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

Alpha Seasonal
Burn 7:00-8:15 pm7:00-8:15 pm9:00-10:15 am
Grand Masters 7:00-8:00 pm7:00-8:00 pm9:00-10:00 am
Kraken 4:30-6:00 pm4:30-6:00 pm8:00-9:00 am
SOAR 6:00-7:00 pm6:00-7:00 pm10:00-11:30 am
Special Dragons 5:30-6:30 pm5:30-6:30 pm11:00-12:00 am
VIP 6:00-7:00 pm6:00-7:00 pm10:00-11:30 am
Women's Program 7:00-8:30 pm7:00-8:30 pm9:00-10:00 am
TideRunners 6:00-7:00 pm6:00 -7:00 pm8:30-9:30 am

Our Dragon Boat Teams

Wasabi Burn
Premier, Mixed Program

Established over 20 years ago, Burn is Wasabi’s premier mixed team.

Wasabi Burn is made up of a vast array of athletes.  We all are bonded by our ferocity for competition and camaraderie.  The team’s dedication to the sport is shown through our strong performance in local, national and international competitions.

Team Burn athletes have competed at the highest levels, paddling at Club Crew World Championships and Team USA international competitions.  We have our sights set on racing in Hong Kong 2021 and Sarasota 2022.  

 We love welcoming new paddlers and giving them the tools and training to embrace and excel at the paddling lifestyle!


Head Coach:  Cary Morris

Emily Neve

Co-Head Coach:  Emily Neve

Manager:  Douglas Hill

Team Co-Captains:  Derek Avery, Chelsea Catchpole

Grand Masters                                       Age 50+ Mixed Program

The Grand Masters are a group of men and women paddler/athletes aged 50+.  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.

The Grand Masters Club Crew teams have been Regional Champions and traveled to Club Crew World Championships in Penang, Macau, and Italy, and qualified in 2018 for Hungary.  We also made preparations for Club Crew World Championships at Aix-les-Bains, France in 2020.  The Wasabi Grand Masters are so accomplished, they were the impetus for age checking in their division!
When it is not Club Crew World Championships, it is World Dragon Boat Championship time pitting, country against country.  20% of The Grand Master members routinely secure a seat on Team USA!
The Grand Masters are a serious bunch of paddlers who enjoy the water, each other, and the prospect of being competitive as they prepare physically to be first off the start line at many area dragon boat festivals and events in the USA and Canada.
The Grand Masters welcomes recruits aged 50 years young. Come on out and give us a try.  You'll like it!

Head Coach: Nicole Burdette

Assistant Coach:  Dale Ritter

Captain:  Ingrid Olson



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.


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Head Coach:  Cindy Hickman with assistance from Bren Trask

Lead Assistant Coach:  Charlie Cowan

Co-Assistant Coaches:  Lynn Bonser, Christine Nair

Manager: Nancy Thomas


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.

SOAR Racing

Head Coach:  Deana Caputo

Assistant Coach:  Marie Iddings and Christine Nair

Team Manager:  Marcia McGary

Team Co-Captains:  Carol Anderson, Jeanne Federovitch with assistance from Joyce McCulloch


Wasabi Special Dragons                            All Age, Mixed Program

The Special Dragons is a team of intellectually disabled athletes. Founded in 1997, we have been racing in the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Dragon Boat Races for over 20 years. The Special Dragons team became an official team within Wasabi Paddling Club in 2006.

Our mission is to help build individual fitness and confidence, through our love of dragon boating. Many of our paddlers also participate with Special Olympics where they further their physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families and other athletes in the community.

Wasabi is honored to have these athletes as part of our club.

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(Our wonderful founding coach, Gwen Foley)

Special Dragons
Special Dragons 6-10-18

Head Coach:  Jennifer Wilken

Co-Coach:  Janette Hansen

Manager:  Erin Bourdo


Wasabi TideRunners of Nehalem Bay All Age, Women's Team

WE ARE A TEAM: of powerful, competitive women of all ages who race and train together on the beautiful Nehalem Bay, where we share the water with bald eagles, heron and seals.

WE ARE COMPETITIVE: in local, national and international races.

WE ARE FRIENDS: who enjoy camaraderie on and off the water.

WE ARE TIDERUNNERS OF NEHALEM BAY- we run with the tide.

WE ARE INVITING YOU to join us for a fun workout and a great adventure!

Tide Runners
Paddling at Nehalem Bay

Coach: Char vonAhlefeld

Manager:  Mary Gallagher 

C0-Captains:  Sandy Johnson and Pam Colby

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.

vip racing (2)

(Head Coach, Jim Hinsvark)

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Head Coach:  Jim Hinsvark

Assistant Coach:  Glenda Lesher

Manager:  Yvonne Dinsdale

Captain:  Char Cook


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.

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Head Coach: Bren Trask

Co-Coach: Carol Hoekstra

Assistant Coach: Cindy Hickman, Connie Flesuras

C.I.T. (Coaches in Training): Jill Metz, Alexis Champagne

Manager: Janet Lamson

Co-Captains:  Carolyn Stewart, Nicole Forsi, Connie Cavagnaro

Bren Trask

(Head Coach, Bren Trask)


(Co-Coach, Carol Hoekstra)

Coaching staff, Connie Flesuras

(Assist. Coach, Connie Flesuras)


Our Wasabi Teams finished TOP among the fastest in the world !

* Premier Team   * Senior A    Senior B   * Women's Senior C

ccwc results (snip)
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