BRITISH DRAGON BOAT RACE ASSOCIATION
The British Dragon Boat Racing Association are delighted and excited to support the UK Dragon Boat Festival in Salford and our sporting crews are looking forward to competing and taking part.
The UK Chinese Dragon Boat Festival 2023 will be a great opportunity for more people to enjoy this amazing sport that we love and for us to help increase the exposure of our great sport of Dragon Boat Racing as well as allowing us to showcase the best club crews from around the country.
Dragon Boat Racing is one of the most exciting, competitive team sports you can take part in on water. It is a totally inclusive team sport and features mixed gender, adaptive and para paddlers, Breast Cancer Survivors and Open crews all competing against one another. As a sport, Dragon Boat Racing has featured mixed-gender crews long before most other sports had even thought about it, and we also have para crews fully integrated in our various championships.
The British Dragon Boat Racing Association has a Vision and Purpose to enable ‘competitive Dragon Boat Racing for everyone in the UK.’
WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN ON SATURDAY?
Our Sporting Clubs are the foundation of the British Dragon Boat Racing Association. There are many clubs all-round the country who train and attend racing league events. Many of our paddlers also represent Great Britain and European and International competitions around the world. Dragon boats clubs tend to be very social, the very nature of Dragon Boat racing means that you typically need at least 16 people to make a racing crew happen, it is not a sport you can do on your own.
The BDA National League is an annual series of dragon boat racing events organised by BDA registered clubs on behalf of the BDA over the summer season at venues throughout the UK.
Each event has a regatta format, with qualifying rounds, minor and major finals to determine overall placings at the event. Races are typically held over distances of 200m, 500m and 2000m.
We are delighted that the Salford Dragon Boat Festival weekend is on our calendar for one of our 2023 National League events and we will be welcoming clubs from around the country to compete and take part and compete for positions in the league.
At the end of the season our league winners will be presented with their trophies at our National Final Competitions.
We would encourage anyone that hasn’t seen a dragon boat race in person before to come down and see us on the Sunday, to see multiple boats with 20 paddlers, helm & drummer racing close together, neck and neck, truly is a sight to behold.
HOW TO MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER
Paddling a dragon boat requires teamwork, coordination, and technique. For any amateur crew taking part on the Saturday and entering the race day you will have a training session with a qualified British Dragon Boat Racing official. This will help you to understand the basics of how to use your paddle effectively and understand the rhythm and timing needed to ensure that the boat goes faster! With practice and teamwork, you can master the art of paddling a dragon boat and enjoy the thrill of racing on the water.
WANT TO JOIN A CLUB?
Many of our members started paddling when taking part in a charity event or fun day just like you are. They loved the day and joined a local club to not only take part as a sport but also enjoy the social and fun aspect of Dragon Boat Racing.
Our clubs are located all over the UK and if you want to come along and take part then check out our website for your nearest club – www.dragonboat.org.uk/clubs/
Alternatively, we are also looking to develop new clubs and encourage more people to take part in Dragon Boat Racing. If your team is interested in continuing together and you wish to have the support of the National Governing Body for Dragon Boat racing and set up your own team that can take part in racing events throughout the country contact us and we can discuss how we can help you with training, coaching and equipment. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a discussion on how you can be part of the BDA.
BDA CLUB BIOS
The categories are:
Open – max 20 paddlers - no restriction on crew make up men/women (500m distance)
Mixed – max 20 paddlers - max 10 men, unlimited women (500m distance)
Women – max 14 paddlers all women (200m distance)
Men – max 14 paddlers all men (200m distance)
Soaring Dragons - Mixed/Men/Women
Formed in 2016, Soaring Dragons call Loughborough Boat Club home and boasts being one of the largest BDA affiliated clubs in the country. A grassroots club with members ranging from complete beginners through to those paddling for the Great Britain squad, it is an all-inclusive club that holds good success in the UK League. Soaring Dragons soared in 2022 and lifted the Mixed and Ladies BDA league trophies and look to keep hold of their champion status into 2023.
Soaring Dragons will be one of the clubs representing Great Britain at the European Club Crew Championships being held in Ravenna, Italy, later this year. Members of the club have historically paddled internationally heading to Ireland, Spain, USA, Cyprus, Germany and Thailand.
You can see Soaring in Red & Black on the water!
Secklow Hundred Dragon Boat Club - All Categories
Based in Milton Keynes, Secklow is one of the oldest dragon boat clubs in the UK. We’ve been competing for over 30 years, but our name dates back a little further… to Saxon and Norman times, in fact. (Free local history lesson: A “Hundred” represented a group of landowners, and formed the basis of local social and political organisation in the area.)
