What is a Dragon Boat? A dragon boat is a long, narrow canoe that seats 20 paddlers in 10 rows. It has a drummer at the front of the boat by the dragon’s head and a steersperson who navigates the back of the boat. The dragon head at the front of the boat and a dragon tail at the back of the boat are usually displayed during competitions and not always at team practices.
What is Dragon Boating? Dragon boating originated from Hong Kong in 1976, but its historical roots can be traced back to more than 2,000 years ago in China. During races, dragon boaters typically paddle in sync along a 250m or 500m race course toward the finish line.
What is the difference between dragon boating and rowing? Although dragon boating and rowing are both water sports, they come from different traditional backgrounds. Rowing has its history in the West, while Dragon boating is based on traditions from the East. Rowers sit in single file in boats referred to as 'shells' with their backs to the direction of travel and row with oars. Dragon boaters sit in two rows of 10 and face forward using paddles to propel forward.
Is experience needed? The great thing about dragon boating is that anyone (literally!) can join. We welcome everyone with a curiosity and interest in learning more about dragon boating, at all fitness levels and background.
What can I expect in a practice? On-water practices last about 1 1/2 hours and include technique drills and race pieces, while incorporating elements of interval, endurance, and power training. This is all done in a dragon boat. During winter, teams move indoors and participate in group practices using paddling machines (ergometers) that follow the same principles as applied when we practice on the water.
What do I need to bring to my first practice? Bring a water bottle and sunglasses or a cap with a brim or visor if it's sunny. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that you don't mind getting wet. The best materials are quick drying synthetics. Don’t forget to apply water-proof/resistant sunscreen.
When are the practices, do I need to attend all of them? Weather permitting, we conduct on-water practices in a dragon boat. Check each team's Schedule page for specific practice times. During the winter, teams practice indoors on paddling machines (ergometers). With membership, you can attend as many practices as you want.
How often do you race, and where? DC Dragons races about once per month, starting in May at the DC Dragon Boat Festival, and ending in October with our club-hosted MEGAMENTAL long-distance dragon boat race. Most of our races are on the East Coast within driving distance. Once a year, we may travel farther for a special race; for example, during winter 2013, we went to Puerto Rico. In previous years, we have raced in Taiwan; Canada (Montreal & Toronto); Miami, Fla.; and Long Beach, Calif.
What does your team do when they are not training and racing? Believe it or not, we're actually friends outside of training too! We engage in a variety of social activities, doing typical things you'd do with any of your group of friends such as watching movies together, hanging out at barbecues, celebrating team member birthdays, and much more. We also participate in a variety of community events as active citizens such as racing in marathons and promote the sport of paddling.
How can I find out more about dragon boat paddling and/or sign up for a practice? Easy! Contact us and we would be happy to connect you with one of our teams!
Anacostia Community Boathouse 1900 M Street SE Washington, DC 20003 firstname.lastname@example.org