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Dragon Boat Racing!

UPDATE#9: Get pumped! Tomorrow is race day!!

I will see you all at the race site at 7:00 a.m. at Thompson Boat House Center.

Our tents will be on the grassy part of the park, facing the water. Space is first come first serve, so I’m going to check out some prime real estate before 7 a.m. If you see our tents but don’t find me, it’s because I am at the captain’s meeting. So just settle down at the tents so I can go through logistics with you. Here are some answers to this week’s FAQ’s:

Q: What are the actual scheduled times that we will race?

A: I don’t know. Captains are assigned the race schedule on
race day. So, since I am an early riser and will be there before you, you can expect to be one of the first awesome athletes to get to play in the water.—All together: Yay!—


Q: How many times will we race?

A: Our team can expect to race up to three times on each day. The first race is a time trial that determines what division you are placed in. The second race (semi-finals) is the first time you get to paddle with the teams that are roughly at your skill level. The final race consists of the fastest teams from each division, where we race just the fastest in our division.


Q: What are the actual scheduled times that we race?

A: I don’t know now. The time for the first race is determined when captains check-in. The time for the second race is determined after EVERY team races their first heat. The time for the third race is determined after the second heat.


Q: We have 30 team mates but the boats only seat 20 people. What are we going to do?

A: I will have to rotate paddlers so everyone gets to race at least twice. If another team needs an extra paddler I may ask who would like to volunteer to help a team out. Boats are really hard to move when you are missing team mates. (Before doing this we need to make sure that they are not in our division and their next race does not interfere with you getting back in time to race with us)


Q: Augh! I don’t want to be there all day. What are we going to be doing?
A: Seriously, you need to get more Chinese friends, cause they can party. The DC Dragon Boat Festival is a fun festival full of music, dance shows, crafts, and other cultural activities and ceremonies celebrating Chinese culture. CAUTION: There will be a DJ and I will
be dancing.


Q: What is our race schedule for Sunday’s race?

A: Review all the questions and answers above and get pumped. You are a ROCKSTAR. We party hard cause we paddle hard.


UPDATE #8: The DC Dragon Boat Festival is this weekend! Are you ready? Please make sure to read this whole message for race day preparations.

Before Race Day:

1. I am still waiting to get the festival waiver forms and ID's from a few people. If you have not emailed me one, please email me a completed form and a copy of your ID to [masked]. I need these by Friday.

Waiver Form:

2. Also, make sure to fill in the Race Day Food List, with what you are going to bring to share for the           two day event.

Race Day Food List:

Make sure you have your red shirt (and black shorts if you have them), to coordinate for race day, and feel free to get creative with your rockstar wigs, make-up, and costumes.


Race Day: Everyone must report to the race site by 7 a.m.

Location: Thompsons Boat Center

2900 Virginia Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20007


The DC Dragon Boat Festival is being run from the Thompson’s Boat Center, along the Potomac River. There is ample parking available along Water Street or a variety of parking garages in Georgetown or the Kennedy Center garages. Be aware that parking is metered on Saturdays. Parking at Thompson’s Boat Center is restricted to permit holders only (these are the race organizers). However, teams can pull into the TBC parking lot to drop off team supplies before parking off-site.

The teams athlete village is located just south of the boat center in the grassy park along Rock Creek Parkway, across from the Watergate Complex. Tent set up is on a first come first serve basis, so you just have to look for your team mates in black and red.

Since the festival runs the full day, make sure to bring either blankets to lay on or lawn chairs to sit. I would highly recommend bringing sunscreen because we will be in the sun all day. This is going to be a great race. I hope you all invite your friends to come and watch. The festival is open and free to the public to watch.

See you on the water Rockstars!


UPDATE #7: We are just 12 days away from the best weekend of your life. Our last practice session was a great success. We were able to practice our start sequence and hone in on our race pace. I am convinced we are going to perform very well at the festival.

