How To Try Out & Join Us


Here is how you can get started and what to expect.

·        Joining the club is as easy as showing up for practice; we’ll let you get in the boat to try out for one FREE month.  We love new paddlers.

·        Wear clothes that you would work out in with a bottle of water, a hat and sun screen for yourself and don't mind getting wet.

·        We will provide you a paddle and a PFD (personal flotation device) to paddle with us.

·        If you love the sport and want to be a part of the Riders team, you will be asked to pay from the AZDBA organization for $135 per year membership.

The experience of the team spirit and the fun on the water are amazing and priceless. 

How to Paddle in a Dragon boat – the Basics

1. Hold the paddle with both arms extended and nearly locked in front of you, one hand grasping the paddle at the top and the other just about 3 in. above the blade.

2. In tandem with other paddlers, bend forward at the waist about 5 degrees, rotating at the torso. When you’ve reached as far forward as you can, the paddle should be perpendicular to the water, and your torso should be rotated toward the inside of the boat.

3. All twenty paddlers will dip paddles into the water at the same time and pull back using strength from the legs, stopping at the hip.

4. Simultaneously, the team pulls paddles out of the water and completes the cycle again.

Tip: Despite the urge to look down while digging your paddle into the water, keep your head up and watch the strokes on the first row of the boat. This keeps you in sync – and helps you breathe!

The more you practice this easy technique, the easier it is to add power to every stroke.


Dragon Boat Commands


  • Attention in the boat - Used to get all paddlers’ undivided attention. No chatting in the boat.
  • Paddlers Prepare - When paddlers hear this command it is the signal to sit upright, have their paddles across their laps and to be ready for the next command.
  • Paddles Up - The signal for paddlers to instantly assume the paddling position (paddles raised above the water, bodies in position to paddle). They will hold this position until the next command is issued.
  • Take it away or Go - Commence paddling.  At race start this will be substituted by a sound device, such as an air horn - This is the signal, to commence paddling.
  • Let it Ride. The paddlers stop paddling and rest their paddles on their lap in the rest position.
  • Weigh Enough - The command to stop paddling immediately.  Oars out of the water.
  • Left side pull - Paddlers on the left side of the boat lean out and paddle sideways to move the boat to the left. The same command can be given to the right side of the boat to move it in the opposite direction. Other variations for boat maneuvering include calling on the left front, right front, left rear or right rear paddlers to side paddle.
  • Back paddle - For the side(s) commanded, the paddler's stroke in reverse, to move the boat backwards.
  • Stop the Boat/Hold Water - Paddlers thrust blades vertically into water and dig in to bring boat to a halt.
  • Paddles Out or Flare the Boat - Paddles horizontal with flat blades resting on top of the water to stabilize the boat.

The experience of the team spirit and the fun on the water are amazing and priceless.

Lana Walther
Club Captain

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