Although we have less to do with politics today, our club is very much about bringing people together. “Family” is the first word Secklow members use when describing the club, and for many of us, Secklow has fast become a second home – one that is full of support, love, and laughter. Thus, we’ve redefined ourselves:
“Secklow Hundred: A team. A club. A family. Together we are invincible.”
Secklow has developed over recent years to finally winning the league for the first time in the club’s history in 2019. We are current Open and Men’s champions and last year made our first foray into the Club Crew World Championships in Sarasota, Florida. We had an amazing experience and intend to take another step forwards at the next CCWC in Ravenna in 2024. We have l also recently returned from taking two boatloads of Secklow members to participate in the Vogalonga in Venice. It was another amazing experience, surrounded by 2,000 other paddle/oar powered boats! Where will we end up paddling next? Salford Quays sounds like a good place to start…
Pershore Phoenix - Mixed/Men/Women
Formed in 2007 from the remaining members of 2 defunct clubs, Pershore Phoenix DBC celebrates its 16th year this year. We are based just outside the small Worcester town of Pershore, at Arden Sailing Club, and we believe we are lucky enough to call one of the most beautiful venues in the country our home. With the Malvern hills and cotswolds as the back drop to our training sessions.
We have around 45 active members including, 2 GB squad memebers for 2023 to join our many GB alumni, prem Laura Cheney and senior A Gwion Humphreys.
We have recently returned from a very successful trip to Barcelona, in which we brought home a medal in every category we entered. A bronze for the ladies, small boat open, and the mixed boats. And a silver in the Open standard boat and a silver for the seniors!
Yorkshire Sharks - Open/Men
In 2019 the team was established by John Galt, Daniel Patchett and Dan Windsor. As with every other club it started to grow in small number and then in 2020 Covid hit. In 2021 Training began again most of the original members came back and we started as a club to grow all be it slowly at first. Our first competition as Yorkshire Sharks was in Mavers in August 2021. For many of the team this was the first time they had raced and the all genuinely loved and cementing there love of dragon boating.
Since 2021 we have been involved in so many events. We continue to attend BDA races where we had the numbers and quite often, we would join with other teams like Powerhouse that made sure our paddlers could keep getting racing experience. A number of the team went to Italy in 2022 to take part in the 46th Vogalonga, which is 33km paddling around Venice, which was a massive achievement as many paddlers had never done that amount of long-distance paddling. In 2022 we also had 2 members of the team that joined team GB. Sophie in the premier Team and Andy in the over 40’s. We also had our most successful event at Nationals in 2022 we placed in many of the races and came first in the men’s category which was a massive level of growth for us. 2023 saw us do a bootcamp in Alkmaar as well as ones at Manvers, Powerhouse and Bradford Barracudas. The team have also taken part in the Vogalonga for the 2nd year. In 2023 we now have 5 members of the Yorkshire Sharks that are part of Team GB and will go to represent us in Thailand in August this Year.
The growth of our club continues to rise and with everyone who comes that are always impressed by the friendliness of the team and the fact that everyone pitches in. As a club we have opted to keep our membership low so that we can encourage people to come and join us as well as currently offering 3 free sessions so people can get a taste. Our club is open to all membership from Junior to 80-Year-old and we look forward to see what the future will bring for us.
Thames Dragons - Open/Men
Thames Dragons are based in East London, on the Royal Albert Dock. We were established in 1993 - which makes this year our 30th Anniversary! We are a very diverse crew with people from all ages, ethnicities, sexualities and abilities. We have people who love to come for the social element of the sport, as well as those who represent Great Britain at international level.
Our Club competes in the BDA National Competitions as well as in local races around London, and also regularly ventures abroad to compete. For example last week we paddled 22Km in Ireland for the Cork Ocean to City Race. In November we will be competing in the Gay Games in Hong Kong - the first time Dragon Boat racing has featured in the competition (as well as the first time it has been held in Asia).
Preston Dragons - All Categories
Established in the Spring of 2016, Preston Dragons Racing Club (https://prestondragons.org/) is a community not-for-profit club based at Preston Marina. The first 10 enthusiastic members aimed to provide an affordable, accessible and fun activity for anyone who wants to get involved. The club has grown each year and now boasts a total member count in excess of 60, a small fleet of Dragon Boats and training equipment, and a bursting trophy cabinet! The Club is very proud that inclusivity and access to all is fundamental as to how it operates.
