The Dragon has a very symbolic meaning for the Chinese. A classic dragon has the head of an ox, a deer's antlers, the mane of a horse, the body and scales of a snake, the claws of an eagle, and the tail of a fish. With its strength and power the dragon rides the clouds in the sky and commands the wind, mist and rain.
The Dragon Boat is deeply embedded in China's 'Dragon' culture, with each boat having an ornately carved dragon's head at the bow and a tail in the stern. The hull is painted with the Dragon's scales. The paddles symbolically represent the claws.
In IDBF Sport Racing there are generally 18-20 paddlers per standard size Dragon Boat, plus a drummer and a helm (Steersman). The races are a colorful spectacle, with at least two boats competing against each other over distances from 200 to 2000 meters and above. Not only are strength, endurance and skill important but teamwork and harmony of purpose as well.
Dragon Boating is the mass participation paddle sport of today’s era, with an ancient past and more than 50 million racers throughout the world; it has an extremely bright future. Not yet an Olympic sport but heading that way fast, Dragon Boat Racing is a team sport, a very social sport, which leads our warriors to finding their new unit. It is both a community activity as well as a high performance sport for elite standard athletes. This team sport is open to all ranges of abilities and is full of tradition, culture and social interaction, a highly desirable trait in today's world. Dragon Boating is a sport and recreational activity that can be pursued by everyone and anyone of all abilities, at every level of competition. There in lies the greatness of Dragon Boating to the warrior community.