Ancient sport of Dragon Boat Racing making waves across the country

Ancient sport of Dragon Boat Racing making waves across the country

Its origins can be traced back to over 2500 years ago in ancient China, but the art of Dragon Boat Racing has blown up in popularity in Australia over the last decade.

The use of Dragon Boats for racing is said to have originated in the region of Southern-Central China as a mix of ancient ceremonial, ritualistic and religious traditions, at approximately the same time as the games in ancient Greece were being established in Olympia.

Today, there are more than 60 Dragon Boat Racing clubs in New South Wales alone, with members of the clubs ranging from young primary school-aged children, to older people in their sixties and seventies.

NSW governing body Dragon Boats NSW Inc. currently manages many of the events across the state and has been working over the years to gain greater awareness of the sport across all demographics.

Dragon Boats NSW Inc. Operations Manager Mr Ramsay Cobb said the organisation also pays tribute to its cultural heritage by ensuring certain traditions are followed.

“At the start of every season, or whenever we get a new boat, we work with either Taoist or Buddhist monks to do an eye-dotting ceremony on the dragons as a blessing of the boats, and we do that for our major events as well, such as Chinese New Year,” Mr Cobb said. 

“We emphasise that although it is a sport with goals, the cultural significance and history is also very important to us.”

The sporting body also nominated one of the coaches from an affiliate club Chanelle Hosken for the Young Coach of the Year award at the 2018 NSW Sports Awards, for her astounding contribution to the sport over recent years.

“We just wanted to acknowledge someone who has done a terrific job coaching not only kids but also adults, especially being so young,” Mr Cobb said.

“Chanelle only started coaching in 2017, which was her final year of high school, and from there she has become a sweep, or a steerer of the boat, which also required her to go through an arduous accreditation process.”

For more information about NSW Dragon Boat racing clubs, click HERE.

Anisha Mistry

As the Editor of CulturalPulse, Anisha is passionate about listening to, writing and sharing stories of Australia's multicultural achievement. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: editor@culturalpulse.com.au