What is Dragon Boat Racing?
It's wet, it's wild, it's an experience your team will never forget!The world's fastest growing water sport is also the most exciting. Twenty paddlers move in unison, combining strength with teamwork in a boat whose elaborate design originates in ancient China. Dragon Boat Racing is a great sport for men and women of all ages and abilities. Anyone can do it and have fun! Teamwork is everything in Dragon Boat Racing Synchronicity is more important than strength. A perfectly synchronized team will almost always beat a stronger, but less coordinated team.
A maximum of 20 paddlers, with a steersperson (cox) and a drummer. Teams entering the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival must have a mixed crew with a minimum of 8 female paddlers in the boat.
What is a Drummer?
The drummer sits at the bow or front of the boat on a wooden seat. He or she will assist in setting the timing for the team by keying off the two paddlers at the front of the boat better known as the stroke. A good drummer can be a valuable asset to a team. Essentially they are the heartbeat of the dragon and could be an excellent source of motivation and inspiration during the race. Your drummer and other members of your team are invited and encouraged to attend our Training Clinics for drummers during May and June.
What is a Steersperson?
The steersperson stands at the back of the boat and steers the crew with a long oar. He or she is the captain of the dragon boat. When a decision concerning the safety of the crew is required, it is the steersperson who makes it. He or she will consult with the drummer and/or team captain, but the steersperson has the final word on the water.
The origin of Dragon Boat Racing dates back over 2000 years to the Chinese legend of Qu Yuan, a 4th-century statesman, poet, and advisor to the king. Qu Yuan was exiled from the ancient state of Chu after his advice to the king was misinterpreted as an attempt to assume greater political power. For his offense, Qu Yuan was banished to a remote area of Hunan Province in southern China. The dishonor of being exiled was a heavy burden on Qu Yuan. Under the weight of his sorrow, he threw himself into the torrents of the Milou River – but some local fishermen raced out onto the water to save the drowning Qu Yuan. The fishermen wildly beat their drums and splashed the water with their paddles to prevent the water dragons and fish from eating Qu Yuan. The modern Dragon Boat Race is based upon a traditional re-enactment of the race to save Qu Yuan. Over the centuries, village fishing boats went out each year in a symbolic search, and began to take part in races that evolved into Dragon Boat Racing’s present form.