Additional Info about Dragon Boating


  • Origins: The sport originates from over 2,000 years ago in southern China as a fertility rite to ensure prosperous crops and to commemorate the poet Qu Yuan. Dragon boat festivals and races have been held annually as a part of traditional celebrations, especially during the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival).
  • Global Spread: In the late 20th century, dragon boating evolved into an international sport, spreading beyond China to Asia, Europe, and North America.

Boat Specifications

  • Design: A standard dragon boat is about 40 feet long and can accommodate 20 paddlers sitting side by side in pairs, a drummer at the front who sets the pace, and a steersperson at the rear who controls the direction.
  • Dragon Heads and Tails: Boats are traditionally fitted with decorative dragon heads and tails for races and festivals, symbolizing health, strength, and prosperity.


  • Paddles: Paddles are specifically designed for dragon boating, with a shape and size conforming to the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) standards.
  • Drum: A drum is used in the boat for the drummer to beat the rhythm for the paddlers.
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Safety gear, including PFDs, is mandatory during practice and competitions.


  • Synchronization: The key to speed and efficiency in dragon boating is the synchronized paddling of all team members, following the rhythm set by the drummer.
  • Stroke: The basic dragon boat stroke includes the catch, pull (or drive), exit, and recovery. Assure that the top arm is always locked, straight, in order to pull at your max capacity.
    The stroke is a very core-based exercise, because you’re somewhat pulling back from the abs, as you would in rowing, but the difference in dragon boating, is you add a slight twist as you pull back. It is very important to make sure your feet are planted solid on the inside of the boat and won’t slip, as your legs will also be a key part in pulling the water past.
  • Timing: Teams practice to perfect their timing, ensuring that all paddles hit the water simultaneously for maximum propulsion.


  • Team Building: Dragon boating emphasizes teamwork, communication, and coordination, making it an excellent activity for corporate team-building, clubs, and community groups.
  • Physical Fitness: It provides a vigorous upper body workout, enhancing cardiovascular health, strength, and endurance.
  • Cultural Engagement: Participating in dragon boating allows individuals to connect with the cultural traditions and ceremonies associated with the sport.

Dragon boating stands out for its blend of cultural tradition, community engagement, and competitive spirit. It attracts participants of all ages and skill levels, fostering a sense of unity and achievement through teamwork. The sport continues to grow globally, with clubs and teams forming in cities and towns around the world, celebrating the ancient tradition and the communal joy of dragon boating.