We understand you will have many questions about Komodo and starting a new sport. As the youngest club in Canberra, we have welcomed many new members every season and built up a handy list of questions and answers which may help you learn more about our great club and the exciting sport of dragon boat racing. Take a moment to check the Q&A below, and if you question isn’t there, please contact us and we will answer it for you. Most of the questions below have come from our own members at the start of their own journey. If you ask a really great questions we haven’t got here already, we’ll add it to assist members who join after you.
Thanks for visiting Komodo!

Training & Fitness

Short answer: absolutely not. Long answer; you do not have to be physically fit to begin dragon boating, in fact many of our members began having never played any sport and having only a poor level of fitness. Dragon boating with Komodo builds your fitness gradually and safely over the season with both on-water and off-water training and advice. Our mission is for you to finish the season fitter, stronger and with better technique than when you started. There are qualified and knowledgeable members who can help you with off-water training to build your fitness.

Our Season Plan is broken up into 3 main phases; Phase 1 is gentle, low intensity technique training and building paddling muscles for all levels. Phase 2 starts to increase the power and strength. Phase 3 brings in shorter, more intense speed sessions such as interval training. The Season Plan is designed for all levels to safely increase your fitness, strength and technique across an entire season.

However if you have a heart condition, are pregnant, or have any medical issues, which may affect your physical activity; you should see your doctor for clearance on participating in the sport.

Contact the Head Coach at komodocoach@gmail.com for further information on fitness, strength and technique requirements and how dragon boating will increase your performance.

Short answer: absolutely not. Long answer; you do not have to be strong to begin dragon boating, in fact many of our members began having never played any sport and with minimal upper body strength. Dragon boating with Komodo builds your strength gradually and safely over the season with both on-water and off-water training and advice. Our mission is for you to finish the season fitter, stronger and with better technique than when you started. There are qualified and knowledgeable members who can help you with off-water training to build your fitness.

Dragon boating in one of the most effective all over strengthening exercises you can participate in; working legs, glutes, abdominals, core, back, shoulders and arms in combination. Many of our women began the season unable to do one pushup on their toes and at the end of the season were completing 40 pushups on their toes, just from attending regular sessions.

Our Season Plan is broken up into 3 main phases; Phase 1 is gentle, low intensity technique training and building paddling muscles for all levels. Phase 2 starts to increase the power and strength. Phase 3 brings in shorter, more intense speed sessions such as interval training. The Season Plan is designed for all levels to safely increase your fitness, strength and technique across an entire season.

However if you have a heart condition, are pregnant or have any medical issues which may affect your physical activity; you should see your doctor for clearance on participating in the sport.

Contact the Head Coach at komodocoach@gmail.com for further information on fitness, strength and technique requirements and how dragon boating will increase your performance.

Haha we are asked this question often. Like any sport, dragon boating takes some practice and getting used to. Coordination is not a pre-requisite to paddling, in fact some of our strongest members often laugh at how they cannot dance, keep time or run without tripping over their feet etc. The technique does require you to be able to stay in time with the other paddlers however you have an entire season to work on this. You will be coached in technique throughout the entire season and are not expected to have coordination when beginning the sport. That said, the more self-awareness you have about your body the easier it will be for you to become a stronger and more experienced dragon boater.

Contact the Head Coach at komodocoach@gmail.com for further information on fitness, strength and technique requirements and how dragon boating will increase your performance.

Dragon boating is a very casual sport. You can wear comfortable clothes that you would normally wear in the gym. Shorts/leggings, a t-shirt or singlet, and perhaps a spray jacket or warmer hoody to add a layer in case it’s cool. You will get a little wet with some splashing and dripping up your arm from your hand in the water; so any clothes that will keep you warm and you don’t mind getting a little damp. You must paddle in enclosed shoes and these definitely get wet, so crocs or old sandshoes are good. Hat and sunglasses are always recommended.

Once you decide you love the sport and want to join (and you will) most members start to buy some more ‘paddling-friendly’ gear such as neoprene shorts or water resistant tops . We can certainly give you advice as we progress through the season and weather changes.

Contact the registrar at komodoregistrar@gmail.com with any further questions on what to wear or bring.

