Committee 2015 – 2016

President – Mark van Tatenhove

MarkThis is my third season as a member of the club, and first year as President.

I originally joined through Meet-up, at a time when I really needed friendship and support.  Melbourne Flames have been very accepting and like a second family in ways.  I enjoy the comradeship and the fact that we all work for the team on and off the water.  

When I originally joined the club, I just wanted to be a Sunday paddler, but as I became more involved, I wanted to give back and stepped up for the role of Vice-President last year.  This year I want to help the team get to Adelaide for the World Club Crew Championships and increase my fitness and participation.

Vice-President & Senior Coach – Reka Abraham

RekaI have been paddling with the Melbourne Flames since I immigrated from Hungary in 2011.  I have been paddling since the age of 9, both kayaking and dragon boats, and was the Junior Kayak Marathon World Champion in 2002 & 2003 and National Hungarian Champion. I was recognised as “the Best Athlete in Home Region” by sports journalists. 

From 2006 to 2011 I was the assistant Coach of my home Kayak Club in Gyor, Hungary.  I hold a Degree in Physical Education and Recreation.

Since arriving in Australia, Dragon Boat racing has become my focus.  I have represented Australia in the 2012 Asian Championships in South Korea, 2013 World Championships in Hungary, 2014 Asian Championships in Macau and 2014 Inaugural World Cup in China.

Recently I competed at the 2015 Canoe Marathon World Championships in m
y home town in Gyor, in which I competed in the K2 Women’s division over 26.1km.

I am currently working as a kayak coach with Methodist Ladies College, Camberwell Grammar School and the Ivanhoe/Northcote Canoe Club.

I am delighted to be appointed as the Vice President of the Melbourne Flames and I look forward to the exciting season ahead!

Treasurer – Jennifer Brown (JB)

 Known around the club as "JB", my real name is Jennifer Brown.

JB I have been a Melbourne Flames club member since 2010, and again this year I am fulfilling the role of Club Treasurer. 

IN my younger days! having made my first kayak with my brother when I was 13, I have always loved playing recreationally in kayaks, canoes and rafts on rivers and rapids … and then I found Dragon boating!

Over the years, I have enjoyed paddling with the Melbourne Flames in many regattas and have loved working with my team mates, on improving fitness, strength and paddling technique, and being part of the Melbourne Flames family.

This has led to representing Victoria at Australian Championships, and gaining selection in the "Auroras" on numerous occasions, representing Australia in crews as part of the Asian Championships, (2012, 2014) World Championships (2013, 2015) and the exciting 1st World Cup in China last year.

My background is of that of Health & Physical Education, Outdoor Education teacher, having taught in a variety of Secondary schools, the Australian Outward Bound School, and overseas in South Korea.  I am currently working part time at Monash University and casually with VCAA (Victorian Curriculum Assessment and Authority). Bring on the 2015/2016 Season!!!

Secretary – Varsha Fernandez

VarshaI have enjoyed paddling as a member of the Melbourne Flames for just over 2 years now.  I originally joined to keep active, make new friends and to achieve a balance.  Being part of the Flames provided that and so much more.  Every training session and regatta and National Championships fuelled my desire not only to be the best I could be as a paddler but also the best we could be as a team.

 It’s been an incredible 2014/15 Season for the Club and for me to be part of its achievements and I look forward to working with the Committee this season, especially as we prepare our sights toward the Club Crew World Championships in Adelaide.  We have achieved so much and there is so much more on the horizon…. 

Club Captain – Georgina Wakim

GeorgieBetter known as "Georgie" I hope that I will be available and approachable to all club members, at any time for a chat or to discuss any issues that may arise.  I will always be honest, fair and put the team first!

In addition to being the Vice Capitan of the Australian National Dragon Boat Team ‘The Auroras’ for the 2012 Asian Championships in South Korea, I was proudly the Co-Captain of the Auroras at the 2013 World Championships in Hungary, the 2014 Asian Championships in Macau, and Inaugural World Cup held in Fuzhou, China in 2014.

 At the 2011 World Championships in Tampa I was proudly a member of  Auroras Senior A Women Crew where we became World Champions, and recently at the  2015 World Championships in Canada I was given the honour of being the Australian Flag Bearer.

