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Team History


Team History


DragonMax History

Our club got its start in the mid 1990’s when Rodger Garfinkle and Linda Lee became the coach and manager of the eDragons, an Oakland based team that raced in local festivals. By 2002 eDragons joined forces with the Berkeley Dragons to officially become DragonMax and set up operations in the Berkeley Marina. The team took its name from Rodger and Linda’s daughter, Maxine, because they were draggin’ Max to all the races!
Enthusiasm for paddling grew and eventually team members didn’t want to take the long layoff that came each winter because of the short days. Under the umbrella of the Berkeley Racing Canoe Center, born in 2003, DragonMax became the only Bay Area team with year round training, using lights to navigate during the dark winter practices. By 2014, the club expanded its fleet to 4 dragon boats and its available practices to 5 days a week.
The diversity of Berkeley and its neighboring communities is mirrored when a crew hits the water. By working together, there’s room for everyone from the novice paddler to the most competitive who races internationally! With over 180 members at all ages and stages in life, ability levels and experience, there’s something for everyone.
As part of the Berkeley Racing Canoe Center, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, we’re committed to community service and give free dragon boat rides to over 1,500 community members and groups each year. All comers, kids included, take advantage of these rides during the Bay Fest and 4th of July festivals put on by the city of Berkeley. Camps, school groups, and clubs seek us out as partners for outings specially targeted to their age groups. Corporate work groups have returned time and again for team building sessions on the water.
There’s a place for everyone in dragon boating. We find great joy in being on the water with one another and think you will too. Come try us out!

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2017 DragonMax & BRCC Staff

Rodger Garfinkle
DragonMax Head Coach/
BRCC Competition Direction

I have been a dragon boat coach and race organizer since 1998. I enjoy coaching and working with people of all ages and skill levels because I believe dragon boating changes people's lives for the better. Building a large, healthy, social and supportive group of paddlers that is dedicated to community service and helping grow the sport of dragon boat racing has always been my top priority for DragonMax.  My goal is to keep our crews racing at the world championship level so that DragonMax paddlers can continue to experience all the sport has to offer.

Linda Lee
DragonMax Team Manager

I have been involved with dragon boating for 20 years.  I served on the IDBA board (an organization that planned dragon boat events) for 5 years.  Soon after, we branched off to form DragonMax, named after our daughter whom we drag all over the place.  I keep this extended family in line - herding them wherever we go - domestically and internationally.  I'm the manager.  


Jenny So
BRCC Membership

As a membership director, I collect and remind members of the their dues. Keeping a record of our members information is my first priority. Submitting waivers to our insurance provider is also one of my duties. Even as a non-athlete, I can say paddling is suitable for people of any age.  Sweat, fun, glory and medals: you can get all of the above here.


Mary Ann Rettig-Zucchi
BRCC President

As President of BRCC, I make sure there is something to sustain hungry board members at their bi-monthly meetings. I pull together the agenda with an eye on the club's dual goals of promoting competitive dragon boat racing and providing water access and teamwork experiences to the broader community.  I ensure that fun on the water is backed by current insurance and work with the City of Berkeley to make sure BRCC has a home for its fleet of dragon boats, kayaks, and outriggers.

Paul Kamen
BRCC Vice President

I'm in charge of safety and steering certifications - blame me for the long written tests. I also manage the key list and other menial tasks for BRCC. I'm a naval architect, with specialties in resistance and propulsion. If you are confused about the science of making a boat go fast, I'm happy to add to your confusion. I serve on Berkeley 's Parks & Waterfront Commission, and have raced sailboats long before getting involved with dragon boats, including 19 races to Hawaii . There's a local race out of Berkeley YC every Friday evening all summer, and beginner crews are welcome.

Barbara Nishi
BRCC Secretary

My role is to attend BRCC board meetings and record the minutes. I post copies of the minutes to the DragonMax Yahoo group and then Paul K. posts them on the BRCC website. Sometimes I have a request to look something up in the minutes to verify accuracy (usually on budget items) and I get back to whoever needed the info with the facts as they have been recorded.  I try to keep things simple and straightforward.  


Mike Graham
BRCC Fleet Captain

The fleet manager is concerned with maintenance of BRCC equipment.  I call upon other  DragonMax team members to help me maintain the boats, making small repairs to operating gear, paint and varnish application, and locker and dock maintenance.


Grant Bennett
BRCC Treasurer

As treasurer, I assist the board with managing BRCC's budget and prepare reporting on the state of our finances.

Mary McDonald
BRCC Outreach

As outreach director, I'm here to schedule your outing and ensure that you have the best time possible on the water.  Contact me to schedule your next team building or social event and be sure to visit us during the Bay Festival or on July 4 for a free boat ride! 

Thanks to these amazing people who work behind the scenes to make the team run so smoothly!