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“A superb way to get exercise for Body, Mind and Spirit.”

Our Club

KRD supports a Recreational Team and one or two Competitive Teams depending upon enrollment numbers in any given year. All members recognize the amazing opportunity to get access to our beautiful lake. 

A full dragon boat carries 22 persons, 20 paddlers, a drummer (usually the coach) at the bow and a steerer in the stern. There is a minimum required number of paddlers in order to get out on the water which means there needs to be a commitment to show up. If a team member can’t make it they must give the coach reasonable notice so a replacement can be found. 

The Rec Team typically meets early Saturday mornings and heads out for an hour paddle learning onboard protocols, commands and paddle technique.  Rec Team members have a lesser time commitment, do not enter festivals and the practice regime is less rigorous than the Competitive team. Some are new to the sport and some are seasoned paddlers. 

The Competitive team meets twice a week, are typically at the dock by 5:15 for warm-up and on the water by 5:30. They will train for about an hour. Each Competitive Team attends 2 festivals, sometimes a 3rd ‘fun’ festival as a season closer. Attendance is a high priority at this level. Festivals are most often in southern BC but also southern Alberta. KRD often enters the Seniors Games (55+) which will be a combination of members from both Competitive Teams and sometimes members from Rec. 


KRD supports a Recreational Team and one or two Competitive Teams depending upon enrollment numbers in any given year. All members recognize the amazing opportunity to get access to our beautiful lake. 

Sign and submit with your fees (all 3 forms must be submitted to complete your registration):

Paddler Handbook

Looking to paddle with our club? Our Paddler Handbook is your ultimate guide to getting started! It includes valuable information for new paddlers, such as jobs that need to be done, registration, and dry land training. You’ll also find guidelines for communication, boat maintenance, finances, and the Paddlers Assistance Fund.

We’ve included details about paddler expectations, club expectations, festivals, and our code of conduct. Everything you need to become a skilled paddler and a valuable member of our community is right here in our handbook.

So why wait? Download it now and start your journey towards becoming a confident and skilled paddler!


Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Dragon Boating Club’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, where we aim to address common queries you may have about our club and the sport of dragon boating.

A:  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!  Kootenay Rhythm Dragons‘ first team was formed in 2004. Currently we have a recreational team and a competitive team that races in Dragon Boat Festivals

A:  Not at all. Dragon boat festivals typically include races for mixed teams, women’s teams, and at some events, men’s teams. Currently the Nelson club is women only but should mixed gender individuals be interested in forming their own team, they could approach our club to discuss the use of KRD’s dragon boat.  

A:  If you have the desire, heart and willpower paddling is a sport that is for everyone 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 get results. You will quickly see yourself hitting milestones that might surprise even yourself. The competitive team option is considerably more physically taxing than the Rec Team.

A: Anyone under the age of 16 must have parental permission but other than that there are no age restrictions. 

A: Essential equipment is a paddle and personal flotation device (PFD). Both of these are available from KRD for paddlers to use during practices. Most paddlers buy their own once they have fallen in love with the sport.

A:  You can begin dragon boating without any specialized gear. The following is a list of recommendations:

  • Pants/legging 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 can get wet, so quick-dry fabric is best. 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! Plastic is best, no glass.
  • 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.

A: Yes, you can.  Newcomers can paddle three times for free before committing to the team. Most paddlers sign up after their first practice.

A: 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 followed, which is found on this website. Dragon boats very rarely capsize and our paddlers, coaches, and steers people are trained what to do if such an incident should occur.

A: Practices are cancelled only if strong winds, extreme cold, or lightning storms make it dangerous to be on the water or if the coaches feel there are not enough paddlers to safely manage the boat.  Excessive smoke from forest fires have also caused practices to be suspended in the past. Living in the mountains makes local weather prediction difficult. It is standard practice that team members show up and the dock, even if its raining, as the decision to go out or not is made at the dock. 

A:  If it is within 24 hours before the practice, and you are not well or unable to make a practice, please contact the coach to let them know. The coach will attempt to fill your spot with an alternate paddler on the boat. 

A: This year we are again sharing dock space at the Rowing Club Dock at Lakeside Park until we are able to return to our space at the City dock. 

  • KRD’s Recreational team practices Saturday mornings 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Competitive team practices this year are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

We hope this FAQ section has addressed some of your questions. If you have any more inquiries or need further information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to having you as part of our dragon boating community!

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