Below is a short list of answers to some of the most asked questions over the years. It covers everything from Paddler Safety to Time Commitment. If you have questions beyond what is included here, please head over to the Contact Info page for more help.

Paddlers Safety

The Fraser Valley Paddling Club and the Pirates Dragon Boat Team adhere to very strict guidelines when it comes to paddler safety both in and out of the boat. Paddler safety is paramount.

Your coach will go over all safety practices at the beginning of the paddling year and will also repeat the safety concerns throughout the paddling season.

For more information about paddler and/or team safety please access the Safety Manual.

If you have any questions regarding paddler and team safety please contact your boat captain or coach. They will be more than happy to get you the answers to all your questions.

Try For Free

Our sport is not for everyone but it is for most people. Trying a new sport can be daunting for some. Being around new people in an unfamiliar environment can be a little intimidating. What if you don’t like it.

We encourage potential paddlers to try it a few times before committing. Our club and our team have a Try Before You Buy policy. You have the opportunity to come out and participate in up to three practices for free before committing.

Three practices is usually plenty of time to decide if this sport is right for you.

If you are interested in trying our sport you can reach us in the Contact Us section of the website. We look forward to meeting you and introducing you to the fast growing water sport in the world. Come out and give it a try.


So you just joined the Pirates and you are getting ready for your first practice but you don’t know what to wear. Well we have all been right where you are now.

What does one wear to a dragon boat practice? What you wear will depend on the weather, the time of year and personal choices.

At the start of the season the weather is usually a little on the cooler side. You would want to think about wearing layers of clothing. A thermal shirt with a heavier shirt over top followed by a wind and water resistant jacket. Sweat pants are fine to keep your legs warm. A warm hat or ear muffs are also a good idea. Please stay away from denim (jeans) as they are bulky and they absorb water.

In addition to your clothing you might want to look at purchasing Neoprene gloves for your hands and a butt pad for your backside. Water and wind resistant jackets and pants can also be a good investment.

As the weather warms up less and less clothing is needed to keep warm. In the late spring, summer and early fall you will most likely get away with just shorts and a t-shirt

Please remember that dragon boating is a water sport and you will get wet. Dressing accordingly is recommended


All paddlers need two basic pieces of equipment to paddle. They need a paddle to move the boat and they need a life jacket for safety. Both items are supplied within our club. The life jackets are a generic fit and the paddles are a club paddle which are made of wood and on the heavier side.

Though club equipment is great when first starting out, most paddlers prefer to have their own equipment. A racing style life jacket is usually the first purchase by new paddlers. They can find one that is more appealing both in fit and colour. The second purchase is usually a better quality paddle. A new paddler will be looking at either a lighter wood paddle, a carbon fiber paddle or a hybrid between the two.

Dragon boat accessories are also available These include items like neoprene gloves, butt pads and paddle specific clothing then complete their wardrobe.

Fitness Levels

One of the most asked questions has to do with fitness levels. Fitness levels within this sport vary from paddler to paddler, team to team and from club to club. Regardless of the initial fitness level a new paddler will slowly and methodically build up an endurance base from practice to practice. They will develop muscle memory from repetition and they will gradually move away from thinking about what they are doing to just doing it.

Their bodies will get stronger, their cardiovascular system will get stronger and their endurance will improve. What they thought was so daunting when they first got into the boat will become second nature. For some paddlers this comes easy, for others it takes a little time.

Time Commitment

Our sport is one of repetition. The more you do it the better you become. Learning the basics of our sport can be taught in an afternoon. Our sport is one in which almost everyone can participate. If you have the ability to sit in a boat, hold a paddle and pull the paddle through the water to generate forward movement in the boat then you can paddle in a dragon boat.

Racing in a dragon boat, however, is a different story. Most dragon boat races are 500m in length and can take up to 3 minutes to finish. To be able to properly compete in these races you need to train. You need to learn proper paddling techniques, you need to build muscle memory, you need to build endurance and you need to build confidence. All this takes time. For new paddlers this may seem daunting but it is not. It is a slow and steady progression that starts with your first practice.

The Pirates practice twice weekly (dates to be determined at the start of each new year). Each practice is usually around 90 minutes in length. Practices consist of a warm up component used to get your body ready for the activity, the practice component (which consists of numerous drills used to build stamina, endurance, paddling technique,) and the cool down/stretching warm-down.

So you come to practice and slowly and methodically become a good paddler. Now what? Well the reason we practice is to race. Racing allows us to compete against other teams to see how we fare. A dragon boat event is called a regatta. There are numerous regattas offered throughout the dragon boat season. These events can be one or two days in length and are located all over BC and beyond. The regattas we compete are determined at the start of the year. Regattas are not mandatory for paddlers. Some paddlers will attend all regatta while others may pick and choose the ones they are able to attend.