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Three major pieces of equipment are required in dragon boating:
1. A boat (but that's pretty obvious!)
2. Paddles (we need something to make the boat move!)
3. Paddlers (we need someone to make the paddles move!)

So, what do you need?

In the boat

As we can only paddle one boat per team you won't be required to buy a boat - but you probably expected that! We practice in our own "Champion" IDBF-spec boat (or one of the Aoraki boats) stored at Owles Terrace, New Brighton.

On race days, each team uses whichever boat is allocated to them - they are all exactly the same (generally Champion "IDBF-1222 Dragon Boat", or Swift 10-man "Small" boats).



Paddles are provided. IDBF Standard Paddles are used and Abreast of Life owns two full sets, including thirty 202A Spec ZRE carbon fibre Paddles. 


As for you, the paddler - you will need a big heart, a big smile and an appetite for activity.

The peripherals include:

  • A life jacket, which is provided by the team and is designed specifically for paddling. Please look after it well.

  • Another item that is almost essential is a pair of surf shoes or aqua shoes to protect your feet as you wade through shallow waters to get in and out of the boat.

Other than that, you may use gloves, a hat, sunglasses or whatever makes you more comfortable and thus makes the boat go faster.



Appropriate clothing is necessary for any water sport of course. A gear bag containing training and racing clothing are provided to team members.  Uniforms and gear belong to the team and need to be returned if moving on from paddling. They should be kept clean and well maintained. It is the responsibility of team members to wear their own polyprops for warmth and to supply boat or aqua shoes and black shorts to wear in the boat.

Happy Paddling!

Days and Times 

For training:

  • Paddles and life jackets are provided

  • Fully experienced dragon boaters available to help

  • Wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little wet, thermals if it is a bit chilly

  • You don’t need to be super fit; there’s no age limit.

  • All you need is a sense of adventure and a desire to have some fun.

On the water 

We like to be at training half an hour before, so we can warm up, get the boat down to the water's edge, and be on the water sharp for the scheduled training slots. Training times are heavily booked so we need to be on and off the water promptly. A tip out may also be scheduled once each season - remember that all team members must be able to swim 50 metres. The season finishes in late March, and then winter training begins with a Saturday paddle for those who want it.

Winter conditioning

Paddlers are encouraged to go out for training and conditioning during the off-season. Saturday morning training goes from 9am-10am at Owles Terrace with both Paddle for Life teams joining together. There is always a coffee afterwards dwon at a local cafe! One hour's paddling a week should help keep your fitness levels up.

Abreast of Life (ABOL) season training

We train 3 times a week, early October to March

Amazon Hearts season training

We train 3 times a week, September to March

Abreast of Life (ABOL)

Amazon Hearts

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