The only thing that is not supplied for you is a water bottle. Everything else will be supplied on the day; a paddle, lifejacket if you require one, boat and laughter.

We recommend bringing a towel and perhaps a change of clothes in case you get more splashing than you anticipate and have to drive home. There are hot showers and change rooms available at the paddling venue.

Contact our club registrar at komodoregistrar@gmail.com with any further questions on what to wear or bring.

Yes you can. Dragon boating builds strength and if done safely and regularly can be used to rehabilitate injuries. However we recommend you see a doctor or medical professional to seek clearance to try dragon boating. We also ask that you notify the coach of your injury before you begin dragon boating so you can be introduced to the sport safely and without risk of further injury. .

Contact the Head Coach at komodocoach@gmail.com for further information on managing an injury.

Paddling With Komodo

Komodo is competitive in the sport of dragon boating both at State, National and even international level. We train and race hard, however enjoy social events and the sense of family and support our club is renown for. We are currently ranked #4 in Australia and our results in local racing and national racing improve each season. We are one of the strongest Canberra clubs and members travel overseas each season for both social and representative international competitions.

While strong, we have realistic competitive goals and respect the diverse range of ages (16-65) in the club. The eclectic blend of students, youth and older paddlers makes our club a family who enjoy sweating and working hard on-water and laughing, travelling and playing hard off water.

Our Head Coach puts our competitive successes down to one thing. Family. “We have heart and guts and train and race for each other and this brings surprising results”. And it is working. With State Titles, National Titles, World Titles and a Guinness Record under our belts; Komodo success on-water is unexpected for such a new club.  

Komodo welcomes any ages from Year 12 onwards. We have around 70 members and pride ourselves on the diversity in the club. It is common to see a student racing with a 50 year old paddler, young and old supporting each other. Dragon boating is not a sport where only the young can excel; in fact some of our oldest members are also the strongest. It makes for interesting challenges and loving rivalry. You will find friends of similar age in Komodo.

As far as racing goes there are categories for competition of all ages. This means that we can combine all ages for a larger crew, or split ages into smaller crews for any competition.  There is no limitation what you can achieve in this sport regardless of age.

If you are over 60, have a heart condition, are pregnant or have any medical issues which may affect your physical activity; you should see your doctor for clearance on participating in the sport.

Races are usually in the following formats:

i.         200m – explosive, powerful, barely take 60 seconds.

ii.         500m – strength, using lactic acid and aerobic fitness, usually take 2-3 minutes.

iii.         2000m – endurance, using all fuel systems, usually take around 12-15minutes.

Training throughout the season will prepare you for racing these distances. Contact the Head Coach at komodocoach@gmail.com for further information on racing distances and session planning.

Komodo offers 3-4 training sessions per week to offer the most choice to members. It is not compulsory to attend all the sessions, we offer them to fit around lives, children, work schedules. There is a combination of morning and afternoon training to offer the most choice.

If you can attend 1-2 sessions per week that will be enough to build your strength, fitness and technique across the season.

Our Season Plan details the phases of the season and how many sessions are recommended to build performance. Usually by around January we recommend attending up to 3 sessions per week as we build in intensity in the lead up to the Australian Championships in April.

Contact the Head Coach at komodocoach@gmail.com for further information on training sessions and whether you are worried you may not be able to attend enough to build performance.

Training is planned to span an entire season and will escalate as the season progresses.

Our Season Plan is broken up into 3 main phases;

Phase 1 is gentle, low intensity technique training and building paddling muscles for all levels.  This means from September – November the training sessions will focus on technique. Long distances but low intensity and effort.

Phase 2 starts to increase the power and strength. This means from December – February training sessions will be shorter in length but more powerful and strength building in nature. This is the phase where we practice racing, do resistance training on water and start to build your recovery.

Phase 3 brings in shorter, more intense speed sessions such as interval training. These sessions will be shorter again but more intense.

The Season Plan is designed for all levels to safely increase your fitness, strength and technique across an entire season. You will be amazed at how many calories you burn in sessions and your body changes will creep up on you. Dragon boating will strip weight, add muscle to your arms, shoulders and back and work your core and abdominals. You will see results after only a month of paddling regularly. Yes we train hard – but safely.  You will love it.

