Dragon boat racing isn't as easy as it looks: here's what it takes to compete

Dragon boat racing isn't as easy as it looks: here's what it takes to compete

It's a popular tradition of Chinese, dragon boat racing commemorates the death of ancient poet Chu Yuan. It also pays respect to the dragon, the ruler of the water. 

This sport started more than 2,000 years ago in China and gained international recognition. This water-sport is now enjoyed in more than 35 countries.


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Dragon boat racing is so full of energy and colour, it’s no wonder people are attracted to it. Cheered on by the beating of drums teams of paddlers race to the finish line in long, narrowboats,  The 500m and 200m sprints are the most common distances, with longer races being held over 2,000m, 12km, 25km and 55km.

Generally, a 12-metre dragon boat has a crew of 20, with 18 paddlers sitting in pairs on 10 benches, a drummer at the front of the boat and a steersman in the back. First, the “hold water” action is used to steady the boat by holding the paddle perpendicular to the water. 

How to paddle

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Then there are the simple rowing techniques which include “draw”, “stroke” and “exit”.

To start, there  are four basic phases to a stroke:

  1. 1. You need to Catch - Turn your body slightly inwards towards the centre of the boat and lean forward, then submerge your paddle fully in the water.
  2. 2. Then Pull the blade - Lean back and pull the blade through the water.
  3. 3. Go on until you Finish - Follow the pull through till the blade is out of the water.
  4. 4. Reach - Lean forward again with your arm extended to begin the' catchphrase for the next stroke.

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Do note that you need to already have strong abdominals and back muscles as this slight overextending can strain both muscles over time.


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This is an effective form of resistance training as you need to battle against the waves created by teammates in front of you. The other way can be, one of the players could sit in the front of the boat to paddle while teammates behind you create drag by holding their paddles straight down and still in the water.

 A player can take a brief 'rest' period of no more than one minute. While taking a rest don't stop moving

rather continue to walk or ride the bike at an easy pace. 


Player needs to keep in mind that they will need to build up their stamina. This sport depicts the importance of team spirit. United We Stand,Divided We Fall can make a team win...

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