Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club


Dragon boat has rich cultural origins being deeply imbedded in China’s dragon culture. When we race, each boat is dressed with an ornately carved dragons head at the bow, and tail at the stern. The boats are usually painted with scales and the paddles symbolically represent the dragons claws.

Originally dragon boats were used for religious purposes as a way to appease the rain gods. Later dragon boat came to celebrate the life of Qu Yuan, a great warrior poet who committed suicide in the river Mi-Lo as a protest against political corruption of the day. To commemorate this sacrifice the people began to organise dragon boat festivals in his memory.

Modern day dragon boating is a team sport in its purest form. It encompasses the elements of power, speed, synchronisation and endurance. Standard teams consist of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a sweep (steerer).

Traditional dragon boats were constructed of wood and extremely heavy, these days however they are usually made of fibreglass and much lighter. 

The larger 12 metre boat, weighing 250kg, is used for teams consisting of 20 paddlers, a sweep and a drummer meaning a fully loaded mens team can weigh almost two tonnes!

Standard races include distances of 200m, 500m and 2km. A typical 500m race can take approx. 2-3 minutes to complete depending on the crew, with gruelling 2km races between 10-13 minutes.

Modern day dragon boating is an international and highly competitive sport with world titles held alternating years for clubs and countries. Over 50 million paddlers participate annually in competitions across the globe and Australia competes strongly on the international stage.

If you're looking for your next challenge, come along to one of our training sessions to see what it's all about.


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