Butt Blisters: How to Effectively Deal With Those Paddling Sores on Your Posterior

Dragon kisses. Butt blisters. Whatever you call them, they are a true pain in the butt. Literally. Nearly everyone gets them, yet no one likes to talk about them. If you have been rotating properly and using an effective leg drive, it is likely that you have experienced blisters on your rear end a few times. You start to feel that pain, at some point the skin rips open, and when you get in the shower you scream like a little girl when the water hits your rear end. Most all of us have been there at least once or twice. So, what are the best ways to help prevent or alleviate the pain on your backside?


The first thing paddlers typically want to do to prevent blisters is to not rotate. DON’T give up your rotation!!! Take other measures to prevent butt blisters, but maintain your rotation. Some methods of prevention:

  • wear compression shorts
  • wear two layers of tight-fitting dry-fit shorts
  • Typhoon8 makes paddling shorts with a built-in pad in the rear. (Personally, I’m not a fan of them because when they get wet, it feels like you are wearing a wet, soggy diaper, but some people like them)
  • don’t wear baggy or loose-fitting shorts that can bunch up and create friction
  • wear thong underwear (for women) to eliminate seams on your “sit bones”
  • rub petroleum jelly or Boudreaux’s Butt Paste on your rear end to prevent chafing
  • use a high quality “butt pad” such as the Dragon Saddle (invented by Doug Bedgood).

The Dragon Saddle is my choice of butt pad. I was lucky enough to be the first person in the world to try it out and have stuck with it ever since! Photo: Doug Bedgood


Once you have butt blisters, there is no turning back. You’ve got to treat them in order to heal them. Be careful—you don’t want them to get infected! Some ways to help your blisters or sores once you’ve got them:

  • use a large, waterproof bandage to cover the blister while paddling (you might need a really good friend to apply this, unless you are extremely dexterous!)
  • use New-Skin on the affected area
  • use Neosporin or a similar ointment to help the healing process
  • give yourself a few days off the boat to heal, if possible
  • wear breathable clothing when you are off the boat

Eventually your posterior will develop thicker skin and you won’t be as prone to blisters during regular practices. However, any time you spend more time than usual in the boat (such as a paddling camp or extensive practice sessions), you may find yourself developing new blisters.

Thank you to Janet and Kevin on Puff Dragon Boat Racing Team in Miami whose posterior pain and discomfort inspired this blog post.

Have suggestions to include here? I’d love to hear them!

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19 Discussion to this post

  1. Esther Wallace says:

    You’re writing great stuff. Keep it up, gal.

  2. Ronaldo says:

    This is will help for our new paddlers..Thank you

  3. volker briel says:

    for men – first shave your butt !!!

  4. kim maloney says:

    Hydrocolloid dressings are the best for blisters by far. Different brands available in different countries available at pharmacies. You apply them to dry skin and leave on for 5 days and the blister heals in a perfect healing environment. you may need to apply some fixomull over the top to keep it on. You can shower etc with it on. Neosporin is an antibiotic ointment which is not recommended for minor blisters as it encourages bacterial resistance and certainly is not available in Australia

    • paddlechica says:

      Thanks for your input! Good point that different countries have different brands, but I’ll look out for the dressings you mention. Also, interesting to know about Neosporin not available in Australia – in the US people seem to run to it for any minor scrape. Personally, I’m allergic to it so I never use it, but good to know that I’m not missing out! Thanks again for your comments and suggestions!

  5. Michele Bryant says:

    Go to a bicycle shop and buy some Aussie Butt Creme. Excellent stuff on the bike so should do the same on a dragon boat butt. Bicycle knicks and no undies would help too. I do this in my kayak.

  6. M says:

    Cycling chamois cream is useful for preventing blisters. Pick up a tub at your local bike store and apply liberally before getting in the boat. Also apply to the layer of clothing next to your skin for added protection!

  7. Ted Cossor says:

    Check out the Paddle Pants on I-paddle.com.au

  8. Wendy Rose Davison says:

    Good on you for raising this topic. Having come to Dragon Boat paddling from cycling I was shocked to find I was getting friction burns all over again, in new places on my bum! I also get friction burns on my hip (especially when my top rides up and my flesh is rubbing against the gunnell while paddling (not to mention the bruises up the side of my rib cage from extending and reaching way out) – I am only little. In Australia we have Butt Cream that cyclists use all the time to stop knicks seam rash when riding long endurance rides. It works for dragon boat burn as well, but really I have found that wearing underwear and using seat pads just makes it worse for me. It is just time, callouses and lavender oil on a cotton ball that works for me. The thought of our team wearing thongs just makes me crack up Paddlechica!

  9. M says:

    I forgot to mention that the cycling chamois cream is also good for preventing ‘chafing’ that women can sometimes get from their bra.

  10. Jessica Terrace says:

    This helped me a lot.

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