Dragon Boats

History and present time

History of dragonboating started two thousands years ago in the ancient China. Legends says that there was a man living in one town. This man was called Qu-Chuan [tchu-yuen] and he was really loved by the people. He was also involved in politics and became a counselor of his town. He disagreed with political practice of other counselors, suffered by the thing they did to him and his beloved people. And as an act of resistance he committed a suicide by jumping off a cliff in to the river. When the people get this news, they sailed to the river on their long fishing boats and tried to find him. Even if they did not succeed they started to commemorate this famous man by sailing to the sea every year and by drumming they do invoke the ghost of the innocent man.

Dragonboating spread to the whole world from China in the 70th years of the last century. Even now a growing favor of this sport can be noticed in many countries from Canada to central Europe. Although there are several types of dragon boats around the world for the racing purposes a standardized and certified type exists. It as a so called "Hong-Kong style" dragonboat that is on the picture bellow. Races are held on tracks of different lengths from sprints (200m, 250m), through middle tracks (500m, 1000m) up to long tracks (2000m) a dragon marathons also several kilometers long.

We started to write the dragon boats history in Czech republic in the year 1997 by taking in the first two dragon boats from the German BuK company. To the first bought boat Czech republic get the second one to propagate the tourism and Asian culture from the Singaporean tourist office. Shortly after it in the year 1998 first regular training are held on the Vltava river. Prague dragon boat club started to organize a annual festival that was visited by many teams from Czech republic but also from other countries. Festival was held in the years 1998~2003 in between the Manes and Charles bridge with a beautiful sight of Hradcany and Prague Castle.

Czech dragon boat association started to work in the year 2004 and the dragonboating in Czech republic groves over the amateur level. From the elite racers from the speed canoeing the representation teams is created and habits itself in the front places of the international competitions.Many new teams grow in watersports clubs and they fence of in the Czech Cup - the national trophy.

Prague dragon boat team is still a platform for company teams and amateur dragons. We are also still open to new people, curious about the dragon boating. That's why we held an open training to which everybody can come and try the dragonboat.
One of the clubs goals is to expand the dragonboating in Czech republic not only as a sport but also as a wonderful cultural tradition with a great historical value. In these terms the annual festival is held - The Prague Dragon Autumn. During this festival you can see the dramatic fight of the teams on boats but also many exhibitions. Especially the show of traditiona Asian martial arts and dancing exhibitions of exotic and Asian dances. The top of them is the dance that is the closest to the dragon boat tradition - the Dragon Dance.

Technical parameters

Parameters of dragon boats certified by the IDBF and EDBF:
length: 12.49 m (without head and tail)
width: 1.16 m
weight: 250 kg + 5% (including the crew approx. 2000 kg)
material: kevlar-karbon in combination with the glass wire or glass-wire laminate. Mahagon or teak wood is used for borts, benches and the drummers chair is used.
number of benches: 10 (older types also with 13 or different count)
drum: wooden with the skin of a water buffalo
steer: wooden or carbon/kevlar, free, with the length of about 4m.
paddles: special dragon boat style, different materials.
crew: 18 paddlers (minimum 16, maximum 20) + drummer and steersman.

Crew sits by two people side to side per bench in the direction of the drive. The drummer sits opposite to the drive at the front facing the crew. He sets the rhythm by drumming. The steersman stands at the back of the boat and sets the direction of the boat. For some competitions a special small boat for only 10 paddlers is used - it is the so called Babyboat. There is no such boat in Czech republic.
Plastex: Plastex Composite, Poland (kevlar-karbon base) - there are four of these boats in Czech republic at Prague Dragon Boat Club - we can recommend
BuK: BuK GmbH, Germany - There are several these boats in Czech rep. These were also the very first two dragon boats brought to Czech republic in autumn 1997.