What I Learned from Dragon Boating

This weekend was the Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival. It was also the first festival that included community paddling teams, so Dan’s coworker organized a team, filled out with some regular Ithaca dragon boaters.


And wouldn’t you know it? We won first out of the eight community teams!

If you’ve never seen a dragon boat race, check it out (race starts at 0:29):

What I Learned from Dragon Boating:

1. Don’t be afraid to try something new… who knows, you may end up winning. We thought we would be way behind the other community teams…surprise!

2. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork. If you don’t watch the stroke leader and stay on time, paddling will feel much harder. But get everyone in sync and your boat will speed through the water.

3. A little encouragement goes a long way. During our final race, we were neck-and-neck with another boat. As we did our final “power up,” the stroke leaders started yelling encouragement, and we all powered through the finish line 0.9 seconds before the other boat.

4. Cross-training is awesome. Sure, I cycle. But I discovered some muscles in my shoulders, back and core that I had no idea existed.

So that’s how I spent my Saturday: racing dragon boats. How about you?


  1. says

    Next winter I am going to sign up for dragon boating. It’s a huge participation sport here in Hong Kong and there are lots of semi serious competitive teams and also lots of more relaxed teams. My husband also wants to get involved, which will be nice since we are very different in terms of body size and ability. Well done to you and your team!

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      Thank you! I bet there are a TON of dragon boat teams and races near you, since the sport originated in China!