What is dragon boating?

Dragon boating is the one of the world’s most popular sports, with representation in over 35 countries. It is the fastest growing water sport in Australia, both for individuals, private and corporate teams. It is a dynamic and exciting sport with many opportunities for individuals to compete at State, national and even international levels.

Dragon boating is a fun and accessible sport for people of all ages who are reasonably fit, a team player and enjoy being on the water.

Most clubs cater for both competitive and non-competitive members and all enjoy the fun, social aspect of the sport as well. There is a dragon boat club out there to suit you.

The fiberglass boats are just over 12 m long (~40 ft), weigh about 255 kg (~560 lbs) and hold a crew of 22 – 20 paddlers sitting side-by-side on 10 benches, as well as a sweep who steers the boat and a drummer who beats a large drum at the bow. Dragon boats are brightly painted and are decorated with a dragon head and tail for race events. Theoretically, the crew paddles in time with the drummer, but in practice the timing of the boat is normally set by the front two paddlers (the ‘strokes’) and all the other paddlers take their timing from them.

Regattas are often held on multi-lane courses, like Champion Lakes in Armadale, or in safe inlets or estuaries, such as Leschenault Inlet in Bunbury. In some parts of the world dragon boating is held in harbours, such as Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Colourful, dynamic and exciting, dragon boat racing is full of spectacle and pageantry but above all else is fun!

Race distances vary, with the standard race distance being 500 m. Sprints of 200 m are common at regattas, as is the 2,000 m race. Longer races ranging from 12 km, 25 km or even 55 km are less common, but a great challenge.