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Dragon Boats Breathe Fire on the Water

Part competition, part parade, the dragon boats at this year’s Oklahoma Regatta Festival will be racing for championship glory.

For the first time ever, Dragon Boat USA member clubs will be racing for their national championship during the OGE NightSprints beginning at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 on the Oklahoma River.

Dragon boating is the world’s fastest-growing water sport. The boats are decorated in ornamental fashion, providing speed and beauty to a competition that has become popular amongst spectators at regattas all around the world.

“” (quote from a race director – Aasim Saleh?).

As their looks may suggest, dragon boating began centuries ago in China as a form of competition amongst villages. According to the ??, the sport has roots in ancient folk rituals and has been a form of competition since the time of the Olympic games in ancient Greece.

The boats resemble wooden canoes that include a decorative dragon head on the bow. A drummer at the front of the boat sets the rhythm for the paddlers, which usually number approximately 20 people.

Dragon boat racing at the Oklahoma Regatta Festival will include 200 and 500 meter distances.

The technology behind dragon boat racing has grown along with its popularity. As part of the regatta festival, Dragon Boat USA will have tryouts for its national team. The trials will include an in-depth analysis of each participating athlete using a computerized paddle, which interprets the athlete’s strength and endurance to their body weight to assess their optimum position in the team lineup.

“” (Quote about what the paddle does)

Tryouts for the national team are $20 per person and will take place at the Chesapeake Boathouse from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 2.

Dragon Boat USA will also host a clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Chesapeake Boathouse. Cost is $100 per person. Participants for each event must be at least 15 years old and previous dragon boat experience is required.

For more information or to register for events, visit the website