About The EDBRC

Formed in 1999, the Edmonton Dragon Boat Racing Club (EDBRC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering the sport of Dragon Boat Racing in Edmonton and surrounding areas.  Providing access to the sport through our community clubhouse, the EDBRC offers everything from introduction to the sport all the way to dedicated training and coaching for competitive club teams competing at National and International sanctioned events representing the best in the world.

With a deep tradition of working with the local community to promote Dragon Boating as an accessible activity, the EDBRC realized a long-standing goal of having a permanent clubhouse with the opening of the Dawson Park site in 2010.  As one of the few dedicated year-round Dragon Boat facilities in Western Canada, the EDBRC offers a full complement of International Dragon Boat Federation spec racing hulls, paddling equipment, and a fully equipped gym with paddling specific ergometers for the use of racing teams in the winter months.

The EDBRC realizes its commitment to the local community by providing free access and racing to youth under the age of 18, as well as working with other local organizations to provide safe and guided access to the River Valley as well as a venue for team building events and school programs.

What is Dragon Boat Racing?

As 22 people move in unison, Dragon Boat Racing is a great team building activity, which can also lead to personal gains in strength and flexibility.  Most importantly, it’s a great opportunity to have fun with both people you know and new people you meet.

Dragon boat racing originates from China where legend has it that a poet named Yuan was expelled from his office by a corrupt administration.  Protesting the corruption, Yuan drowned himself in the Mi Lo River, near present day Yue Yang.  Local fishers, seeing his plight, rushed out in boats to try and save him, but were unsuccessful.  In order to keep evil spirits away from his body, they beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles.  They also threw rice in the water as a food offering to Yuan and to distract the fish away from his body.  Late one night, the spirit of Yuan appeared before his friends and told them that he died because of a river dragon.

calgary-festival-aug-2015-river-rats-1Since that day, the act of racing to find Yuan’s body has been commemorated in an annual festival, which has evolved into present-day dragon boat racing.  Today, this tradition has continued around the world as the fastest growing water sport in over 60 countries with over 75 million participants.  When the exhilaration of racing is combined with building personal relationships, it is easy to see why a wide range of people are drawn together to participate in this easy-to-learn, fun sport.  Sponsors benefit from access to a wide socio-economic demographic of participants due to the sport’s ease of access and wide appeal.

A crew of twenty, seated in two parallel columns of ten people each, paddle to the beat of a drummer stationed at the bow of the dragon boat.  A steersperson, standing at the stern, navigates the racecourse with the help of a single long oar.  A dragon boat is a long, narrow boat designed to resemble a dragon with a dragonhead and tail affixed to the bow and stern, respectively.  The boat’s sides are brightly painted with dragon scales making it visually attractive for single or multiple sponsors.  A dragon boat is large, drawing much attention measuring about 12.5 meters (41 feet) long and about 1.2 meters (4 feet) across at its widest point.  Empty, the standard type of dragon boat weighs 260kg (570 pounds).  During a race, however, the paddlers must propel a boat and crew weighting near 2,300 kg (5,000 pounds).  As the drummer is the heart of the dragon, the paddlers are the muscles.

A typical dragon boat race is 200-500 meters, during which the paddle stroke rate can range between 60 and 100 strokes per minute.  A 500-meter race usually lasts between 2 – 3 minutes.  Shorter sprint races or longer distances are also common and vary from festival to festival.  Crews of 20 paddlers are usually of mixed gender with a minimum of eight women and eight men.  Distances and crew compositions will be adjusted to maximize paddler participation and enjoyment while offering many options for marketing of sponsors during races.  For example, a team of 20 or more people paddling together and having fun provides a powerful branding opportunity through jerseys and other apparel.

calgary-festival-aug-2015-river-rats-4From a spectator’s perspective, dragon boat races are colorful, visually spectacular and exciting.  Three to six dragon boats come streaking down the racecourse with drums beating, paddles splashing and fans cheering for their favorite teams.  Each race brings its own excitement as both participants and spectators come together to celebrate the sport and the culture, as well as each other’s company.  The sheer number of participants on the water at once makes nail-biting finishes all the more fun to watch!

Community participation and close proximity between racing and non-racing locations makes marketing and promotion of potential sponsors ideal in and around the festival site.  Permanent structures on the site along with temporary tents provide excellent canvasses for promotional signs and banners.  Team tents add ambience while contributing to the cultural roots of a festival.

Where We’ve Raced

The Edmonton Dragon Boat Racing Club has had teams race all throughout the world! Below is a detailed map of all the places we’ve raced.