Tips and Techniques

1) A team is comprised of the team manager, a drummer, 20 paddlers, and 3 spares. Each team must include a minimum of eight women per race. A team may provide a "trained steersperson" or one will be provided for the team. Note: Any team that allows a person not listed on the team roster to race in the dragon boats may be disqualified. Persons under 16 years old must have a waiver signed by a parent/guardian to participate.

2) All paddlers must be capable of paddling 500 meters.

3) Teams first do exercises to warm up.

4) The boats are about 42 feet long, 3.5 feet wide, and weigh about 550 pounds.

5) It will take about 2.3 minutes to complete the course.

6) Plan for your weight distribution in the boat.

7) The lead paddlers are the main focal point of the boat; everyone paddles off their lead. The drummer drums off their lead and that is where you get your major timing and speed. The drummer gets the cadence off the lead paddlers. The noise gets the team motivated and the audience excited about the race.

8) If the team spirit is high and your synchronization is like a well-oiled machine with everyone in sync, you will be a winner.

9) The start of the race can make or break the race. The idea is to have 8 fast choppy strokes to get your boat up on plane and after 20 strokes, you should have the speed so you can sit back into a mode to pull you through the middle of the race until the end. You should have enough energy to do a short sprint to the finish line.

10) You will want to practice your "power counts" together. This is where you get your technique and timing down. It's done by keeping in sync with the lead paddlers and counting with them, 1 to 10 all in a strong cadence. You keep counting 1 through 10 faster and faster until you get to a speed that you want to carry though the center of the course leaving some energy for your final sprint. The drummer takes the cadence off the lead paddlers to maintain a smooth stroke in the middle part of the race.

11) The strokes you take with the paddle can be quick and shallow or longer and deeper. You will want to determine when to use each and for how long depending on your overall strategy. The placement of your inside elbow can make a difference in the power of your stroke as will your hand placement.

12) Some teams come up with a "team chant" in order to build team spirit.

13) Some teams sing a song like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or "The Mickey Mouse Song" to practice their timing together as well as building a team spirit and comradery. Some even put their paddles in three different (drill team) positions as they sing and paddle.

14) You might want your own flag for the "Parade of Teams."

15) A team t-shirt builds comradery and if you bring a spare one, you can exchange it with another team member from another group.

16) You will want to learn a short history of dragon boat racing to answer questions that people might ask you.

17) You will be using the Hong Kong style boats versus the Taiwan style for their speed in racing.

18) Some teams use a catchy name for their team name.

19) Remember, the real goal is having fun through paddling together and raising money for our community at the same time.