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Dragon Boat Racing

As many of us know, dragon boat paddling is an amazing sport. If you have been lucky enough to see a Breast Cancer Survivors’ team, you know how impressive the paddlers are. In 2014, I had the opportunity to volunteer for four days at the IBCPC International Breast Cancer Festival in Sarasota, Florida. I met teams from all over the world as I worked on the docks helping load and unload the boats. I even got to steer a practice for an Italian team. The next IBCPC international event will be

As it is Thanksgiving in the United States, I can’t help but think about all the reasons I’m thankful for dragon boating. Like most people, when I first picked up a paddle years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had never paddled anything more than a kayak, bodyboard or surfboard. I had never even heard of dragon boating before! I thought to myself, “People do this for FUN?!?” I still tell newbies the story of how on my first day of practice we paddled

Whether you are a “mouth breather,” a “heavy breather,” or a “silent breather,” the truth of the matter is: EVERYONE HAS TO BREATHE! But the question often is, “When do I breathe while I’m paddling?” Newer paddlers are often so focused on all the other complicated components of paddling that they completely neglect the importance of breathing. Yes, timing is crucial on a dragon boat, but so is oxygen intake! Breathing is the body’s way of bringing oxygen to the cells. You aren’t much use to anyone on the boat if you

If your team has recently become competitive, you are likely still working to grow and expand. On a relatively small team the pool of paddlers is not very deep and therefore can make it difficult to properly fill a race boat. Smaller teams are often faced with a dilemma. Should they use the top 20-22 paddlers available from the team, no matter what their ability? Or should they set the bar to ensure that paddlers on the race boat will have a certain amount of paddling proficiency? Which is best for your team?

Now that your team has made the decision to become more competitive, it is important to begin some type of testing in order to track the progress of paddlers and to determine the stronger paddlers who are able to compete at this new level. The former method of allowing all paddlers to participate on the race boat regardless of experience or ability will no longer work. You cannot place inexperienced or lower-level paddlers on a competitive race boat and expect to compete with the big dogs. So, how do you determine who is ready?

The decision to transition a team from a recreational, social one to a more competitive team is often a difficult one which might be met with some resistance. Paddlers who are accustomed to showing up to an occasional practice and yet still racing with the team will perhaps struggle with the idea of being asked participate in fitness testing and to commit to a more rigorous training schedule. However, paddlers who are eager to take it up a notch will be happily challenged by the new rigors. So, how does a team go about

The World Championships are off to a great start with two days of racing already behind us. The Canadians are wonderfully gracious hosts for this event in Welland, Ontario, and other than a little rain and high winds on Thursday, everything has been fabulous! For updates on the races, take a look at the livestream available on the International Dragon Boat Federation’s website. You can watch the excitement of the races, see results, and watch medal ceremonies. Wednesday = 2k Thursday = 1000  meter Friday = 500 meter mixed division Saturday =

Balancing a boat is essential for a race, but many teams overlook exactly how crucial it can be to their success. Having a properly balanced boat not only makes it easier on the steersman, it also allows the boat to glide through the water evenly. But balance doesn’t only apply to the left and right sides of the boat. Your race boat needs to be balanced front to back as well. Recreational teams will often encourage paddlers to find a “partner paddler” who is more or less the same weight. This

A few weeks ago, I asked readers about their favorite dragon boat races and festivals in terms of competition, location and venue. Here are the responses I received: 1) In your opinion, what is the best dragon boat race in terms of competition? This question focused on the level of teams that the race attracted. Vancouver’s Rio Tinto Alcan Race (Canada) was hands-down the most popular among those who responded, followed by Toronto’s Great White North Challenge (Canada). There is no doubt that the Canadians provide some good competition! Other races that

If you are a rookie to Team USA, or your own country’s national team, this guide is for you. After all of the preparation, Welland is just about in sight, which means at this point everything you’ve been doing for the last two years will soon come down to a few minutes of racing on dragon boat’s biggest stage. The physical training is tough, but practices have taken care of preparing the body. What about the other parts of World Championships – the parts that nobody tells you about? That’s

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