Can anyone come paddling?

Yes, men, women and children of all abilities are able to paddle.

Is there an age limit?

Paddlers must be at least 12 years of age, but there is no upper age limit. Our oldest member was 86!

Is it hard to learn?

It is not hard to learn. You will be taught by qualified coaches who will take you through warm up exercises and the basics of paddling on land before boarding the boat to tackle the water. Learning takes place over a number of weekly paddling sessions to introduce you to the techniques and rules of dragon boat paddling.

How fit do I need to be?

You just need to be mobile and be able to get in and out of the boat. As you become more experienced the paddling sessions increase in intensity to help develop your fitness.

How often do I have to train? What if I can’t make it that all the time?

The Club currently has three training sessions a week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Times for the sessions change with the seasons.

Do I need to buy a paddle? What equipment do I need?

When you first begin the Club will provide you with a paddle. If you decide to continue with the sport and become a member you will probably decide to purchase your own carbon fibre paddle. New paddles can cost around $300 but used paddles are always available for sale on several websites. You may also decide to use gloves ($25).

What do I need to wear?

You need comfortable lightweight stretchy clothing, but shorts and t-shirt or singlet shirt are the choice of most paddlers. Sunscreen and a sun visor are advisable.

Is there a place where I can change into my paddling clothes?

You can use our club rooms at the Bellinger River Sailing Club to change and there is also a public toilet building across the road from the clubhouse.

What can I expect at a training?

You can expect a very friendly welcome from all paddlers! You will be given a quick introduction by one of the coaches, go through some warmup exercises followed by an explanation of the stroke technique and common commands used in the boat. You will then load the boat with other learner paddlers and with some more experienced paddlers for a session on the water. The whole session will last about 30-40 minutes at first and will build to longer sessions.

Is it safe? I’m worried about capsizing…

There is always a chance of a capsize as it is a water sport, however you should remember you can wear a life jacket if you are concerned or cannot swim 50 metres fully clothed. Also remember that the dragon boat has positive flotation which means it will not sink entirely and it will be used as a support in the water. There are safety procedures the steerer and/or coach will explain before the session begins.

What if it rains?

All decisions regarding the safety of paddling in inclement weather is made by the steelers / coaches. Light rain very rarely prevents us from paddling but paddling when there is thunder and lightning is not usual. The ultimate decision to paddle if it is raining is up to the individual.

If there are two paddlers for every row, don’t you get really big on one side?

No, because paddlers swap sides in the boat during every paddling session. The only time this will not happen is if a paddler is carrying an injury and needs to remain on a particular side.

How much does it cost?

The first 3 paddling sessions are free. Once you decide to become a member of the Club you will have an annual membership fee which is currently $175.00. This includes a membership with our state body Dragon Boats NSW (DBNSW) of $115.00 and a club membership of $60.00. The Club will provide you with paddle initially, but most paddlers soon purchase their own carbon fibre paddle and a new paddle costs around $150-300, but there is always used paddles for sale through different outlets. You will be asked to purchase a Club “dress shirt” and other items are available to purchase.

What is the culture of the club like? Is it social or competitive?

Titivators is well known in the fraternity as the “friendly club”. We are extremely social and encourage all members to participate as they can and wish. Regular get togethers happen and all members are invited and usually their families as well. Our Club also competes at various regattas on the north coast, occasionally in Sydney, Brisbane, and even Wellington NZ. Competing in these events is voluntary but all members are asked to seriously commit to the event if going. Competition entry fees are usually paid by the Club whilst travel, food and accommodation costs are met by the members. The Club holds fundraising events a couple of times a year and while all members are asked to help, we always have a fun time.

Is dragon boating a big sport in Australia?

Dragon boating is a growing and popular sport in Australia. DBNSW boasts over 3200 members with one of the larger state memberships. Australia holds annual National Championships and participates, very competitively and often successfully, at the international championships. Members can pursue competing in regional, state and national squads if they desire.

How often do you race?

We attend 6-8 regattas a year spaced out over the year, but this can be more if enough paddlers are interested in events as they arise.

When does the season start?

For all DBNSW clubs the season runs from July to June each year. On the north coast we tend to paddle for the whole year with a short break at Christmas.