and rehabilitation, and to help smash preconceptions about impairments. Purple Warriors will race in the UK against able-bodied teams. Purple Warriors also hopes to race against similar military teams in due course.

Q: Purple Warriors will be launched soon and strategically in three different venues in the UK, what are your expectations?

A: We are all ex-military and all have had to adapt and overcome their personal battles to get to where we are today. We have the focus and drive to compete and win against able-bodied teams!

Dragon Boat World Athlete Mark Harding
Image Credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography

Q: What inspired you to do this noble act? For that matter, what keeps you inspired in participating and pursuing excellence in sports?

A: Purple Warriors was the initiative of another GB paddler and former soldier. The idea was his but he asked me to join him to develop the idea into something real and tangible. I have had my own personal challenges but I like to think I have risen to them. Dragon boating made me feel ‘whole’ again and I hope that others will get a similar lift from this great team sport.

Q: There are other ‘brave warriors’ out there who had gone through similar experience, what would you advice them?

A: Keep going, keep your head up, be proud! Always reach further, I was told I would never walk again! I could not, WOULD not accept that! You keep battling! Afghanistan was my war, now my injury is my war! Life is for living; live it to the max.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Mark Harding

Q: “No one fights alone.”, they say of team sports like dragon boat. What’s your definition of teamwork?

A: Teamwork to me is being able to look around and know that, to my left and to my right, I have people I can trust 110%!

Q: Outside the dragon boating world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?

A: The person I respect the most is John Griffiths. He was my previous coach from GB Team 200m sprint kayaking. An amazing coach who is down to earth and his chill approach helped me manage and come to terms with my injury. He made me see even then when I had a disability, he told me that the only person that was stopping me from doing anything was me; and to this day I can’t thank him enough.


 
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Dragon Boat World Athlete: Positive Reinforcement – A Main Coaching Tool

This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Dennis Wright, National Athlete – Auroras – Australian Dragon Boat Team.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Dennis Wright

DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE

NAME: Dennis Wright
BIRTHPLACE: Nhulunbuy, Australia
AGE: 33yo
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
POSITION: Paddler; Coach (South Australia State Coach – Premier Division)
PADDLING SIDE: Either
HEIGHT: 178cm
WEIGHT: 85kg
STATUS: Married

MEDAL RECORD:
AusDBF National Championships 2016, 2 Bronzes – South Australia Premier Mixed, Standard Boat, 500m; 200m
AusDBF National Championships 2016, Silver – Premier Open, Small Boat – Club Division, 200m
AusDBF National Championships 2016, Silver – Premier Mixed, Small Boat – Club Division, 200m
AusDBF National Championships 2015, Bronze – South Australia Premier Mixed, Standard Boat, 500m
AusDBF National Championships 2015, 2 Silvers – South Australia Premier Mixed, Small Boat, 500m; 200m
AusDBF National Championships 2015, Bronze – South Australia Premier Women (Coach), Small Boat, 500m
AusDBF National Championships 2015, 2 Golds – Premier Mixed Small Boat – Club Division, 500m; 200m
AusDBF National Championships 2015, 1 Gold; 1 Silver – Premier Open Small Boat – Club Division, 200m; 500m
AusDBF National Championships 2013, 1 Silver; 1 Bronze – Premier Mixed Small Boat – Club Division, 500m; 200m


It was during that warm Australian summer of 2008 when this bass-playing World Athlete, Dennis Wright, started in the realm of dragon boat. Grew up in Nhulunbuy, a small mining town in Australia’s Northern Territory, he shared with us his humble beginnings as a paddler-turned-National Athlete and his experiences as South Australia’s (SA) Premiere Class state coach. “I started paddling with Water Warriors, a local club in the South Australia state. I was introduced by family who had retired from the sport the year previously, after many years in paddling in SA.”

Dragon Boat World Athlete Dennis Wright

When asked if he has displayed his bass skills in front of his teammates, he responded: “I still play bass whenever I can in between paddling, work, and life commitments. Sad to say that I’ve not yet been able to do so with my paddling teammates as yet, but there is still hopefully plenty of paddling years left for me, so who knows?”

Dragon Boat World Athlete Dennis Wright

Started as a hobby for Dennis, he then began to take his paddling stint more seriously in 2010 when the selection process has changed in qualifying for the Auroras, the Australian National Dragon Boat Team. “Back then, the winning State Team in the AusDBF Nationals competition becomes the representative Australian team.”, he recalls. “The change has opened opportunities for paddlers around the country to represent Australia in international races.”

“Since SA is a small density state with a large population spread, it typically meant that SA could not compete in a standard boat against the larger state teams. But since the selection process was introduced, SA has fielded a large number of Australian Auroras paddlers over the years, and I have been fortunate enough to be one amongst them.”, Dennis added.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Dennis Wright


Q: How did the Auroras fair at the recently held Asian Dragon Boat Championships? Was it the projected results?

A: I think the Auroras represented very well at the Asian Champs. It’s always difficult to project results in such a competition, but improvement is always sought after.

Q: It was a success, then?

A: The results helped define the success. It was a little difficult to back-up so quickly from the IDBF World Championships campaign in Canada, so it was very heartening to see the Auroras improve their results from last Asia Champs campaign

Q: In three words, can you describe to us what ‘Sportsmanship’ means to you?

A: Honour. Brotherhood. Honesty.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Dennis Wright

Q: What is the most rewarding thing of being a coach?

A: The most rewarding thing for me is being a part of the improvement of my paddlers. Seeing the beginners advance to intermediate and from intermediate they advance to skilled and beyond. The experience of seeing doubt being expunged is proof positive of skill advancement.

Q: How important is the coach’s role in keeping the supportive and respectful climate in the team?

A: Paramount. The head coach (and division coaches too) are the prime point for setting the examples and structures by which the paddling team will be expected to follow. I do not believe it is possible for coaches neglectful of this reality to create supportive and respectful teams.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Dennis Wright

Q: Can you give us some tips on how to maintain unity and respect within the team?

A: Positive reinforcement is my main coaching tool. This stems from the idea that once a person believes they can perform better, they will psychologically strive to perform in accordance with that belief. I always maintain a healthy respect for my paddlers of all levels, since I am often paddling in the boat with them too. I am aware that as a sole person I may not see or understand all things of all paddlers at all times. So I encourage healthy discussion and conversation from my paddlers. This two-way dialogue encourages respect and cohesion amongst the paddlers.

Q: Outside the dragon boating world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?

A: This is always a difficult one. I’m probably going to go with Steve Waugh. From watching him play I always felt that he had good respect for the sport and the competitors alike. Sport is a microcosm of life in many ways, and as such I am still always motivated by love.


Photos: Michael Daniel Photography (Australian Auroras Squad); Instant Photos Publications Australia (Black Dragons DBC); Papillon Marcel; Audio Reign
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