Dragon Boat Racing History
Born of a 2500 year Chinese tradition, it emerged in modern times as an international sport in Hong Kong in 1976. Dragon boat racing (sport and festival) is among the fastest growing of team water sports, with scores of thousands of participants in various organizations and clubs in over 60 countries – 62 of which are International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) members (as of 8 Jan 2009). There are nearly 50 million people worldwide who currently take part annually in dragon boat races. Present day dragon boats are still similar to those raced over two thousand years ago. Each crew consists of 20 paddlers, one drummer and one steersperson. Teams race in a sprint along a straight course ranging from 250 to 2,000 meters. Top speed comes with a well-timed stroke of the blade—a seasoned Dragon Boat team can travel over the water at 10-13 feet per second.