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Our practice is a dynamic and exhilarating experience. The atmosphere is energetic, while leads set the rhythm as paddlers coordinate their strokes. Coaches provide guidance, focusing on technique, teamwork, and endurance. There's a sense of camaraderie and unity as members support each other, fostering a fun yet challenging environment.

A full boat is 20 paddlers, a caller (like the coxswain) and a helm or steersperson. The team holds hour-long practices three times a week, launching from the Riverfront Park dock on the east bank of the Willamette River in Salem. Practice is year-round, with a short break during December-January. 

Dragon boats moored on doc with rainbow in the background.

Where we paddle

Our boat is moored next to the Willamette Queen Sternwheeler at Salem's Riverfront Park dock.


Paddlers gather down the boat ramp on the dock 15 minutes prior to launch for warm-ups and bench assignments.

Parking at the north end of the park (past the Gilbert House Children's Museum) is the most convenient.  

When we paddle

Each team practices three times a week, 50 weeks a year, and competes in 3 to 6 race events during the April – October race season.

March through mid-October 

  • Mon 6:15PM - 7:15PM

  • Wed 6:15PM - 7:15PM

  • Thurs 6:30PM - 7:30PM

  • Sat 8:30AM - 9:30AM

  • Sun 6:30PM - 7:30PM


Mid-October through November

  • Mon 6:00PM - 7:00PM

  • Wed 6:00PM - 7:00PM

  • Thurs 6:00PM - 7:00PM

  • Sat 9:15AM - 10:15AM

  • Sun 6:00PM - 7:00PM


December through February

We take a break from the river until our regular schedule resumes in Spring. Pool/gym practices are offered Mondays and Thursdays 6:00PM - 7:30PM during this time.

Safety First

Weather, water conditions, and low attendance can force teams to cancel practices throughout the year. Coaches and Safety Officers will assess risks and notify individuals when practices are cancelled. 

Paddlers enjoying a sunset paddle down river.
Team members walking back from a race wearing life jackets and carrying their paddles.

Dress for success

Recommended gear for cold weather practice is layers, preferably wicking material to keep you dry from the inside out, and breathable raingear to keep you dry from the outside in.


A bill cap type hat for rainy days is a good idea too, along with wool socks.


When it's warm weather, it's best to wear water sandals, shorts or crop pants and a shirt that are "quick-dry"--though cotton is fine too, you will get a little wet and cotton takes longer to dry. Jeans and cotton sweats should not be worn.

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