Dragon Boat Paddling Technique

The paddling techniques are quite simple for a beginner to master. Dragon boat paddling places you in a strange position since you have to paddle using only one side of your body, pull the water instead of pushing it and keep the stroke up in front of you. The main elements of the dragon boat paddling techniques include: Reach, Catch, pull and Finish. Let us explore more on each element

1. Reach

With the reach technique, you just need to reach as far forward as possible; that is beyond the person who is in front of you. Don’t worry about hitting them, since they ought to be doing the same things, hence they should be away from your position. The bottom (outboard) arms should punch forward, straight and lie flat along the boat edge(gunwale), your top arm should be high and stable, and your elbow should be above your head and the top hand over the boat side ready for the catch.
The most important tip
Your back is supposed to be leaning forward away from the hips and in a rotated position so that your chest can face inward towards your partner with your top hand placed over the water. Curved like a puffadder, all set with full powers by sitting up straight and strong and by uncoiling. Regardless of how strong your arms should b, your back is stronger. Remember that your eyes should be on stroke pair, and you should not watch your paddle.


For the drive stroke, your top hand should hammer the blade deeper into the water, ahead of pull-through. For you to experience powerful strokes, your blade needs to penetrate deep giving you more water to help you pull. Ensure that the blade is closer to the side of the boat and buried completely so that it can create little cavitation during pull-through.

3.The Pull

Once you have submerged the paddle, the next step is the pull phase. The paddles are supposed to pull back and directly parallel with your boat. Your top hand should stabilize the paddles as your back muscles, and bottom arm pulls back. For the paddler to use back muscles stronger, he or she should sit up while pulling and then continue to move the paddle in a downward position with the top hand. Maximum endurance and power come from using large muscles of shoulders, trunk, and back instead of relying on arm smaller muscles.

4. Exit or Finish

As you end the stroke, the paddle exits the water at your hip. If you let the stroke go past the hip, you make paddling blade to position itself in an angle that slows the boat. The outside arm should bend a little allowing the paddler clear the water and then snap forward.
To determine the stroke rate bring your boat to recovery speed and let your muscles rest.

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