Dragon Boat World Athlete: Are you too young to start Paddling?

This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Paul Alex Kandler, National Athlete – Team Germany.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler


NAME: Paul Alex Kandler
BIRTHPLACE: Neustrelitz, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
AGE: 20yo
POSITION: Paddler (Occasional Pacer/Schlagmann)
HEIGHT: 186cm
WEIGHT: 85kg
STATUS: Single

German Championships 2014, Schwerin, Bronze – Mixed, Standard Boat, 500m
9th IDBF Dragon Boat Club Crew World Championships, Ravenna, Bronze – Mixed, Small Boat, 500m (Uckermark U18)
Vize European Master 2014, Silver – Mixed, Standard Boat, 2000m
Vize European Master 2014, 2 Bronzes – Mixed, Standard Boat, 2000m, 500m
Vize European Master 2014, Bronze – Open, Small Boat, 200m
11th EDBF European Dragon Boat Nations Championships, Racice, Bronze – U18, Small Boat, 200m
Vize Weltmeister 2015, 2 Silvers – Open, Small Boat, 2000m, 500m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2015, Welland, 2 Silvers; 1 BronzeOpen, Small Boat; U24 Small Boat, 200m

Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler

It’s beneficial to become athletic at a young age. Though it’s not set in stone as to what age is ‘too young’ for one to start, it certainly helps to be exposed to sports early–it keeps the body active and it also helps improve self-esteem and physical health. Experts say that athletes tend to develop their mental abilities better than non-athletes.

According to results of a study by Jocelyn Faubert, “It is clear that a remarkable mental processing and learning abilities should be acknowledged as critical elements for world-class performance in sport and potentially elite performance abilities in other dynamic contexts¹.”

Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler

While it doesn’t matter what kind of sport you’re leaning to focus on, starting young gives you more room for discovery and finding your true passion. Just like our next featured Dragon Boat World Athlete, 20 year old, Paul Alex Kandler from Germany.

As a kid, Paul grew up to be fond of any kinds of sports. He played football for several years until the time came when he found his passion in water sports–Stand Up Paddling (SUP), Outrigger Canoeing (OC) and Dragon Boat. He was introduced to the Dragon Boat world through his school team, Carolinum Dragons, and from there he had fallen deep under the ‘spell of the dragon’.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler

From his school team in 2013, he joined a local competitive club called: Strelitz Dragons. That’s where he became more and more serious with the sport. He began to join large-scale dragon boat competitions and have clinched several medals with his home team. From then on he was determined to enhance his paddling skills and join major races like the Nationals, Continental and Worlds. He’s been competing for four years now and at his young age, he’s had shown exceptional potential to arise in Premiere level in the near future.

So for those of you who started paddling in your teens like Paul, keep doing what you’re doing and if you aspire to one day represent your country in the World Championships, the right time to start working for it is now. Let’s read on Paul’s experience being with the National Team and what’s the best lesson he has learned from it.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler
Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler

Q: Who was your first coach in dragon boat? Who was your first coach in Outrigger Canoe (OC)?

A:My first dragon boat coach was my PE teacher Mr Pfitzner. Now my coaches are from the National Team. In OC, I’m my own coach.

Q: How long have you been with Team Germany? How is the experience so far?

A: I have paddled with the National Team for three years now and can only say that we (athletes) have no fear. Having said this, one just needs to believe in himself that he can do it. The National Team is very sociable and accepting of everyone who has the passion. In the training camp, the athletes give their best to master the training programme. It’s like everyone is racing against themselves. Although the training programme gets intense by the day, no matter what level or age group you are in, with the right workout there is no problem.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler
Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler

Q: Will you be representing Team Germany in the upcoming EDBF Championships in June?

A: Yes. I trained hard to be selected and only recently I got the news from our trainer that I got in and I must be there to help the crew.

Q: How are the preparations for the European Championships in June in Rome, Italy?

A: The preparations run according to the training plan that the coach have designed. We have to fulfill it as planned and we have to attend the regular training camps in order for us to have achieve a common goal of having a strong, solid boat.

Q: We understand that aside from Dragon Boat, you also do Outrigger Canoe (OC), how does it benefit your paddling in Dragon Boat?

A: OC is a good alternative when I’m not training with my drachenboot (dragon boat) team. It’s also a great balancing workout so that you can paddle both sides and this is very good for the body.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Paul Alex Kandler

Q: How do you manage your time between dragon boat and OC? Can you share with us the similarities and differences of these two water sports in terms of paddling stroke? Does the stroke sometimes become confusing?