For those of you that were not able to make it to the last practice, we had a short review of what to expect on race day, including what team colors to wear and what food to bring. In the true rockstar spirit of individuality and creative awesomeness, the 20’s & 30’s Rockstars team is going to wear red tops and black shorts. You can wear any style shirt (whether you have a tank top or cotton t-shirt)but lets stand out in your best bright red. A couple of members even mentioned brining funky rockstar sunglasses and face painting. I’m thinking a little David Bowie and KISS would give us the extra edge on the water. Let’s just have fun with it!

Red vector t-shirt template Kiss Records available @ Live Wire

Our final practice session is this Saturday, at noon. My good friend, Troy Pham, is going to be coaching you during my absence. It’s going to be the toughest practice, so be ready and be on time. You will need to warm up before getting in the boat with this guy.

In preparation for race day, please complete the following:

1)Complete this waiver for the race, including a scanned copy of your photo ID. You can email it to me at [masked]. This is mandatory and I need to have it before race day. Waiver Form: ttp://

2)We will need water and fuel for two days of intense racing. Please review the food list and jot down what you will be sharing with the team. Also include whether you can bring a cooler and ice to keep our goodies cool.  Multiple people can sign up to bring water and other items) Food List:

3)Also, please reply to my email with a simple “Yes” or “No” if you are coming to practice this Saturday, May 11th, at noon. As always, you can email me directly if you have any questions. Thank you guys for joining. I am having a blast getting to know you all.


UPDATE #6: We are three weeks away from race day, and Saturday, April 27th is our second practice session. We will meet for practice at Gangplank Marina (approximate address: 600 Water St SW, DC, Waterfront Metro, Green line, is just a block away ) from 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Be aware that street parking along the dock is metered on Saturdays, but there is free parking in the surrounding neighborhoods. Give yourself plenty of time to park.

Please take the time to reply ONLY to me with a simple "Yes, I'm coming" or "No, I can't come" so I can get a head count of how many people we can expect on our boat this Saturday.

Review Updates #4 for tips on what to wear and bring to practice, and view the How To Paddle video in Update #5 on the basic stroke mechanics.

This practice will focus on teamwork, timing, and practicing the 500 meter races. We'll also be trying out anyone who is interested in being the drummer for the boat. We need a loud voice who feels comfortable enough to sit at the bow of the boat.

Also, please review the commands we learned at our last practice. We will need to practice and  memorize these commands by race day.

Dragon Boat Commands:

  • Paddles Up - Get to the ready position: paddle blades out of the water
  • Take It Away - Begin paddling at a normal clip (not too hard, not too gentle)
  • Let it Run - Stop paddling and allow the boat to glide
  • Hold Water - Insert your paddle vertically in the water (to "put on the brakes")
  • Hold Hard - Quickly, hold the boat WITH a little push forward -- generally used if the boat is about to hit something!
  • Back Paddle - Paddle backwards to put the boat "in reverse"
  • Paddles On The Water or Stabilize the Boat - Hold your paddle firmly and flat against the surface of the water. This is done when a coach or crew member needs to change positions on the water.
  • Heads in the Boat - this is a command used to get the attention of all paddlers and means the next instruction or command is important. Note that whenever you turn to look toward the back of the boat, look down the CENTER of the boat to maintain stability.
  • (front/back) Draw (left/right) - Instructions could be to a combination of people in the boat, to move the boat laterally by pulling toward the side of the boat or pushing water away from the side of the boat.

I'm looking forward to another great practice. Please feel free to email me if you have ANY questions.

Paddles Up!

UPDATE #5: We had a great turn out on Sunday for our first dragon boat session. The Rockstars learned basic commands and showed great improvement in timing through the one hour practice. The other teams practicing on our site were either coworkers or established teams that consistently compete in DC annually. I have to say I have never seen a group of complete strangers come together as cohesively as you all did--on and off the water. We are off to a fantastic start.









To recap, I wanted to share a How To Paddle video that illustrates the set-up, catch, and drive motion that produces the most power. A couple of things I want you to notice in this paddler is her posture and how she holds the paddle.

