Training Information

New to Dragon Boating?
What you need to know before paddling with the Robusters

Practices start at the Robuster Dragon’s Den located east of the Provincial Park at the south end of Christina Lake

  • Tuesdays (6:00 pm) Thursdays (6:00 pm) and Sunday (9:00 am).
  • Practices are usually about an hour and a half.
  • Arrive 30 minutes early to sort out gear and do a warm up routine
  • You may try the sport for two weeks at no cost.
  • Membership costs $120 per season (includes equipment fee).
  • New members will receive a package of detailed information
  • Breast cancer survivors are offered free membership for a year


  • Know the meeting place and time for your carpool.
  • Get there at least 5 minutes early.
  • If you have a cell phone, give your number to your travelling companions so they can contact you if you are expected but don’t show – or if the practice is cancelled at the last minute due to weather.

Prepare for Practice

  • New recruits must sign a waiver before getting in the boat
  • Plan for your nutritional needs – arrive fuelled and ready to work hard.
  • Arrive well hydrated, carry a water bottle (a water/juice mix is nice).

Team Gear

  • You’ll start with a wooden paddle and will be given a PFD to wear.
  • There are some team seat cushions available to try out

Learning to Paddle

Once you have mastered the stroke and the importance of synchronizing your efforts with the rest of the paddlers, you will be able to start refining your technique through further coaching.

Clothing and Personal Gear

  • Apply a good layer of sunscreen, even on cloudy days. A bandana or small cap that won’t block the view of those behind you will also keep the sun off your head and can be dipped in the lake to cool off.
  • Wear underwear with smooth edges – bulky elastic in the legs can cause blisters when you rotate on the seat.
  • Consider using gloves or bandaids on your hands to prevent blisters.
  • Most of us paddle in workout gear – shorts, capris and athletic shirts.
  • It is best to wear synthetics or merino wool; avoid cotton!
  • A small dry bag with a warm layer can be brought into the boat on days when the weather is questionable.
  • Even on sunny days, you may get wet, so bring a change of clothing for after the practice. Have a plastic bag to hold the wet stuff.
  • It’s best to wear footwear that you can get wet, ideally an aquatic shoe or sandal. Bring footwear for heading home if your shoes are soaked.

More Information

  • If you decide to join the Robusters, you will be invited to join our Teamsnap site where you will sign up for practices. We also have a lot of information on the Teamsnap site, sorted by topic in the Files section.
  • We also ask all members to take part in breast cancer awareness events and work on at least one team committee.
  • Take a look at the website: to watch a video of us paddling a race piece and find out more about the team and the many other activities we take part in. Check out the News and Events section.
  • There is also the Kootenay Robusters Paddlers’ Page on Facebook where you can find out lots of interesting things.

Winter Training

Robusters in each community develop their own winter training program, including workouts at the gym, use of an ergonometer (a machine that simulates the dragon boating stroke), snowshoeing, cardio classes and other activities. Progressive set of strength exercises to maintain and build fitness during the off season are available. Also, Chris offers a weekly virtual exercise class to help maintain team contact and assure each person is exercising correctly to avoid injuries. Contact a Robuster in your community to join us for any or all of these sessions.

Summer Training

Summer training begins as soon as we can get the boat on the water. This usually happens in early to mid May. Practices begin with a dry land warm up let by one of our qualified paddlers. We then move to the water working on paddling pieces and drills. Focus of the training depend on the needs of the paddlers but generally begins with endurance training, moving through to strength building, technique refinement and finally to competition preparedness. Practices are currently scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday at 6:00pm and Sunday at 9:00am.

Coaching Team

The Robuster coaching staff consists of the following people:

Joy Andersen

Joy is the principal coach. She has full coaching credentials, is a Physical Education graduate and 22 years of dragonboat paddling plus many years of canoeing, outrigger and kayak paddling. She organizes the on-water practices and boat set-up, teaches proper stroke technique and encourages team work. She works on skill development, endurance and fitness through practices but recognizes the importance of enjoyment and fun.

Kathy Hanson

Kathy Hanson is the assistant coach. She confers with Joy and together they work to offer alternate ways of learning dragon boating. Kathy has 20 plus years of dragon boat and other paddling experience.

Chris Plamondon

Chris Plamondon, oversees the winter exercise program and when asked, helps correct the techniques of the stroke in individuals to avoid injuries. She has training in this field and is a welcome addition to the training program.