Not a breast cancer survivor and want to participate?
Absolutely! Our Prairie Partners (link to Join) are a network of friends, family, and people who love to support the team. We are blessed to live in a community bursting with various talents. Bring your ideas and talents and enthusiasm! We believe everyone has been touched by cancer and surrounding yourself with survivors can cultivate a positive, uplifting environment.
What do I need for practice?
The team has a supply of paddles and life jackets (although you are welcome to bring your own). We will supply camaraderie, motivation, instruction, and coaching. Paddling a dragon boat is a cost effective way to increase mental focus and physical fitness. We encourage you to wear sun block and sunglasses (a safety string is always helpful) and wear clothing and shoes ((Teva, Columbia, and Keene make great waterproof sandals) that you don’t mind getting wet and that dries quickly. Some paddlers bring seat cushions such as kayak seat cushions, rubber carpet padding, and garden pads. Oh, and bring a smile…it will prepare you for the laughs ahead!
Where do Prairie Dragon Paddlers practice?
What does it cost to join Prairie Dragon Paddlers?
Annual membership dues are $75 per year. This covers your own Prairie Dragon Paddler t-shirt, entrance to all races, team events, race-day PFDs (personal floatation devices) and paddles for practice, as well as mooring, storage and insurance costs.
How can I join (or participate) with the team?
Go to Join or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to meet you and discuss your interest.
Do I need to be athletic or have paddling experience?
No and no. You only need a desire to try something new! The beauty of dragon boating is that just about anyone can do it regardless of how strong or skilled you are. A significant factor in speed is how well the paddlers are synchronized. Teamwork is key, and this is where practice comes in. The first time you paddle it may feel awkward; you will be asked to engage your entire body by reaching, rotating, burying the paddle, and pulling back. You will be clacking paddles with your neighbor (we all do it when we begin and even sometimes when we are more experienced!), but before you know it you will be hooked. We simply ask that you are medically clear for exercise and then we will coach you through the skills needed.
How often are practices?
We practice twice a week on Wednesdays at 6:30p and Saturdays at 8:30a. Typically practices last an hour to an hour and half (we sometimes like to stay on the water longer when the sun sets later or we are preparing for a race).
What time of year is dragon boat paddling held?
Our season typically runs from April into October, depending on weather conditions.
Do I switch sides when I paddle or stay on one side all the time?
We recommend switching sides, if possible, in order to ensure balanced muscle development and minimize injury. However, if there are concerns, accommodations are easily made to ensure your comfort. First and foremost, this is your fellowship time on the water, and our first priority is to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
Where are dragon boat races held?
Races are literally held all around the world. We typically attend races in the Midwest, although some of our paddlers will be traveling to Italy to participate in the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBPCP) Festival.
Are there only breast cancer dragon boat teams?
No. There are men’s teams, women’s teams, mixed (men and women) teams, and breast cancer survivor (BCS) teams. Some teams are competitive while some are recreational, competing in various divisions at festivals throughout the world. The Prairie Dragon Paddlers typically compete in the BCS Division.
How many people are in a dragon boat?
There are 22 people in total, comprising 20 paddlers (10 rows of 2 per seat), a steerperson in the back, and a drummer/caller in the front.
How long is a dragon boat race?
A standard race is 500 meters in distance and can take 2-3 minutes depending on the crew. Some festivals include races of 200-500 meters and “guts and glory” races of 2000 meters.
What is a dragon boat?
A dragon boat is a 42-foot boat that weighs approximately 900 pounds. It is 4 feet wide at the middle and narrows to 8 inches at the bow and stern. During races and festivals, a colorful dragon head and tail are attached.