In 2019 they won the BDA Standard League as well as competing at an international event in Barcelona. Nearly 40 members have just returned from participating in the Venice Vogalonga, a 24 mile paddle around the lagoons and canals of Venice (https://fb.watch/l5Tjv_u-iY/) and are planning to compete in Cyprus in 2024. In 2022 one of the members represented Great Britain at the European Championships and they hope to have more GB paddlers in future.
The club is keen to introduce paddling to young people and provides sessions for Scouts, Guides and the local Sea Scouts with the hope that a Youth team can be formed.
Powerhouse - Mixed/Women
Powerhouse was formed in 1998 with the first racing season being in 1999.
Based in the North East on the River Tees, the club was born from the local team, Hartlepool Powermen, wanting to form a ladies team which eventually became a mixed team for racing.
Over the years Powerhouse have had many paddlers take part in international racing in either World Cups, European or World Championships.
Allyson, Colin, Lauren, Julie, Alison, Becci, Brian, Nicole, Corey, Claire, Peter, Michelle and Jo have all participated at an international level either drumming, paddling, coaching or helming in different race categories. In addition, Allyson has coached for the Senior A’s and juniors over the years.
Our first race was at Salford Quays in Manchester so it is fantastic that we are returning to our first racing venue in our 25th anniversary year.
Worcester Dragon Boat Racing Club is a competitive sports club with a strong social and community ethos… so the old saying of ‘work hard, play hard’ applies!
Worcester is one of the long-established centres for dragon boat racing in the UK with over 30 years of experience. Following a strong coaching scheme, the club race in the BDA National League and have had many paddlers representing the sport on GB levels. Currently the club has several members who are actively participating in various international competitions and dragon boat festivals.
As a club we love welcoming new people to come along and look at a sport we all enjoy. We believe that dragon boating is a fantastic way of getting fit, meeting new people (and making new friends), learning some great skills, and challenging ourselves.
We paddle the “Worcester Way”, and we have set our next challenge to compete at the Salford BDA Race event on 18th June. See you on the water…
Team Manvers Dragons is one of the new clubs on the circuit. Formed mid-2019, they have just completed a successful first full season in 2022 due to Covid-19. They are a club that operates on a water sports lake and has members of all ages 18-62 and walks of life. Team Manvers Dragons pride themselves on being a fun, welcoming team and promotes inclusivity. This shows as they have active members with registered disabilities. Their motto is #strongertogether
The Bradford Barracudas was established in Bradford in 2015 and officially began operating in 2017, taking a further significant step a year later, becoming a recognised club within the British Dragon Boat Association. The club has a history of active involvement in charitable endeavours. Perhaps, most notably, two members paddled an impressive journey from Liverpool to Leeds to raise funds for an important charity- Merseyside Blood Bikes; an essential service run entirely on volunteers. Additionally, the Barracudas have developed young athletes who have represented Great Britain at an international level, with three under-18 members representing GB, in Thailand- reflecting the club's commitment to nurturing promising talent. We are a community club that genuinely welcomes and recruits adults of all ages, abilities and backgrounds; but, builds and trains our teams to a highly competitive level.
Amathus Canoe and Dragon Boat Club started in 1988 and is now one of the most successful and experienced Dragon boat clubs in the UK.
We are now based at the Liverpool watersports Centre where we run regular training sessions five times a week throughout the year, focusing mainly on preparation for the various National League races that we attend during the year in the UK and international races abroad.
As well as running these sessions we organize events for local Charities, corporate groups, schools, police cadets etc. we have a very busy timetable of activities for our members.
We have a large and diverse membership and are currently in a recruitment and development phase, working with different cultural communities such as the Liverpool Chinese Students and Scholars association, the Liverpool Confucius Institute, the Indian Jawaharlal community as well as members from the Persian community.
Over the years we have achieved a very impressive record of successes, having won the National Championships and National league many times.
In 1995 Amathus represented Great Britain in the first International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Fujian in China. We gained an enormous amount of knowledge and experience from this venture and have been building on it ever since.
In 2004 we started the first Breast Cancer Survivors team called the Pool of Life, BCS teams are now well established across the country and POL are now an integral part of our activities.
We have a strong connection with the Great Britain National teams, and many of our past and current members represent GB at various international competitions. Currently both the GB Premier squad and Seniors A squad coaches are members of Amathus, these squads are currently preparing to compete in the next IDBF World Championships in Thailand later this year. As BDA Director of Coaching, coach development plays a very important part in all our club activities.