Dragon Boat Racing is the fastest growing water sport in the world.
A "standard" dragon boat is 40+ feet long, around 4 feet wide in the middle. It seats 20 paddlers on 10 benches facing forward, plus a drummer on the bow and a steer-person on the stern.
Governed and promoted by the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) and its country members (the US Dragon Boat Federation in our country), dragon boat racing is a flat water sprint style paddling sport similar to outrigger canoes and sprint racing using single blade paddles. Races are typically 500 meters but occasionally, festivals will offer a 250 meter and/or a 2,000-meter race. Dragon boat racing is enjoyed by people of all ages in over 50 countries or Territories around the world. It is the fastest growing team water sport in the world and promotes Breast Cancer Awareness as its global philanthropy. Breast Cancer Survivor teams began forming and racing in 1996 and today there are more than 100 BCS teams all over the world, helping survivors regain strength, courage and self-confidence after battling this horrendous disease.
Dragon boats were traditionally made of wood but modern racing boats today are primarily constructed of fiberglass and built to dimensions strictly controlled by the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF). Paddlers propel the dragon boat using wood, plastic or carbon fiber paddles while attempting to stay in perfect sync as they race down the course. During races, the drummer controls the stroke rate and works to keep the paddlers in sync with one another while the steers person navigates the boat. A dragon head and tail are attached during races as well, adding to the festival atmosphere of the sport.
History of Dragon Boating
Originating in Southern China over 2,000 years ago as an ancient folk ritual between contending villagers, dragon boating competitions have taken place annually emerging as an international sport in 1976. Dragon boat races are traditionally held as part of the annual Duanwu Festival observance in China and observed and celebrated in many areas of Asia, usually in the month of June.
Today, festivals are held throughout the world and all through the year as club teams, community teams and national teams vigorously compete for pride, trophies and medals.