SAN DIEGO DRAGON BOAT TEAM COACHING STAFF
Head Coach since 2022
Member since 2017
While paddling with UCSD Dragon Boat Team from 2013-2017, Michael served as Vice President from 2015-2016. After graduating, he pulled double duty by paddling with SDDBT and serving as Head Coach of his former collegiate team.
Michael’s experience also includes paddling with Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club since 2017 and Southbreeze Dragon Boat since 2018. He was selected to be a member of Team USA U24 in 2017.
In the coaching realm, Michael draws inspiration from all of his previous coaches who shared their passion for paddling with him. And he is now excited to spread that passion to those around him. “As a coach, I love working with paddlers of all abilities and helping people realize their own potential, one ‘lightbulb moment’ at a time.”
Assistant Coach since 2019
Head Coach from 2014-2019
Member since 2004
For many years, Steve and Karen enjoyed whitewater kayaking and were guides in San Diego waters as well as on the Kern River.
Steve was late to the dragon boat party, and for good reason. He wanted Karen to have something of her own that she could use to get away from him. Then one day at a wedding reception in 2004 (and after one too many fruity rum drinks), Steve agreed to go to practice early the next morning. Once the hangover and nausea subsided, he realized that this dragon boat thing was pretty cool.
Steve raced in Kaohsiung Taiwan in 2005, World Club Crew Championships in Toronto in 2006, and then the World Championships in Sydney in 2007, where he brought home a bronze in the 200m sprints.
Steve also competes with the Hanohano Outrigger Canoe team and enjoys hitting the ocean regularly on his personal canoe. After taking a break to focus on outrigger for several years, he returned to SDDBT in 2014 and found that there was a need for a new coach. Naturally, he stepped in to the fray. Over his tenure, Steve watched the team grow and blossom into a true “team” and watched paddlers, who “never thought they would be doing something like this” develop and mature into excellent paddlers and teammates.
Steve found that he was driven by the desire to grow and nurture a true team. And SDDBT provided an excellent avenue to do just that.
Steve served as SDDBT’s President from 2005-2010. Aside from the growth and prosperity of the team, Steve’s legacy was in helping to develop the initial years of the San Diego Dragon Boat race on Mission Bay and also the purchase of a new fleet of 10-man boats.
Assistant Coach since 2014
Member since 2002
Assistant Coach since 2014, Karen Jewel switched gears from whitewater paddling to outrigger paddling when joining Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club in 1994. As a paddling die-hard who wanted to experience other options, Karen joined San Diego Dragon Boat Team in 2002 to pursue the challenges presented by the ancient Chinese tradition. She also became a skilled steersperson of these 20-crew member boats.
Coach Karen has competed on the Premier Women’s Team at World Championships in Poznan, Poland and Shanghai, China, Senior A in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, and Senior B in Kunming, China in 2017. She has also competed on several Club Crew World Championships with SDDBT.
Karen was most recently a member of the SDDBT Premier and Women’s B teams that both earned berths to compete in the 12th IDBF Club Crew World Championships (CCWC) scheduled for Aix Les Baines, France in August 2020.
Assistant Coach since 2021
Member since 2018
Lured to Southern California’s water from his landlubber days as a diehard runner, Alan has amassed an impressive paddling resume in a relatively short amount of time. Joining SDDBT in 2018 after a two-year paddling stint with UCSD Dragon Boat Team, he competed on Team USA U24 in the 2019 IDBF World Dragon Boat Championships in Thailand where he hauled in four bronze medals in the international competition.
In 2021, Alan also raced with Southbreeze Dragon Boat’s Premier team in Sarasota, Florida, where they took first place overall at the event. Aside from dragon boating, he has become an avid outrigger paddler with Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club and completed his first Catalina Island crossing in 2021.
More recently, Alan raced as a member of Team USA Premier at the 16th World Dragon Boat Racing Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. Alan shared this experience with SDDBT Head Coach, Michael Chiang, and Assistant Coach, Zoey Chiang.
Alan enjoys being an assistant coach because if provides him with an opportunity to share his love for paddling with others. His goal is to help SDDBT members become faster on the water through good paddling basics, technique and solid conditioning. And through it all, Alan hopes paddlers understand that they don’t necessarily have to be the strongest, nor the most fit person on the boat to be able to move the boat fast.
Assistant Coach since 2022
Member since 2019
Launching into water sports in her family’s backyard pond in Illinois and during camping adventures in Wisconsin, Zoey was excited to head to west and be near the Pacific when attending UCSD. While maintaining interest in canoeing and kayaking, she was eager to tackle a team sport that would put her on the water. Dragon boating was a natural.
Zoey was a member of UCSD Dragon Boat from 2016-2020, where she served as President, Vice President and Safety Officer. She competed in the Team USA U24 division at the 2019 IDBF World Dragon Boat Championships in Pattaya, Thailand and was also selected to compete in the 2021 IDBF World Dragon Boat Championships in Hong Kong which was canceled due to COVID. Zoey also paddles with Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club and Southbreeze, which placed first overall in Premier Mixed and Premier Women’s divisions at 2021 Club Crew National Championships in Sarasota, Florida.
More recently, Zoey raced as a member of Team USA Premier at the 16th World Dragon Boat Racing Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. Zoey shared this experience with SDDBT Head Coach, Michael Chiang, and Assistant Coach, Alan Loi.
What Zoey enjoys most about coaching is sharing her love of water and sports with others. Her focus is on helping SDDBT paddlers develop skills and technique in a manner that fosters a sense of teamwork and camaraderie as individuals progress together.
Assistant Coach since 2024
Member since 2015
Growing up on a 20-acre ranch below sea level outside of El Centro, California, Sylvia quickly learned that joining sports gave her more time to spend with friends.
After moving to San Diego in 2004, she decided to take her passion for athletics from land to ocean when a co-worker recommended outrigger canoeing. As Sylvia describes it, “Swimming in a canal and ordering water by the inches to irrigate the fields in El Centro is much different than the water I experienced in the ocean.” Knowing that she enjoyed paddling, she found the sport of Dragon Boating.
Since joining SDDBT, Sylvia has enjoyed the opportunity to compete with SDDBT and a variety of teams in local, regional, national and international races that include the 2019 PDBA Regionals in Vancouver, Washington. It was this race where she paddled on the SDDBT Premier Team that earned a berth to compete in the 12th IDBF Club Crew World Championships (CCWC) scheduled for Aix Les Baines, France in August 2020.
Serving as Treasurer since 2017, Sylvia received the 2018 SDDBT Paddler of the Year Award. As for the future, she aspires to continue growing as a paddler and racing as much as possible.
Assistant Coach since 2024
Member since 2018
“I’m excited to help coach SDDBT because I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of advice,” says Spencer. “So, I want to be able to give that same assistance to the next generation or paddlers.”
The San Diego native began his dragon boat experience while attending UCSD and joined SDDBT in 2018. Spencer traveled to Wenzhou, China to compete as a member of UCSD and also paddled with SDDBT at the PDBA Regionals in Vancouver, Washington in 2019. Like many people, he took a hiatus from paddling in 2020-2021. When returning to the sport in 2022, Spencer competed with Team USA U24 for the 2023 competition in Pattaya, Thailand.
“My favorite part of dragon boating is having such a large team to motivate and support me,” Spencer says. “Moving forward, I hope to expand my technical knowledge and meet more members of the dragon boat community.”