Our Dragon Boat Program is made up of 10 Dragon Boat teams.
When you join Wasabi, you will be able to choose which team(s) you want to paddle with. New paddlers may try 3 open practices before deciding to join the club. After 3 sessions, new paddlers will need to pay annual membership to continue practicing. Many members paddle on both dragon boat and OC teams. Different teams have different practice schedules and compete in different divisions. Competition schedules depend upon your availability and desire to compete with that team. See each team bio for further details.
While you will join the team(s) that fit you best and your schedule, you will be a member of Wasabi Paddling Club and entitled to all activities within our programs.
What Is Dragon Boat Paddling
There are many ancient legends that surround the origin of the sport. What is known is that competitive races originated between villages in China over 2000 years ago. Modern-day dragon boat racing began in 1976, in Hong Kong. In these events, dragon boats are generally rigged with decorative Chinese dragonheads and tails, and a “caller” at the front of the boat beats a drum to keep the paddlers in time. At other times the decorative regalia is removed, although the drum often remains aboard for training purposes.
There are several roles on a dragon boat:
Paddlers: Similar to canoeing (and unlike rowing), paddlers sit facing the front of the boat and propel the boat forward by driving and pulling their paddles through the water at the same time and in the same manner as every other paddler. There are typically 10 benches in a boat, with two paddlers per bench. After paddling on one side for a period of time, each paddler switches sides with their “bench mate”, and then paddles on the opposite side of the boat for a similar period of time.
The Caller/Coach: During a race, the caller (drummer) sits at the head of the boat and may issue commands to the crew through a combination of drum beats and voice calls, and also generally exhorts the crew to perform at their peak. During practices, the coach sits at the head of the boat, demonstrating the proper technique through example and critique, so that each paddler can achieve his or her most effective stroke.
The Steersperson: Controls the dragon boat with an oar rigged at the rear of the boat. It is the steersperson’s job to keep the boat on course and ensure safety for all persons on the boat.
Dragon boat racing distances can be 200 m, 250 m, 500 m, 1000 m, or 2000 m. A typical festival race is an event of several hundred meters. 500 meters is the standard distance for many international festivals.
Dragon Boat Practice Schedule
MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY
Alpha 10:00 - 11:30 am Fury 7:00 - 8:30 pm 9:00 - 10:30 am
GMM 7:00 - 8:00 pm 7:00 - 8:00 pm 9:00 - 10:00 am Kraken 5:00 - 6:00 pm 5:00 - 6:00 pm 7:00 - 8:00 am SOAR 6:00 - 7:00 pm 6:00 - 7:00 pm 10:00 - 11:30 am Special Dragons 5:00 - 6:00 pm 5:00 - 6:00 pm 9:30 - 10:30 am
VIP 6:00 - 7:00 pm 6:00 - 7:00 pm 10:00 - 11:30 am Wasabi W's 7:00 - 8:30 pm 7:00 - 8:30 pm 9:00 - 10:00 am
TideRunners 6:00 - 7:00 pm 6:00 - 7:00 pm 8:30 - 9:30 am
Our Dragon Boat Teams
Premier, Mixed Program
Originally “Wasabi Mixed,” and then "Wasabi Burn" Wasabi Fury is the designated mixed premier team for the Club. We were the founding team of the club when Wasabi was established in 1993.
Wasabi Fury is a team of men and women of many ages, many backgrounds, and all with a fierce desire to compete at a high level. The team has competed in races locally, nationally and internationally. Our paddlers have raced for Club Crew and Team USA.
Team spirit is embodied in the Wasabi Fury battle cry of makaukau! makaukau! It means competent, capable, efficient, prepared and an expert. It is used to imply a state of readiness. In the last few moments of every race when the win is insight, our Coach yells "makaukau”. Then in unison our paddlers roar the reply, "hai" meaning Yes! We're ready! We can do this!
(Coach, Cary Morris)
Coach: Cary Morris
Grand Masters, Mixed Program (GMM)
The Grand Masters are a group of men and women paddler/athletes aged 50+ and 60+. We compete in races locally and around the world scratching our "competitive itch" and enjoying the travel and excitement that dragon boat racing has to offer.
Photo coming soon
(Coach, Nicole Burdette)
Head Coach: Nicole Burdette
Assistant Coach: Lynn Davis
Manager: Luahna Ude
Wasabi Team Kraken
Junior Program, Mixed Team
Our junior team is named after the legendary sea monster, Kraken. Paddlers on this team are under the age of 19 years. Team Kraken formed in the summer of 2006, from a core group of Cleveland High School students who had a long history of fielding teams to compete in the Kaohsiung Sister City Portland Rose Festival dragon boat races. These students looked to Wasabi to form a partnership to create a team so they could continue to paddle throughout the entire dragon boat racing season.
