|Sundays||8:45 am||Summer (1 Oct – 30 April)
|9:00 am||Winter (1 May – 30 Sept)
|Tuesdays||5:45 pm*||All year|
|Thursdays||5:45 pm||Summer (1 Oct – 30 April)
1) Winter Tuesdays: if there aren’t at least 10 people by 6 pm, the boat will not go out.
2) Winter Sundays: We do a coffee run — bring $5 and have a hot beverage at the river-side coffee shop!
Can I just give it a go to see if I like dragon boating?
Yes! The Perth Pirates encourage new people to come down and give it a try! We are a very friendly bunch, and most people who come to try, stay! There are up to three complimentary paddling sessions with us; after that you will need to join as a member, due to insurance coverage. We charge $20 for insurance and training for the 3 sessions.
What to bring
First things first… expect to get wet! But if you dress correctly, you won’t get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Here are some tips on what to bring:
- Shoes you are happy to get soaking wet… you will need to put your feet in the water. Most people wear plastic clogs, thongs, or bare feet, and some wear old running shoes. It’s more comfortable with some sort of footwear.
- Wear shorts and a T-shirt or singlet in the summer… don’t forget to wear lots of sunblock! It is easy to burn on the water.
- Wear multiple layers in the winter… long shorts, or shorts over leggings or thermals, and two or three layers of short and long-sleeved tops. The layering is good because you can actually get very warm paddling in the winter and will want to remove layers. Wool shirts and thermals are excellent, because they stay warm even when wet. And it is completely acceptable (and somewhat expected) to look mismatched and entirely unfashionable in the quest for winter warmth!
- Hat, sunglasses and sunblock, depending on the weather.
- A towel and an entire set of dry clothes (ahem… think undergarments!). There are changerooms and showers in the clubhouse.
- Some money ($10 is usually enough) if you want to partake in the very affordable offerings of the Maylands Sport & Rec club licensed bar!
Do I need to be fit? Am I too old to paddle? I can’t swim! Help!
No worries at all! We cater for all types of people… from new beginners who have never paddled before, to experienced paddlers who want join, and our most senior member is 82 years old and she’s amazing! You don’t need to be super-fit, but an average level of fitness is required… you should be able to take a walk around the block and not get winded… in other words, most people can paddle. If you have any shoulder or back injuries (current or old), it is advisable to speak to the coach to ensure your needs are considered.
For brand-new paddlers we aim to put them in the ‘development’ boat, where they get extra coaching and the training is suited to their skills and abilities. Experienced paddlers who are willing to put in the work can advance to the ‘experienced’ boat, where technique, strength and stamina are the focus. Both boats compete in regattas, whenever possible.
Members who cannot swim 50 m will need to wear a lifejacket (note: the 50 m swim doesn’t need to be pretty… front stroke, back stroke, doggie paddle… it doesn’t matter how you do it).
What exactly is dragon boating anyway?
Traditional dragon boating evolved in Southern China over 2,000 years ago. For a bit of history on the sport, please click here.
Dragon boating involves the use of a long, slender boat and up to 20 people paddling. There is a person at the back of the boat who uses a long oar to steer and control the direction of the craft. In competitions, a drummer sits at the front of the boat and rhythmically beats a drum — the paddles enter the water on the drum stroke.
Different paddlers have different roles in the boat. The strokes are the two paddlers sitting in the bench at the front of the boat. Their job is to set the paddling rate and maintain good technique and consistency, as the entire boat follows their lead. The paddlers in the middle of the boat are valued for their strength — they are the ‘engine room’ of the boat, and provide most of its power. Paddlers at the back of the boat need to have good technique and strength to be most effective, as the water is moving quickly past and it take skill to find ‘hard water’ to paddle. The person standing at the back of the boat is called the sweep; they are in control of the boat, both with regard to giving commands to the paddlers and ensuring the safety of all on board.