What is Dragon Boat?
Why we paddle?
What is this festival all about?
The Dragon Boat Upstate Festival, now in its 15th year, has raised close to $4 million in support of local families and hosts more than 1,000 visitors and team members during the annual event. Paddlers and volunteers enjoy a day at the lake while supporting cancer research and survivorship programs through the Prisma Health Cancer Institute.
It's easy to start a Dragon Boat team. All you have to do is be 16 years of age or older, pay the $25 registration fee per person (fee increases to $30 beginning on Thursday, July 28th, 2021) and commit to raising $3,500 as a team in order to participate on race day.
Sponsors, please note that your first 25 paddlers are exempt from paying this registration fee, you just need to contact Brenda@cbevents.org for your discount code.
How does the race work?
Twenty (20) paddlers and one (1) drummer all work together (along with a professional oarsman) to race on the waters of Lake Hartwell.
- Each team can participate in a racing how-to seminar and one hour of practice time during the week of the festival. See the Captain's Information page for the Practice Week Schedule.
- Each race is on a 220-meter straight course and will take about two to three minutes to complete the race.
- Racing divisions will be determined from the combined times of the morning and afternoon races.
- The teams will be ranked according to combined times and then grouped into three competitive divisions with an equal number of teams in each division.
- The three fastest teams in each division will have the opportunity to race each other for their division championship.
- In addition to crowning the festival champion, there will be recognition of winners in other various categories.
Dragon Boat Rules:
- Each team must race with a minimum of 16 paddlers
- Each team must race with a minimum of 8 female paddlers
- Minimum age for paddlers is 16 years by the day of the race.
- Each team must provide their own drummer
- Each team will be provided with a professional steer person
- It is recommended that each team have 25 participants: 20 paddlers, 1 drummer, and 4 alternates
- One person must be registered as the Team Captain and an additional Co-Captain can be assigned to your team
- Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, for the time being, the festival will be limited to solely participants on event day. Our team is keeping a close eye on all necessary information regarding this guideline and will update as needed.
- Teams first do exercise to warm up.
- The front paddlers are the main focal point of the boat; everyone paddles off their lead. That is where you get your major timing and speed. The drummers gets the cadence off the lead paddlers.
- The idea is to have eight fast choppy strokes to get your boat up on plane. After 20 strokes, you should have the speed so you can sit back into a mode to pull you through the middle of the race until the end. You should have enough energy to do a short sprint to the finish line.
- Teams should practice their "power counts" together. This is where you get your technique and timing down. It's done by keeping in sync with the lead paddlers and counting with them, 1 to 10, all in a strong cadence. You keep counting 1 to 10 faster and faster until you get to a speed that you want to carry through the center of the course, leaving some energy for your final sprint. The drummer takes the cadence off the lead paddlers to maintain a smooth stroke in the middle part of the race.
- The strokes you take with the paddle can be quick and shallow, or long and deeper. You will want to determine where to use each and for how long, depending on your overall strategy. The placement of your inside elbow can make a difference in the power of your stroke, as well as your hand placements.
- If the team spirit is high and your synchronization is like a well-oiled machine, you will be a winner!
- No equipment is necessary. Everything will be supplied. Just bring your team!
Have more questions?
Download the Paddler's Handbook!