  1. Notice she keeps her outer arm (the one closest to the blade) very straight through the set-up and drive. The straight arm anchors the paddle in the forward angle, allowing you to catch further in front of you.
  2. Her exit is at mid-thigh, with just a slight pull with her top arm (hand holding the handle) and a full rotation.
  3. Every time she is at the set up position, to catch the water (same as “paddles-up” call), her back is completely turned to the water. She’s not just showing off her back muscles here. She is turning her back, shoulders, and arms to get the best reach forward.
  4. Lastly, her head is always looking up to the person in front of her. The only way her team will be successful is if they couple technique with perfect timing. So always keep your head up. Keeping your head up also opens up the airway in your throat, making I easier to breathe—also important.

The only thing I would change from this video is that we want to avoid bobbing our bodies up and down when we lean forward. We prefer you sit with your body leaned forward at all times. If she were able to stabilize her body by remaining in the forward motion when she makes the catch, she wouldn’t have to work harder to move her torso forward and back. Take a look at the video and practice this motion while sitting on a sturdy chair.

How To Paddle Video **Remember our next practice is on Saturday, April 27th, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm**

UPDATE #4: Hello Rockstars! If you paid your registration fee, Sunday, April 14th is our first dragon boat practice. Now that we are in training mode, I need to collect a head count of who I can expect to attend which dragon boat sessions, and a headcount of who is going to race on May 18th and 19th.

  1. On your first practice date, please bring a copy of a completed Training Waiver form. Don’t worry if you forget it at home, I will have more copies on site. You can read the Training Waiver form by clicking here.
  2. I also request that you complete the practice sign-up sheet so I can get a head count and collect your preferred contact information. Click here for the sign-up sheet.

*None of your personal information will be shared with the group*

UPDATE# 3: 20s & 30s Rockstars, I am thrilled to meet those of you who registered for the DC Dragon Boat Festival. We are going to have an epic time getting fit and having fun paddling. Please note we have three training dates set to get ready for our races on May 18th and 19th.

I've updated the event posting with detailed information for the 3 practice sessions from noon - 1:30pm on Sun. Apr. 14th, Sat. Apr. 27th, and Sat. May 11th. Take a look at it and also see the "Clothing" and "Equipment" sections of the event posting for what to expect from each practice and some tips on what to wear, and how to prepare for race day.

Please note the location for our practices is at the Gangplank Marina (700 Water St SW, DC, Waterfront Metro, Green line, is just a block away), not the Thompson Boat Center (which is race day only). See you there!

UPDATE #2: The early-bird price has ended and the ticket price is now $60. Looking forward to seeing you there!

UPDATE #1: There are 7 early bird spots left and the price will increase from $50 to $60 when the early bird spots are gone or before Sun. Apr. 7th (whichever comes first). To be fair to those who want to join in and are ready to make payment, I'll be removing those that haven't paid by Tues. Mar. 19th. So make payment to *truly* lock in your spot.


Spring is here, so let's get together and form a dragon boat team to compete in the 12th annual DC Dragon Boat Festival!

Attended by thousands, this festival is a two day event (Sat. May 18th AND Sun. May 19th) at the Thompson Boat House, in Georgetown, along the Potomac River complete with cultural exhibitions, lion dances, eye dotting ceremonies, craft demonstrations, and of course... dragon boat racing.  For those that don't know, dragon boat is a traditional Chinese water sport, where 20 people, sitting in pairs, paddle towards the finish line, while a drummer in the front of the boat drums to the race pace.

Based on the 2300 year old legend of Qu Yuan, Qu Yuan was a Chinese poet and statesman, who in the ultimate form of protest, committed suicide in the Mei Lo river. Local fisherman who witnessed the act quickly paddled their boats to the river and thrashed the water in order to scare the fish away from eating his body. This act of thrashing the water has now evolved into the sport of dragon boating which honors Qu Yuan's sacrifice. Check out the video below for an overview!

