Thank you to all the paddlers and spectators who helped to make the 3rd annual Sparta Dragon Boat Festival a huge success. And a special thank you to our Sponsors and Volunteers who without your support we would not be able to host this event!!!

Advice & What to Expect

Dragon Boat paddling is a great sport for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. While an easy sport to learn in your practice session, dragon boating is also strenuous and can impact your body if you aren't used to anaerobic exercise. Participating in the sport engages nearly every muscle group, and particularly the core.

We highly recommended you eat and sufficiently hydrate your body prior to coming to paddle in the dragon boat for practice and race day. Energy drinks are NOT good sources of hydration. Most of them contain sugar and caffeine, which ultimately drains your energy when combined with physical activity. Reference WebMD and other legitimate sources for tips on how to properly eat and hydrate.

If you have asthma, please bring your inhaler on the boat and alert your seat mate about its location.

For any reason, if you must stop paddling, please do. Safety is most important in a dragon boat.

If you have a back injury, dragon boat paddling is not for you. It will only worsen your condition. For shoulder injuries and other conditions that may affect your health, consult your doctor before participating.

Some paddlers in past events have given blood and then come for practice that day. It's not a suggested combo.

In the boat, your hand will likely slip up and down the shaft of the paddle. You may consider bringing gloves to minimize this.

You'll sit on wooden seats. You may bring a gardener's pad.

Paddlers and drummers will learn the technique and cadence at practice.

Paddles Up!

Prepare for Fun on the Water!

Before Practices and Race Day:

  • You WILL get wet. It is a water sport. If you paddle on the right side, the right side of your body will be wet. If you paddle left, the left side will be wet. Please dress and prepare accordingly.
  • Develop an individual pledge-raising plan. (doug/nancy-- do you have more info on this? is this something we encouraged last year?)
  • Get prepared by hydrating and exercising in advance. Keep in mind this is an anaerobic sport. Hydration is very important. For more about hydration, read more about it on WebMD.com.
  • Be prepared for rigorous exercise. Don't have much time to workout in advance? Use quick exercise bursts. Learn more.
  • When it heats up outside, acclimate your body to the weather and use less air conditioning.
  • Practices and races will happen rain or shine. Lightning and other severe weather will delay practices or races.

What to wear:

  • Quick drying shorts
  • T-shirt or dri-fit shirt
  • Sandals w/straps, water shoes, (Tevas, Crocs, etc.)
  • Sunscreen/Sunglasses/hat with visor
  • In case of rain, bring rain gear
  • Consider bringing a towel and extra change of clothes

Race Day:

  • Report to your Team Tent an hour before the race.
  • Your team will report to the marshaling area 20 minutes before your first race.
  • Marshaling officials and volunteers will instruct your team to line up, and then alert you when it's time to load the boat.
  • Don't forget to stop for a team photo!
  • You will paddle once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and a third time if your team qualifies to race in the finals.
  • Bring plenty of water and healthy snacks. Food will also be available for sale on-site.
  • You may consider also bringing games to play between racing. Some teams bring corn hole, footballs, frisbees, etc.

Each team captain receives a captain guide and team captain updates leading up to practices and race day.