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Training - Equipment

Three major pieces of equipment are required in dragon boating:
1. A boat (but that's pretty obvious!)
2. Paddles (we need something to make the boat move!)
3. Paddlers (we need someone to make the paddles move!)

So, what do you need?

In the boat

As we can only paddle one boat per team you won't be required to buy a boat - but you probably expected that! We practice in our own "Champion" IDBF-spec boat (or one of the Aoraki boats) stored at Lake Pegasus, Lake Rua or Owles Terrace, New Brighton.

On race days, each team uses whichever standard boat is allocated to them - they are all exactly the same (generally Champion "IDBF-1222 Dragon Boat" pictured below, or Swift 10-man "Small" boats).

Nationals 2008 on Lake Pupuke


You will need a paddle though. You can choose to purchase your own paddle or use one provided by the team. Interestingly, not all paddles are the same.

We use IDBF Standard Paddles - Abreast of Life owns two full sets, including thirty 202A Spec ZRE carbon fibre Paddles. You do not have to buy your own paddle but you may wish to do so. They cost about $220-300 each for the Carbon Fibre Paddles.

Most paddlers find that waxing the handle of their paddle gives a better grip. The team provides wax for this purpose.


As for you, the paddler - you will need a big heart, a big smile and an appetite for activity.

The peripherals include:

  • A life jacket, which is provided by the team and is designed specifically for paddling. Please look after it well.
  • Another item that is almost essential is a pair of surf shoes or aqua shoes to protect your feet as you wade through shallow waters to get in and out of the boat.

Other than that, you may use gloves, a hat, sunglasses or whatever makes you more comfortable and thus makes the boat go faster.


Appropriate clothing is necessary for any water sport of course, but slightly less essential is a set of team 'colours'.

Each team member is provided with:

  • a Training shirt,
  • a Racing shirt,
  • tracksuit with polo shirt,
  • a training jacket,
  • a dress for formal occasions,
  • a lifejacket for paddling and
  • a gear bag.

Uniforms and gear belong to the team and need to be returned if moving on from paddling. They should be kept clean and well maintained. It is the responsibility of team members to wear their own polyprops for warmth and to supply boat or aqua shoes and black shorts to wear in the boat.

Our competition and traveling uniform incorporates three colours - RED, WHITE and BLACK.

  • White and black (including a silver fern on the jacket) and a white (silver) fern on our Racing Shirt are for recognition as a New Zealand team if we travel overseas.
  • Red and black are for recognition as a Canterbury team.

In 2010 we developed a new racing top which features more of the red in it. The white paddling top is our training top.

Pink is, of course, synonymous with breast cancer and we always add a bit of pink (such as a Lei or hat) to our one, and only one, dress up race.

Happy Paddling!

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