I’m so excited about the 2015/16 season with Melbourne Flames, the current Premier Club Crew Champions in Australia. I’m confident that together we will grow and strengthen our Club culture to achieve all our goals for this season. In my role as Club Captain, I am very happy to share my experience and knowledge, both on and off the water, with my fellow Team-mates and as a committee member of Melbourne Flames DB Club.

Head Coach – Serghei Cucsa

SergeI have an extensive background in paddling, initially as a canoe paddler, competing in canoe paddling from 1977, in Moldova (USSR) and became a Master of Sport of USSR in 1981. I last raced as canoe paddler in 1986 in Ukraine (USSR). I hold a Bachelor in Physical Education and Sport (1985) and a PhD in Sport Science (1991) from USSR. From 1987 I was a Lecturer in Sport and Pedagogical Institutes in Moldova and during 1988-1991 was a Scientific Researcher /Adviser for National Soviet Union Canoeing Team. In October 1997 I moved to Australia and in 1999 became an Australian Coach for the Canoe team.

I started paddling in dragon boats in 1998 and was one of the founding members in establishing the Melbourne Dragon Boat Club and became the Club Coach from 2006. I have paddled and coached at club, national and international level. At the Club level, I have supported the developed Melbourne Flames into a strong competitive club at State and National level, building up our greatest success at the recent Australian Championships, where Melbourne Flames, amongst numerous gold, silver and bronze medals. Australian Champions club 2015 (10 gold and 2 silver medals) and in masters category 2 gold medals.

Serge2I paddled and coached the Masters Team for Australia at the World Championships in 2007 gaining a bronze medal for the 2km distance. Since 2010 I have been the Australian Head Coach covering three Asian Championships (2010 , 2012 and 2014) with total number of medals - 2 silver and 13 bronze and three World Championships (2011, 2013 & 2015) bringing home 32 gold, 55 silver and 36 bronze medals.

General Committee

Alma Ocampo – Recruitment & Social Media

AlmaThis is my second season with Melbourne Flames and it’s my first time to join the General Committee.  I paddled with a local club from the Philippines before and competed internationally in Makassar International Dragonboat Race 2013. I migrated to Australia in 2014 and I did not paddle for a while because I wanted to focus on my studies and nursing career. Eventually I couldn’t ignore the call of the dragon anymore and joined Flames. I had an amazing 2014-2015 Season with Flames. The memories and friendship made during the training sessions, social events and races from Metropolitan and Regional Races, Victorian Titles and Australian Championships were unforgettable. I left my family back home however not only I found new friends but a warm and open family in Melbourne Flames as well. This year we are aiming higher and I’m looking forward to yet another exciting and thrilling dragon boating season. It’s an honour to be part of the committee and my goal is to increase the members of the Flames Family and to have all categories to be well represented.

Lynne Evans – Uniform Manager

LynnI am Lynn Evans.  I enjoy the challenges in the boat and friendly support provided by team members in this Club. I have paddled with the Melbourne Flames since 2008 and competed in every Australian Championship since 2009 in Perth. This year will be exciting and demanding and I look forward to being part of the committee in a season that will see us competing in the Club Crews World Championships.


Soon after joining the Club, I was on the committee for two seasons and am now helping to coordinate uniforms.  Come and see me if you have any questions about the racing or casual clothes which can be ordered on the Melbourne Flames website

Marcel Smit

MarcelI started dragon boating in November 2011 when I joined the Melbourne Flames, making this my fifth season. Since then I have attended 4 National Championships with the club (Melbourne, Penrith, Sunshine Coast, Perth),  and in addition I have represented Australia as a member of ‘The Auroras’ at the 11th World Nation championships in Szeged, Hungary. I thoroughly enjoy dragon boating, it is a vigorous sport that keeps you fit, together with a great bunch of people.


I look forward to the coming season!

Hannah Dixon

HannahI moved across from WA to join the Flames at the beginning of the 14/15 season, making it my 4th season of dragon boating. Coming from a junior/development coach position at the Fremantle Swans, I soon became part of the DBV Junior Development Committee, something I am very passionate about.
I was recently the co-captain of the u24 Vic state team and have represented Australia at 5 international events, including World Championships, Asian Championships and the World Cup.
I love Dragon boating and canoeing and I’m looking forward to another great season of paddling with the Flames as a general committee member!