Around two thousand years ago in China there lived a man named Qua Yuan, a patriotic poet. Qua was one of the king’s advisors however his ideas were believed to be radical. He was often criticised by his fellow jealous advisors and the king was finally convinced by these jealous men to exile Qua out of the kingdom.
After many years Qua Yuan learned about a planned invasion of his kingdom and his love for his country and his distress in knowing that it would be destroyed led him to commit suicide. Once his followers heard that he planned to drown himself in the local river, they raced down to it in an attempt to save him. His followers formed groups and jumped into boats. Banging loudly on drums and splashing their paddles around in order to deter the fish from eating his corpse, they searched up and down the river but never found him.
Thus, a sport emerged where a boat full of men raced to the sounds of drums in order to keep the beat. Every year on the date of his death, a race is held in this same river to commemorate Qua Yuan’s death.
Dragon boating is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. It’s easy to participate in, requiring minimal resources and skills. It is truly a team sport and includes teams at all levels of competition. On the water, dragon boating is a widely colourful and loud sport.