What is dragonboating?

The Sport

Dragon boat racing is a "canoe-sport", and began as a modern international sport in 1976.

In Singapore it is governed by the Singapore Dragon Boat Authority (SDBA)

There is also a collection of "expat" teams known as the International Dragon Boat Community (IDBC)


The Boats

The boats were traditionally made of wood but are now typically made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and other lightweight materials.

There are two "normal" sizes of boat - a small boat which is 9 metres long and seats 12 paddlers (including drummer and steer), and a regular boat which is 12 metres long and seats 22.

Boats are fitted with a removable "head" and "tail" which are styled to represent dragons (hence dragonboating!)

We have three boats that we use regularly - two regular boats (Black Boat and Laura) and Usain Boat, our small boat (named by popular vote!).


The Paddlers

The crew of a standard dragon boat typically consists of 22 team members: 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, 1 drummer at the bow facing toward the paddlers, and 1 steer standing at the rear of the boat.

The paddlers are normally split into three sections:

"Pacers" - the front few rows set the pace and speed of the whole boat

"The Engine" - the middle section of rows provide the raw power that drives the boat

"The Rockets" - provide the bursts of speed when needed in a race