Kraken members are fierce and gracious competitors that pride themselves on teamwork and individual respect. The team is open to teens from all area schools and currently has members that proudly represent many different high schools across the Portland metropolitan area. Although our members come from different schools, we all paddle as one team. Schools represented include Beaverton, Cleveland, Grant, Liberty, Lincoln, Milwaukie, Riverdale, St Mary’s, Sunset, Spring Water Trail and Wilson High School.
For the team, Wasabi has created two annual scholarships in the names of former inspirational team leaders, Nancy Bergeson and Randy Stokes for junior and senior students. These $1,000 awards are intended to be applied to college education, technical school and/or trade school for each of the annual recipients to continue their education after high school.
Photo coming soon
(Coach, Maureen Hartung)
Coach: Maureen Hartung
Manager: Nicole Jakavich
Wasabi Team SOAR
All Age, Women’s Team
Wasabi SOAR - (Cancer Survivors and Supporters On A River) is dedicated to promoting the fun, camaraderie, and health benefits of dragon boat racing to women cancer survivors and their supporters.
Our paddlers range in age from mid-30's to mid-70's. Originally, a breast cancer team we are now open to survivors of all cancers and cancer supporters. We welcome everyone of all ages and levels of fitness; our motto is 'paddle to a healthier you.' We encourage survivors to discover a new passion for paddling and racing while developing lifelong friendships with the other members on the team. Our members are active in our community supporting various causes and outreach toward cancer research and prevention.
(Head Coach, Lori Sloan)
Coach: Lori Sloan
Assistant Coaches: Marilyn Bullinger
and Deana Caputo
Manager: Rusty Blythe
Team Captain: Joyce McCulloch
Team Co-Captain: Elva Kopacz
Wasabi Special Dragons All Age, Mixed Program
The Special Dragons team made up of developmentally and physically disabled athletes. Our team was founded in 1997 and has been racing in the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Dragon Boat Races for over 20 years. The Special Dragons team became a member of Wasabi Paddling Club in 2006.
Our primary mission is to help build individual fitness and confidence, develop teamwork skills and improve self-esteem in our paddlers. Our team loves being included in Portland activities through their love of dragon boating. Many of these athletes also participate throughout the year in other Special Olympic sports as well.
Wasabi is honored to have these athletes as part of our club.
Coach: Gwen Foley
Photo coming soon
(Coach, Gwen Foley)
Wasabi TideRunners of Nehalem Bay All Age, Women's Team
The Wasabi TideRunners team was created in 2014. We are a team of full-time and part-time coastal residents that were able to form and become part of Wasabi Paddling Club. We now represent the club in our expanded dock location at Nehalem Bay.
We practice Saturday morning's in the bay from April through October. We suspend paddling in the winter months due to the typical coastal weather.
We are thrilled to bring the sport of dragon boating to the Oregon Coast. Our team travels to many local race events in the region. We enjoy meeting great people, getting a thrilling workout and discovering what dragon boating is all about.
Coach: Char vonAhlefeld
Manager: Mary Gallagher
Photo coming soon
(Coach, Char von Ahfeld)
Wasabi VIP (Visually Impaired Paddlers) All Age, Mixed Team
Team VIP consists of men and women who are Visually Impaired Paddlers. We formed our Wasabi team in 2013 from other visually impaired teams in Portland including Blind Ambition and Lethally Blind.
Our ages range from the 20's to the 70's. We are from all walks of life. We have a variety of vision challenges ranging from low vision (legally blind) to completely blind. A handful of fully sighted team members round out our team to help us safely navigate the Willamette River. Our team competes all over the region, enjoying the love of paddling and the spirit of competition that dragon boat racing provides.
(Head Coach, Jim Hinsvark)
Head Coach: Jim Hinsvark
Assistant Coach: Char Cook
Manager: Chari Chauvin
Captain: Brinton Olsen
Wasabi Women's Program (WWP) Teams Force, Impact and Power
This is the largest of our Wasabi teams. We consist of the competitive teams Force, Impact and Power. Our inclusive program, provides competitive teams for of all ages who love to race and train and have a passion for paddling together. We care about each other and have a blast paddling throughout the year. We primarily paddle in dragon boats but we also train and race in outrigger canoes.
We compete locally, nationally and internationally. Members from our program represent Wasabi at Club Crew and Team USA competitions.
Coach: Bren Trask
Assistant Coach: Carol Hoekstra
Manager: Janet Lamson
(Head Coach, Bren Trask)
(Co-Coach, Carol Hoekstra)
(Coaching Staff, Connie Flesuras)