A: I manage it very well. Since dragon boat is a team sport, everyone needs to be there for training unlike in OC, when my team is not available to practice together, I do OC on my own. As for the force required, OC is more difficult because the OC paddle has a larger blade but paddling technique wise, for me it’s very similar. The confusion in the stroke is minimal. You just have to focus on which boat you are paddling in.

Q: As a National Athlete, what is the best lesson you’ve learned so far from the sport of dragon boat?

A: The best lesson I have learned is to not have fear of learning new techniques and strategies for the good of the team. Dragon boat is not just for one person, if everyone is training hard, it’s the team that gets better.


1. Jocelyn Faubert, “Professional athletes have extraordinary skills for rapidly learning complex and neutral dynamic visual scenes”, Nature.com, 31st January 2013, Nature Publishing Group, 24th May 2016

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Dragon Boat World Athlete: It’s Important to be an Intelligent Paddler

This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Marc Rößler, National Athlete – Team Germany (Deutschland).

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler


NAME: Marc Rößler
BIRTHPLACE: Berlin, Germany
AGE: 30yo
POSITION: Paddler; Social-Media-Manager
PADDLING SIDE: Left and Right
HEIGHT: 1.86cm
WEIGHT: 80kg
STATUS: Single

IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2013, Gold – Premier Open, 1000m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2013, Silver – Premier Open, 500m
EDBF European Championships 2014, Gold – Premier Open, 200m
EDBF European Championships 2014, Gold – Premier Open, 500m
EDBF European Championships 2014, Silver – Premier Open, 2000m
German National Championships 2015, Silver – Premier Open 200m, 500m
German National Championships 2015, Gold – Premier Mixed 200m

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

They say athletes have better physical and intellectual abilities. Well, this Dragon Boat World Athlete definitely personifies this notion. Marc Rößler from Team Germany is one of those amazing athletes who combines physical strength and intelligence.

Marc started with Canoe Flatwater Racing sport in 1996 and had been successful during his participation in the Junior World Championships and U23 European Championships. “In 2003, I bagged two Silver Medals from my two Junior Deputy-world Championships in Kayak (K2 and K4).”, he said.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler
Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

“In 2009 I started to work at an IT systems company”, Marc shared. “That was when my sporting world became a bit more quiet.” In 2013, he joined WannSea Dragons and from there he was asked by a teammate, Uwe Heidler and by Ronny Keil (Team Germany’s Coach) if he wants to try out for the dragon boat national team. He did and he’s been competing in dragon boat races with his club and with Team Germany since.

In this rare interview Marc shares with us his intelligent view on an athlete’s success, his other hobbies when he’s not paddling and some very useful tips on how to be prepared for races.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

Q: How do you envision success?

A: Success is a question of the physical and the mental attitude. A good training session is just half as good if your mind is not concentrating.

Q: What’s the role of the Coach’s leadership in the National Team’s unity?

A: The coach is the thinker and visionary. Apart from the fact that he paddles with us, it is also his responsibility to plan and develop the training for his crew. Also, he is open to suggestions and opinions from experienced athletes.

Q: How intense does your training go nowadays now that it’s only a few weeks until the European Champs?

A: From this time up to this year’s European Championships we have created a master plan which would become more and more intensive up to the championships. Thus, every athlete can also prepare pertinently at home. I train as a rule from 5 to 6 times a week and align the training intensity and distances in relation to the respective competition.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

Q: What are your other hobbies?

A: Aside from dragon boat sport, I take part furthermore in competitions in the canoe racing sport. It makes me more calm and relaxed when I take photos and make my own ice cream creations.

Q: Given the tight training schedule, do you still have time for these hobbies? If yes, how do you spend your rest time? Who do you spend it with?

A: Sure, I find the time to do my other hobbies. Friends and family time are important just as the sport is to me and I’m happy to share my hobbies with them.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

Q: Do you sometimes play a ‘mental video’ of a race with your toughest competition?

A: Yes, I do make it run in my mind before the race starts. I think about what to do in a particular moment and how to beat the planned target for any race distance. Dragon boat sport is also a tactical sport so it helps very much if one is mentally prepared for the race.

Q: How does it help your determination when you relive some of your winning moments in the past?

A: The victories in the past give self-confidence of course and also the necessary composure for the upcoming challenges. However, one shouldn’t relax on the victories from the past; there will always be new aims, new opponents and therefore also new duties. I think this is what makes the sport more fun and meaningful to me.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Marc Rößler

Q: Outside the dragon boating world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?

A: Ronald Rauhe. He was a successful paddler before I started my own career in Canoeing. He is still one of the best athletes with multiple Olympic medals and World Championship titles. His world-class talent and longevity in the sport is simply very impressive.

