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The History.....

Dragon boating is an ancient Chinese sport which dates back over 2000 years to a time of rivalry, intrigue and corruption. The dragon boat itself is deeply imbedded in China’s dragon culture, with each boat having an ornately carved dragon’s head at the bow and a tail in the stern. The boat is painted with scales and the paddles symbolically represent the dragon’s claws.


Dragon Boating Today......

Modern day dragon boating has evolved as a high performance sport, capturing the imagination of the world by storm. With over 50 million paddlers participating annually in competitions worldwide, it is the fastest growing water sport in the world.
Dragon boating is not only competitive; it is sociable, fun, colourful and dynamic. As a sport it is all inclusive and can be used to help tackle obesity and help people stay fit and healthy. It is also very attractive to the corporate and community market as a great team building activity.


Governing Bodies.......

Dragon boating was brought to Ireland in the early 1990’s when boats were brought from the UK to hold events. In 2005 the IDBA was formed, though only really in name, until the Association was formally launched in Dublin in October 2010. The IDBA is a member of both the European Dragon Boat Federation (EDBF) and the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) and as such is recognised as the only Governing Body.

For more information on the IDBA see their website


Dragon Boating and Breast Cancer.......

In 1996, Dr. Don McKenzie, working in the University of Columbia launched “Abreast-In-A-Boat” He wanted to research the effects of repetitive upper body exercise in women treated for breast cancer. At the time it was thought that this kind of exercise might worsen lymphoedema (a swelling of the arm that may affect some women after surgery). His study involved 25 women and none of the women monitored lymphoedema became worse and no new cases of lymphoedema were reported.

The use of Dragon boating as a means to help women with breast cancer has now grown to 150 teams worldwide; a number of which are located in Ireland. 

Lymphoedema is a swelling caused by damage to the lymph system and can occur for a number of reasons. In those treated for breast cancer it may develop in the arm or around the area of surgery or radiation. We advise members who are breast cancer survivors and have lymphodema wear a compression sleeve when paddling.

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