Every week in Sydney, hundreds of ‘dragon boaties’ are getting on the water and having the time of their lives. This fast and furious sport is taking off in a big way in the Harbour City. Crews are competing throughout the regions of this city and through NSW. Participants are hailing the experience for its fitness factor, social networking, stress releasing, and pure unadulterated fun. In dragon boating it is all about the team, as everyone pulls together to get the job done; getting over that finishing line first.
The noise and excitement is paramount, especially on race days. The laughter and whoops of joy echo out across the water, as teams of dragon boats charge forth in a fury of paddling. Clubs are still looking for new members all the time, as the sport continues to grown and capture the interest of Sydneysiders. People are passionate about dragon boat racing, there is no escaping that, and that passion is spreading like wildfire. Families are getting onboard and friends are co-opting other friends to get involved.
Dragon boat racing began in China about two thousand years ago, with roots in the traditional religious practice of appeasing the rain gods. Later on, a great warrior poet killed himself in the river Mi Lo in protest against political corruption and dragon boat racing began as a celebration of his sacrifice. Now, it is a vital part of their culture and symbolises the patriotic teamwork imbued within the nation as a whole. The country paddles together to achieve greatness on the world stage.
Colour is everywhere during the racing events, here in Sydney, with teams wearing matching colours representing their clubs. Regattas are held on Manly Dam, Bayview, Sydney International Regatta Centre, Darling Harbour, Lake Jindabyne, and other regional centres in NSW. Sponsors and partners of Dragon Boats NSW include: Ricoh, Trans Crane, Regatta Sport, NSW Sports Federation, NSW Transport Roads & Maritime, NSW Office of Communities Sport & Recreation, Sydney International Regatta Centre Penrith Lakes and Wholesale Trophies.
Dragon boat clubs, generally, train in the evening during weekdays and compete in the mornings on weekends. For those who are good enough there are opportunities to compete nationally and internationally. For more than twenty years, now, there has been dragon boat racing every week in Sydney. The sport has become part of the Australian outdoor lifestyle; promoting fun and fitness for all.