We are privileged to have the DC Dragon Boat Club train us for the festival.  We need 30 or more fun people to sign-up and form our team.  No experience necessary!  We'll start to practice on Sun. Apr. 14th and we will have three practice sessions in dragon boats, during the weekends, leading up to the race.  The practices are at noon (to 1:30pm) on weekends leading up to the event on the following dates: Sun. Apr. 14th, Sat. Apr. 27th, and Sat. May 11th, at the Gangplank Marina (600 Water St SW, DC, Waterfront Metro, Green line, is just a block away).

Practice Session 1 (Sun. Apr. 14th, 12 - 1:30pm)

  • I will have a waiver for each paddler to sign before getting on the boat. If you don’t sign it, you will not participate. First 30 minutes are to warm-up, discuss safety and technique, and set assigned seats for the boat.  One hour of training on the water, where the focus will be safety and technique basics.

Practice Session 2 (Sat. Apr. 27th 12 - 1:30pm)

  • First 30 minutes are to warm-up, discuss safety and technique, and set assigned seats for the boat.• One hour of training on the water, where the focus will be teamwork, timing, and 500 meterraces.

Practice Session 3 (Sat. May 11th, 12 - 1:30pm)

  • First 30 minutes are to warm-up, discuss safety and technique, and set assigned seats for the boat. One hour of training on the water, where the focus will be timing, race starts and race finishes, the 250 meter sprint, and 500 meter race.

We've got an early bird special for this event of $50. The first 20 paid sign-ups, or those who pay before Sun. Apr. 7th get the early bird price!  After that, the ticket price will go to $60. Secure your slot by rsvping yes *and* making payment!

Also please know that your RSVP is not guaranteed unless we receive payment. When you pay, your online receipt is confirmation that we have received your payment.

Tell your friends, and come join us as we prepare to kick some butt.  Paddles up!

- Cindy

P.S.  Please note this is a joint event with the "mainstream" 20s & 30s Group.



There is no need to go out and get a whole new wardrobe, but I recommend the following:

  • Dry-fit or water repellent clothing
  • Flip-flop sandals or water shoes
  • A windbreaker jacket, in case there is rain, or to help you stay dry
  • A cap to shield your head from the sun
  • Sunglasses, to help block the sun reflecting off the water


The DC Dragon Boat Club will be providing the life jackets and paddles. However, you are required to bring your own bottle of water. You will be working hard and it is imperative that you stay hydrated. Even on a cold day, you are responsible for bringing our own bottle of water. It is not mandatory to make it to each practice session, but you will feel better about your performance the more sessions you come to. The best piece of equipment you can bring is an open—a willingness to try something new and stick with it till the end.

Metro and Parking

The closest Metro is Foggy Bottom (Orange & Blue line). I recommend using wmata for travel planning.  Don't forget to account for Metro and traffic delays. If you are driving, you will need to find street parking or a garage.

Payment Instructions (Paypal account not required):

Please follow the instructions below for making payment.  Payment at the door will be permitted only should the event not sell out.  Most of our events do sell out, so we recommend you secure your spot online early. If you make payment for less than the current ticketed price without prior correspondence, your RSVP will be removed.

  1. Select "Yes" under "Will you attend?"
  2. Enter the number of guests coming and click "rsvp"
  3. Verify correct dollar amount for number of people you're paying for, click "Pay Now" button
  4. If you don't have a Paypal account, click "Pay with a Debit or Credit Card"
  5. If you have a Paypal account, simply log in, and pay as you normally would via Paypal

Event Check-in

We will have a master list of all those that have paid.  It’s not required, but you may print out your payment confirmation as a backup.  When you check-in, your RSVP will be listed under the name of the Paypal or credit card account used to make payment.  Typically, this is your LEGAL name as shown on your driver's license.  Sometimes, it may be under a company name if you set up your Paypal or credit card account that way.  If you are not sure what it is, please take a moment to log into your Paypal account (it will say "Welcome, [your account name]" at the top) or your credit card account to find out.  If you are RSVP'd under someone else's payment, please use that name for check-in.