If you are over 60, have a heart condition, are pregnant or have any medical issues which may affect your physical activity; you should see your doctor for clearance on participating in the sport.

Komodo offers 3-4 training sessions per week to offer the most choice to members. It is not compulsory to attend all the sessions, we offer them to fit around lives, children, work schedules. There is a combination of morning and afternoon training to offer the most choice.

If you can attend 2 sessions per week that will be enough to build your strength, fitness and technique across the season.

If you can only attend 1 session per week this is enough to build basic paddling fitness and technique and thoroughly enjoy the training and social paddling. However if you wanted to race competitively you would need to be supplementing your 1 water session with at least 2 gym sessions per week to reduce your risk of injury. Racing dragon boats is explosive and powerful and if you have not built your shoulder/back muscles adequately in the early part of the season you are at risk of injury during a race.

Contact the Head Coach at komodocoach@gmail.com for further information on training sessions and whether you are worried you may not be able to attend enough to safely build performance.  

Absolutely. We do have paddlers who enjoy the fitness, training and social side of the club however do not wish to race competitively. As long as the coach knows of your intent there is no problem with attending all training yet not racing at regattas and at the National Championships.
The season officially begins in September and concludes at the Australian Championships in April.

However Komodo love the water and miss it and each other too much. We continue to train all year round.

  • September – April: we train 4 sessions per week.
  • May: we gradually drop our early morning and afternoon weekday sessions as the weather turns colder and darker.  Around 2-3 sessions per week
  • June – July: 1 session per week. We paddle on Sunday mornings only as the cold and darkness are prohibitive and unsafe.
  • August: 2 sessions per week. We gradually add more sessions as the weather improves and the mornings/afternoons become lighter.  
Surprisingly it does not matter. There are many dragon boaters who are not confident in the water. There are 2 ways to dragon boat – with or without a lifejacket. If you wish to paddle without one then you must demonstrate your ability to swim 50m fully clothed. If you cannot or do not wish to do this, then you must wear a lifejacket in the boat. These are provided free of charge.  
While Lake Burley Griffin does have challenges with water quality occasionally, Komodo comply with all safety restrictions imposed by NCA. For example if there is a flood and the lake is closed to secondary users we would re-schedule training for a boot camp or land sessions. We receive weekly updates as to water quality and adhere to these.  It is rare for the lake to be closed to dragon boaters or any secondary users. We do have contact with the water and have never had an incident of sickness or ill health due to this. The access to hot showers at the training site mean you can instantly rinse off if concerned. 

Membership

Fees are split into 2 parts: the Komodo Club fee and the Dragon Boat Association ACT part.

i.         Komodo fees are $80 for the season. This covers internal club costs such as purchasing safety bags, lights, batteries, equipment for training, accreditation of sweeps and coaches.

ii.         DBACT fees cover you for a 12-month period. This means that it doesn’t matter when you pay and join, your fees will roll through a full 12 months; this is great for those that join later in the season. This covers the fleet of dragon boats and their upkeep, boat storage, equipment purchase such as kettlebells, weights, boxing gear, ergometer machines, insurance for every single member of the association, venue costs, regatta costs etc. The most important part of DBACT fees is your personal liability insurance.

Contact the club registrar on komodoregistrar@gmail.com for further information on fees.

No. Every new paddler has a right to try dragon boating for free for a few goes to see if they like it.  You will not be tied down into any contracts or obligations while you begin the sport. You will be offered temporary insurance to cover you. Contact the club registrar on komodoregistrar@gmail.com for further information on trying dragon boating and how to access your free sessions. 
The boats are owned and maintained by the Dragon Boat ACT.  This is a large expense and partly covered by your DBACT annual fees of $300.
Yes you are.  Membership of Dragon Boat ACT provides you with public liability and personal injury insurance. Please contact the secretary on komodosecretary@gmail.com for further information on insurance.

Anything we didn't cover?

If you have any questions you can shoot us a quick email and we'll be happy to help with anything extra you need to know about Komodo and dragon boat racing.

Ask Us!