Dragon Boating: Paddling in the Orient

So far we have seen and read about the various aspects of individual paddling as a sport. Be it in the case of paddle-surfing, paddle-boarding or traditional kayaking using paddles, most of what we get to witness, is exciting solo feats. Now multiply that several times over, and what you get is the super enthusing Dragon Boating!

More about the Dragon Boat

While the unique paddling sport of dragon boating is known to have originated in China, one gets to witness various successors of it in countries like Hungary, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand today. In China, this sport continues to bear more of a ceremonial significance and less of a hardcore sports facility. All said and done, we have dragon boats made in various shapes and sizes, as well as from a varied range of building material such as traditional teak and the modern carbon and fiber combination.

The Head of the Dragon

The head of the boat bears a dragon, which obviously makes no difference to the actual sport at all, but is a cultural, religious and traditional symbol. The overall shape of the boat needs to be long and narrow, with just enough space for paddlers to be seated next to each other. In fact, since this is a team exercise, one gets to witness the unique feat of two long rows of paddlers sitting parallel to one another (on the left and the right side of the boat) and using single-bladed paddles to steer the boat ahead super-fast. Yet another geographical zone where we get to witness a sport that resembles dragon-boating is the Malabar Coast of India. The backwaters here are picturesque, placid and just perfect for this kind of local competitive sporting. The only difference here is that their boats are not dragon boats, but just simple, handmade boats in a similar long and narrow shape, and the paddles used are actually traditional oars.

The World Nations Dragon Boat Racing Championships

When this particular championship was envisaged, it was imperative that the event would be organized in China. Paddling enthusiasts first witnessed this unique sporting feat in Shanghai, and a few years later, it was re-located to Poland. Apart from these countries, several other hosting nations such as Germany, Australia, Czech Republic, Canada, United States and the United Kingdom have come forth with their own Dragon Boat Paddling Racing Championships at various levels.

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