FAQ – Austin Coolers Dragon Boat Team


The most commonly asked questions from the technical to the silly. We got pretty decent answers about both the sport and us!

Any other questions? Contact us or message us through our Facebook page!

“The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.”
James Cash Penney

dragon boat

At the start line

A standard dragon boat is a 40-foot “canoe” that has ten rows of two paddlers each (twenty total), a drummer and a steerer. The boat usually has scales on the side with a head and tail attached for races. Another smaller model, used less often, is designed for ten paddlers, a drummer (sometimes also a flag catcher), and a steerer.

No, we paddle! On a technical standpoint, rowing and paddling are very different.

Rowing uses oars that sit in an oarlock, which is attached to the gunnel. Rowers sit backwards in the boat so that they face the back of the boat (stern). The oars provide leverage to transfer human effort into a forward motion.

Paddling, however, is the opposite. The paddles aren’t attached to anything and paddlers sit facing the front of the boat. Paddling is involved in sports such as in kayaking, Hawaiian outrigging, SUP, canoeing, and dragon boating. Basically, they face toward the direction of travel. Paddles displace water by human effort.

Come to practice and find out!

This question is asked the most, right after “What is dragon boat?”. Dragon boat is one of the fastest growing international sports in the world, which means it’s an even bigger deal outside of the United States. Although the sport began in ancient China, dragon boat has spread quickly. It’s especially popular in countries like Canada, Australia, and, the Philippines.  Even more interesting, Team USA (yes, there is one!) is actually NOT all Asians. So don’t let that stop you from joining the coolest sport around.

Austin Coolers winning

The history behind the name is so lame that we won’t repeat it here. Needless to say, it’s here to stay. Just remember our name and our famous motto, “If it hurts, keep paddling.”

Like most sports, dragon boating is not about upper body strength. Paddling requires on your core, your flexibility, and your willingness to practice and learn. It’s a full-body workout!

The great thing about our sport is anyone can join! No experience is needed. Every paddler started somewhere. And trust us, every paddler was a mess in the beginning! You bring your enthusiasm, and we’ll teach you the skills.

Just a bottle of water and an open mind! We have practice paddles, slightly old lifejackets, and the endless patience to teach anyone willing to learn.

We’re lucky to paddle on the beautiful Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, Texas. Find us at the front of the new Waller Creek Boathouse on 74 Trinity. Parking, however, is difficult due to construction. Please check the calendar for practice times. We will always have practices when parking meters are free (before 11am on Saturday, Sundays, and after 6pm on Wednesdays).