Dragon Boat 101

Dragon boating is an exciting water sport that originated in Southern China and has spread worldwide. Traditionally made of teak wood, the boat is called a "Chinese Dragon Boat" because it has a mythical Asian-style dragon head at the front and a stylized dragon tail at the rear. The boat is long, usually between 8 to 18 meters, and is propelled by a team of paddlers using small single-bladed paddles. To steer the boat, there is a long steering oar at the rear or a large paddle, and a drum in the front helps maintain the stroke cadence of the crew.

The sport has a fascinating history linked to the legend of Qu Yuan, a figure from ancient China falsely accused of treason. The Dragon Boat Festival, held annually in June, commemorates his story, with dragon boat races re-enacting the desperate rush to save Qu Yuan from the Mi Lo River.

Dragon boating is now a modern sport and recreation with over 50 million participants in China and widespread popularity in the UK, Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. It started gaining international attention in the 1970s, and today, there are serious competitions like the IDBF World Championships, showcasing the high-performance and teamwork aspects of the sport. Dragon boating isn't just about competition; it has a festival side, with races attracting many crews for fun, excitement, and team-building.


Whether you're a beginner looking for a social and inclusive activity or an elite athlete seeking a high-performance sport, dragon boating offers a unique blend of tradition, culture, and teamwork. With its ancient roots and modern appeal, dragon boating is truly a sport for everyone, regardless of age or ability. So, if you're intrigued by the idea of paddling in a dragon boat, give it a try – you might discover a thrilling and fulfilling water adventure!