Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I AM NOT SURE ABOUT MY FITNESS LEVEL?
We all need to start somewhere. If you have the desire, heart and willpower, we can get you paddling. Paddling is a fun, addictive sport that is for everyone. We like active people of all shapes and sizes. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, and if you are a team player, you will see results. You will have teammates who will cheer you on and push you to succeed, both on and off the water. You will quickly see yourself hitting milestones that might surprise even yourself.
Q: Do I need dragon boat experience?
It is helpful if you have paddling experience, but if you have never paddled before, you are still welcome to drop in and see what we are about. It is more important that you are coachable and are willing to fully commit to this team. We will give you every opportunity to get up to speed.
Q: How old do you have to be to paddle for Kamloops Interior Dragons?
In order to compete in the 55+ Games, you must have your 55th birthday before the end of the calendar year. KIDS is a 55+ group so that the club can compete in the 55+ Games each year. Most of the other festivals we attend do not have a 55+ category, so we compete against teams of all ages. If you are near 55, we encourage you to contact us to discuss what options might be available.
Q: What should I wear?
You can begin dragon boating without any specialized gear. The following is a list of recommendations:
All clothing should be loose or stretchable for ease of movement (denim is not recommended).
It can be chilly in the spring, so you may wish to wear long pants and a jacket – just remember that you must fit a PFD on top. Your clothing WILL get wet, so quick-dry fabric is best, and you may want to bring something warm and dry to put on when you get out of the boat at the beginning of the season. Neoprene gloves and socks are useful for keeping hands and feet warm and dry, but are not necessary.
We do paddle in the rain, so light rain gear is useful on a wet day.
Layers are best for cooler days – you may start out chilly, but will quickly warm up once you begin paddling, and you may wish to shed a layer. Your PFD also adds warmth.
Shorts, skorts, or capris, and short-sleeved or sleeveless shirts are recommended for warmer days. Paddling or cycling shorts are helpful, but not necessary.
Be sure to protect yourself on sunny days with a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses (maybe secured with a strap). Your hat must be secure enough that it will not blow off and should not impede your paddling. And don’t forget your water bottle!
Supportive, waterproof footwear with grips should be worn. If you wear sandals, they should have a strap for the heel. Flip flops are not recommended.
Most people like to use some kind of seat pad in the boat. Seat pads made specifically for dragon boats can be purchased, but less expensive options are also available.
Paddling gloves may be worn, but are not necessary.
Jewelry should not be worn.
Q: What is dragon boating?
Dragon boating is the fastest growing water sport in the world. In a festival, dragon boats compete with each other on the water in a variety of different course lengths, such as 200, 250, 500, 1000 or 2000 metres. A 500 metre race is the most exciting two and a half minutes you can have in a boat!
Q: Isn't dragon boating just for women?
Not at all. Dragon boat festivals typically include races for mixed teams, women’s teams, and at some events, men’s teams. We encourage both men and women to join our team.
Q: What equipment do I need?
Essential equipment is a paddle and personal flotation device (PFD). Both of these are available at the compound for paddlers to use during practices. Most paddlers buy their own once they have fallen in love with the sport.
Q: Can I try before I join?
Yes, you can. In fact, we encourage potential paddlers to give it a try it a few times before committing. Newcomers can paddle three times for free before committing to the team. Most paddlers sign up after their first practice.
Q: Must I be a strong swimmer?
No. PFDs MUST be worn at all times. Prior to going out on the water you will be fitted and instructed on how to properly use a PFD. Also, we have a specific Safety Protocol, which is found on this website and posted in our compound. Dragon boats very rarely capsize and our paddlers, coaches, and steerspeople are aware of what to do if such an incident should occur. To date, the KIDS have not experienced a capsized boat.
Q: Are practices cancelled in inclement weather?
Practices are cancelled only if strong winds, extreme cold, or lightning storms make it dangerous to be on the water. Excessive smoke from forest fires and flooding have also caused practices to be suspended in the past. Rain, however, is not an excuse to stay home!
Q: When AND WHERE are practices?
We have three practices per week: Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday mornings. Tuesdays and Thursday practices begin at 5:15 p.m. for the entire season. Saturday practices begin at 9 a.m. from the beginning of the season in April until the May long weekend. After the May long weekend, Saturday practices begin at 8 a.m. We meet at the Dragon Boat compound, which is located east of Pioneer Park. We launch from the Pioneer Park boat launch, 45-7th Avenue.
Q: How long are practices?
We start with a short dryland warm up and then launch the boats about 15 minutes later. We are on the water for 60 to 90 minutes. Early in the season practices tend to be shorter, and when preparing for festivals we might go a bit longer.
Q: How much does it cost?
Registration fees are $225 for the season. However, the early bird rate of $200 is available until April 30. Festival costs, including registration, are in addition to this.
Q: What time commitment is expected?
Practices are held three times per week and we encourage paddlers to attend as many as they can.
Q: Can the boats tip over?
Our boats are very stable and we have never experienced one tipping over. That said, although unlikely, it is possible for a dragon boat to capsize or tip over. Part of our training involves reviewing protocol for such events and minimizing any dangers.
Q. How many dragon boat clubs are there in Kamloops?
Kamloops has three dragon boat clubs – Kamloops Interior Dragons (KIDS), which is for men and women aged 55 years and older; Kamloops Dragon Boat Club, which is for women and men of any age; and Spirit Warriors, which is a breast cancer survivor team. All clubs share the compound located near Pioneer Park boat launch.