Here there be dragons…..”
What are Dragon Boats?
Modern-day dragon boats are replicas of traditional long, human-powered paddle-boats, originally built of teak wood. The boats originated in China more than 2,000 years ago and were raced in ritual festivals associated with the harvest of winter wheat and celebrating the dragon, an important creature in the religious mythologies and traditions of that time. Today, dragon boat racing is one of the fastest-growing and popular water sports in the world, and organized races take place in more than 50 countries. The most recent World Dragon Boat championships attracted teams from around the globe and were broadcast to a world-wide audience of millions.
Dragon boats can vary quite a bit in size and shape, with small boats seating as few as 10 paddlers and large boats seating 40 or more. For competitive races, most organizations use a Hong Kong style of boat, which is low to the water and typically seats 20. The Dragons In the Wallowa’s Club uses two dragon boats that can each carry a full crew of 22.
Crews can be all women, mixed-gender, or all men. In addition to the all-important paddlers, the specialized roles of the Caller and the Helm (also known as the Tiller) are essential to help the boats operate swiftly and safely. The Helm stands at the back of the boat, and operates a long rudder-like oar that provides the boat with steerage. The Caller (usually a smaller person with a big voice!) calls the race for the team, calling the beat out loud and keeping time with a drum to help the paddlers stay in sync.
What Is “Dragons In the Wallowas”?
Dragons In the Wallowa’s is Eastern Oregon’s first, new and only dragon boat club. In March of 2016 a group of local paddling enthusiasts met to form the club. Inspired by the potential for fun and exercise offered by these swift, exotic boats and the opportunity to practice on beautiful Wallowa Lake, the Club set itself the challenge to host the first-ever dragon boat races on the lake in August of 2016. The Club currently numbers 26 members from all different walks of life, many different ages, and widely varying experience levels. Some members had literally “never held a paddle before,” others had done a bit of canoeing and a few have paddled in one form or another for much of their lives. As our Club has found, dragon boating is a welcoming and easy-to-learn sport, appealing to anyone who enjoys being on the water in a gorgeous outdoor setting with other people and having lots of fun! The sport is quite popular with women as well as men, and it is very common to see boats with all-female crews. Dragon boating is also very “age-friendly” since it benefits from the combined strength of a large group of people. Paddlers around the Pacific Northwest range in age from 14 to 96 years.
Dragon Boat Team Practices
Dragons in the Wallowas Paddling moors Hong Kong-style practice boats at the Wallowa County State Park at the north end of Wallowa l for use by DITWPC members. All team paddlers, callers and tillers must be Dragons in the Wallowas Paddling Club members or guest of a member and have signed a waiver.
Practices are scheduled April through September 15, 2017 practice times our Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Members and guest should arrive at least 15 minutes early and be prepared to load boats at 6:00 PM. Additional practice will be scheduled as club membership and paddlers needs dictate.
$100 Per season payable before paddling. The club for simplicity prefers the fees be paid in one payment however monthly payments can be arranged with the membership director.
Fifty-dollar initiation fee. Plus, paddling fee
All new members will receive one official team shirt. Additional official team shirts are available for cost plus $1.00. Other Team merchandise is available a our retail prices.
Free Open Paddle – Dragon Boat Practice
Find Your Inner Dragon! Dragons In the Wallowa’s is seeking to expand our membership—if you think you might enjoy dragon boating, Just drop us a note download this form and mail to Dragons in the Wallowas, PO Box 308, Joseph, OR 97846 or scan and email to info@DragonsInTheWallowas.com and tell us you’d like to come out for free a paddle. We’ll send you an email letting you know what time and days are available for you to show up. Please arrive at Wallowa County Park at the north end of Wallowa Lake 30 minutes prior to the start of practice. Bring water and wear water-resistant clothing (such as lycra or rain pants and a dry-wicking shirt). We’ll get you all set up with a PFD (“life vest”) and the proper paddle before we get you on the boat. We love to have new paddlers join. Questions: 503-781-4321.