Meet our Coaches

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Melanie Conard

Since beginning her paddling career in a dragon boat, Mel has now done most of the big outrigger races in the world, and has raced on Team Canada at both the World Sprint and the World Distance Championships. To this day Mel maintains her devastating effectiveness by rolling up her sleeves and taking everything personally. Melanie got into serious paddling by haphazardly accepting any and every challenge put in front of her, she has now become the true force behind the scenes at Latitude 48. Mel enjoys seeing paddlers develop and reach their potential, and has a special passion for helping women unleash their inner paddling beast.

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James Hill

After getting into paddling through dragon boat, James was coerced to start coaching with a mere six months of paddling experience and has been learning and loving coaching ever since. James enjoys learning about human performance and coaching theories, and putting that knowledge into effect by helping people discover their passion for paddling and reaching beyond what they assumed limits. As an athlete, James has competed in the Moloka’i Hoe, Pailolo Challenge, Catalina Crossing, Queen Liliuokalani, the Maui 2 Moloka’i OC1 race and countless local and regional races. Having now coached everyone from novices who had never paddled before on up to Team Canada, James is proud to be working with Latitude 48 to build this new club and it’s athletes.

 

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Jim Pearson

Jim has been in the Victoria paddling community so long that you'd swear you saw his face in one of the black and white photos of the swimming festivals from the turn of the (last) century. The typical strong, silent type, Jim has ironed the Moloka'i Hoe in seat 6 both times a Vancouver Island-based team has attempted the race, not to mention steering the Catalina Crossing several times, Queen Lilli in 2012 and a couple of first place finishes at the Columbia River. Jim has also completed three Maui 2 Moloka'i crossings in OC1. While Jim is frequently reticent, when he does speak his keen technical eye becomes obvious with his incisive wisdom on efficient and effective paddling form.

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Samuel Lu

Sam started paddling in grade 11 on the junior dragon boat team Ourobouros in Vancouver, and his passion for paddling has only increased from there. Sam moved to Victoria to begin university, and started paddling outrigger canoes shortly afterwards. In 2015 Sam had the honour of being selected for the Canadian National U24 Dragon Boat Team, and brought home several medals from that year's world championships. Sam has also founded and coaches the UvIc Paddling Club, introducing the sport to many people for the first time.

Over his paddling career, Sam has trained under several top level coaches, building on his knowledge of paddling technique and learning how success in a team is not achieved by talented individuals, but the strength of your teammates. Sam strives to pass on not only his knowledge and love of paddling, but aims to build a strong sense of team work and community

Collectively our leadership team has coached paddlers from novices to Team Canada, and taken teams to race locally, nationally and internationally. Beyond coaching we are athletes that have raced and competed at the highest levels in our sports. From major channel crossings in Hawaii to racing on Team Canada for world competitions in Dragon Boat and Outrigger, our team has a wealth of competitive experience to pass on to future athletes. We believe in community, and have learned that paddling together builds strong bonds, friendships, a sense of belonging and a network of support that can be hard to find elsewhere in modern life..