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PHOTOS: Marcel Nguyen qualifies for Rio Olympics

BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Marcel and the rest of Team Germany who qualified for the upcoming Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5th – 21st August 2016. Germany’s Men’s Gymnastics “Dream Team” is composed of Marcel Nguyen, Andreas Bretschneider, Andreas Toba, Philipp Herder, Ivan Rittschik, Helge Liebrich, and Lukas Dauser. Viel Glück!

Let us share with you some of the most poetic and inspiring shots of double Olympic medalist, Marcel Nguyen. Thanks to the gracious courtesy of 24passion GbR for providing us with an exclusive interview with Marcel and for giving us permission to use these amazing images.

Marcel Nguyen 24passion GbR

Marcel Nguyen 24passion GbR

Marcel Nguyen 24passion GbR

Marcel Nguyen 24passion GbR

Marcel Nguyen 24passion GbR

Marcel Nguyen 24passion GbR

Marcel Nguyen 24passion GbR

Marcel Nguyen 24passion GbR

Olympic Medalist Marcel Nguyen on his Next Big Goal | An Exclusive Interview


Dragon Boat World Athlete: The Man Behind the Paddler–My Coach in the Boat, My Dad at Home

This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete Robin Eschbach, National Athlete – Dragon Boat Team Germany.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Robin Eschbach


NAME: Robin Eschbach
BIRTHPLACE: Bad Säckingen, Germany
AGE: 22yo
POSITION: Paddler, Captain of Thunder Dragons
PADDLING SIDE: Right and Left
HEIGHT: 1.83cm
WEIGHT: 82kg
STATUS: Single

IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships, GoldPremier Open, 1000m, 2013
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships, SilverPremier Open, 500m, 2013
EDBF European Championships, GoldPremier Open 200m, 2000m, 2012
German National Championships, GoldPremier Open 200m, 500m, 2000m, 2015

Our next featured Dragon Boat World Athlete, Robin Eschbach, hails from Bad Säckingen, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. When Robin is not busy training and competing to represent his country, he works as a climbing and a Stand Up Paddling (SUP) instructor. He’s been doing Kayaking as an alternative competitive sport for 16 years now.

In 1999, when he was still a member of his Kayaking club, that was when he was introduced to the dragon boat world by no less than his own father, Matthias Eschbach. Ten years of hard work and a huge breadth of experience later, he competed in his first Dragon Boat Premier race; but this time, in the same boat together with his dad.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Robin Eschbach

During that time, Robin said, “Dad was my teacher and also the Captain of the club– Thunder Dragons. He was and still is my strongest influence in my dragon boating career and through him I learned a lot about the sport’s techniques and race structures, including sportsmanship and lessons in losing and winning races.”

Let’s get to know more about Robin, his passions and what other sport he does aside from Dragon Boat.

Q: How long have you been with the German National Team? How long did it take you to qualify in the team?

A: It’s my 5th year now and I’m proud to be able to get in the team during my first shot. 🙂

Q: Aside from Dragon Boat, what other sports do you do to maintain your fitness level?

A: In the summer I’m also doing Kayaking, Canoeing and Stand Up Paddling and during winter I’m doing cross country Skiing and training units in the gym to keep my fitness level up.

Robin Eschbach Dragon Boat World Athlete

Q: How long do you prepare for a competition like World Championships? Which major race are you preparing for next?

A: I always try to train a lot but then on the last three to four months before the competition I would increase the intensity of my training. The next race I’m preparing for is the European Championships in Laghetto dell’EUR, Rome, Italy, 27th-31st July 2016 and the upcoming German Nationals where I will be paddling with my club team.

Robin Eschbach Dragon Boat World Athlete

Q: Any personal ritual you have before you get in the boat before racing? If none, how do you keep your focus on the race?

A: I have no personal ritual before the race; but I just try to keep my focus on the race and still keep in mind the race structure and the technical details of it. I always look forward to the “silence” during the Starts. I believe it is important for a team to remain constantly motivated in reaching for their goals.

Q: Outside the dragon boating world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?

A: That would be Martin Johnsrud Sundby. He is a Norwegian Cross Country Skier and I admire him because he trains more than any other Skiers in the World Cup (and they train a lot). With a lot of hard work that he put in his training, he has dominated all the male Skiers in the World Cup this year. So I admire his attitude to train more than everyone else in order for him to reach his goals.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Robin Eschbach

L-R: Matthias Eschbach, Robin Eschbach, Felix Stortz, Jörg Kaltenbacher

“Two years ago, while my dad was still paddling with the team, I took over his place as the club’s Captain. I am very proud to have become a successful paddler and Captain because of him—my Coach in the boat and my father at home. I would say that I owe him most of my success in this sport; especially when I first went for tryouts for Team Germany in 2011.”, Robin ended.

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