Not at all! You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness to compete in a race, but stamina is something you build up over time when you train with the crew. It doesn't matter if you are not really very fit when you start out because we'll work on that together in a friendly, highly-supportive environment.
Even though we train throughout the year, the dragon boat season runs from August to April. During this time, there will generally be one regatta a month in various locations in Sydney and away (eg. Central Coast and Canberra). The most high profile is the Lunar New Year regatta in Darling Harbour in February and the season culminates in the State Titles at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith in April. Regattas are the team's chance to put into practice what we've learned in training and pit ourselves against the best of the best in NSW. Races are mostly either 250m or 500m. They're fast and furious - but a whole lot of fun, too!
We completely understand that lives can be very busy with work, relationships, friends and family. If you can't make it to training every session, that's OK - just make it as often as you can. Of course, the more you come, the more you'll get out of it and the better paddler you will be, so we'll encourage you to come as often as possible. If you need to take a short hiatus from training due to travel, illness or injury, let us know and we'll help you get back into the swing of things when you return.
Training starts out with on on-land warm-up where we stretch our muscles and get our hearts pumping with some fast and fun exercises for about 10 mins. We'll line up in our boat positions before lifting the boat/s off their racks and into the water. Safety considerations are paramount so we'll take you through the safety procedures and 'buddy system' before we go out. If you are concerned for any reason, we can supply you with a life jacket. We load into the boat back-to-front (that is, with the back rows boarding first). We'll do a 5min warm up on the water - some light paddling - before the training session starts. The coaches prepare different drills every session so it's never boring. Drills may have an emphasis on technique, power or endurance, depending on what we need work on. We might do some race starts and race practices in preparation for an upcoming regatta. We'll round off the water session with a warm down before getting the boat out of the water and doing our on-land warm down stretches. An average dragon boat session goes for about 2 hours including on-land time. Don't worry if you can't paddle the whole time we're on the water - sometimes if your first time is before a race day, of course you won't be able to paddle like a regular. You'll build up your stamina over the first month or two.
No, we make sure that after every set, we swap sides (you or your partner stands up and you swap seats) before doing the set again on the other side. It is important that we are ambidextrous since we will perform better if we don't tire out one side.
Sydney Tsunami Dragon Boat Club is a not-for-profit organisation which has a strong fund-raising ethos meaning that the cost to our members remains very modest. Speak to us at training to enquire about 'membership fees'. When you’d like to race, you’ll need to buy a race rashie and most people will eventually buy their own paddle (we have paddles to borrow in the meantime).
True to our motto of 'Serious Fun', Sydney Tsunami are a notoriously friendly bunch, who are only fierce on the race course. We pride ourselves on being fun-loving, good natured and most importantly, 'good sports'. We like to win, but not win at all costs. We are also proud of our history of volunteering within the greater dragon boating community, contributing to our DBNSW Club of the Year Award in 2005/2006 and again in 2011. We are serious about our paddling and place great emphasis on perfecting our technique so we can paddle together as efficiently as possible as a team. There is always something to learn, and if you are already a fit and competitive in nature, you still will be challenged by our training regime. We also run land training sessions and on-going 'Fitness Quests' where you can challenge yourself to improve your fitness from whatever your start-point is. Serious Fun means we are not just a social club but a club that trains to race. As a club we support our members to achieve their very best. We offer the highest level of support and encouragement for those looking to race competitively, be that at club, State or a National level. Over the past few years this has resulted in Tsunami having one of the highest number of club members representing NSW and Australia. Recently 8 Tsunami members raced in Hungary on the Australian National Team, and 27 members raced in the NSW State Team. We are super-supportive of our 'newbies' and definitely won't bite. But don't just take our word for it - come down and meet us yourself.
Dragon boaters are made of tough stuff, and yes, we even go out in the rain! In fact, it can be quite pleasant as the water is often calm. You're bound to get wet, anyway, you see. :) But seriously, if it's raining outside, you should turn up anyway where we'll make an assessment prior to getting on the water. Often the weather will blow over by the time training starts, but you just don't know until you get there. We will never go out in dubious weather conditions (white caps or lightning being the main indicators) which may pose a safety risk to the team. And if it does get cancelled, we'll head to breakfast or dinner at a pub instead!
Wear a t-shirt and board shorts or gym attire that you don’t mind getting wet in, and a pair of closed toed shoes – these could be old trainers, converse or a pair of crocs – toes need to be covered. Further, bring a plastic water bottle and make sure you’re wearing sunscreen for sunny Saturday sessions, and a cap or visor.