Refund Policy & Ticket Resell

Since we paid in advance for this event, all sales are final unless the event is cancelled or rescheduled.  Similar to a concert ticket or a football game ticket, you are free to sell your ticket to someone else if you are unable to attend.  I suggest posting in the comment box for the event, that you have a ticket for sale. Work out payment between yourselves, and send us an email letting us know the full name and Meetup profile URL of the person taking your spot.Thanks for understanding. =)

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you guys for an awesome weekend. I wanted to make new friends and share my obsession with dragon boating. I couldn't be more proud to be a Rockstar! The first of the pics are up. More from us racing coming soon. Rest up. You earned it!

    1 · May 19, 2013

  • G S.

    Awesome photos

    May 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Look for DC Dragon Boat Club's big red tent.

    1 · May 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The best Meetup event is this weekend and you are the stars. Get your: Waiver Form:

    Race Day Food List:

    Make sure you have your red shirt (and black shorts if you have them), to coordinate for race day, and feel free to get creative with your rockstar wigs, make-up, and costumes. You might go "gaga" over my wig ;)

    Report to the race site by 7 a.m. Directons are above on UPDATE #8

    May 15, 2013

  • G S.

    I don't have any experience of dragon boat racing & will I be able to join you guys now ?

    May 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      It's too late to join for the race. But check out The DC Dragon Boat Club at to try the sport.

      May 13, 2013

    • G S.

      Thanks ! Sorry I missed it i was exited about it but sure for next time !

      May 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Practice is still on for today at noon. Come on out to show off the very best you've been hiding :)

    May 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Nice! Based on your survey responses and your email responses to me, we have 16 Rockstars coming to practice tomorrow. Anyone interested in trying out the drummer's seat?

    April 26, 2013

  • Terry

    Are there still spots left for this event? Also are there practices?

    1 · March 27, 2013

    • J.T.

      Yes! See the number of spots left listed under the number attending. Right now, it shows 5 left. And yes, there are practices. Please see the practice dates listed in the event posting. I hope to see you there!

      March 27, 2013

  • phil

    A couple of my friends & I are interested in participating. It's going to be our first time. Are you all really competitive? Are there different levels?

    March 16, 2013

    • Richard

      You will love it!

      1 · March 26, 2013

    • phil

      Thanx guys! I'm really looking forward to it!

      March 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey, is this team different from the one on the main 20s and 30s group event? And there's no option that allows us to pay now. Do we just pay on the day of the event/practice?


    March 14, 2013

    • J.T.

      Hey Nathan, thanks for catching the payment error, you'll need to pre-pay. I've corrected, so you should be able to make payment now. Also, this is a joint event, so it's the same. I hope to see you there!

      March 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks J.T.

      March 14, 2013

  • Agnes Del R.

    So the actual race is at 7am on both Saturday and Sunday? How long does it normally last?

    Also, what if you can only do Sunday?


    March 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Agnes, the event lasts all day--ending at 5 p.m. on both days. Each team is expected to race in three heats. Both days are full of festivities, art shows, dance shows, and ceremonies. I would invite you to still register, even if you can only make it to one day. Just specify what day you will be able to compete. We'll have a blast! :)

      March 13, 2013

30 went

  • J.T. +22
    20s & 30s Asian Head Organizer! - 1090 Going Out Points!, Assistant Organizer,
    Event Host
  • phil +1
    20s & 30s Asian Superstar 1! - 122 Going Out Points!
  • E seul K.
    20s & 30s Asian Rockstar 1! - 61 Going Out Points!
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member

Your organizer's refund policy for Dragon Boat Racing!

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled

Additional notes: Since we paid in advance for this event, all sales are final unless the event is cancelled or rescheduled. Similar to a concert ticket, you are free to sell your ticket to someone else if you cannot attend. Send us an email with who will take your spot.

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

Regardless of the refund policy set by the organizer, Meetup may issue refunds on an organizer's behalf if we determine that Meetup's Payment Policies have been violated.

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