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What is Dragon Boating?
Dragon boat racing began over 2,000 years ago as a religious and folk ritual in China and has since evolved into an international sport. A dragon boat is essentially a long canoe that holds 20 paddlers in 10 seats and a steerer at the back of the boat. In races, a drummer sits at the front of the boat to keep the beat of the paddle stroke. The Ithaca Dragon Boat Club fields a team, the Ithaca Gorges Dragons, that competes in races over the summer, but we also welcome recreational members and anyone interested in dragon boating.

Who is the sponsoring organization?
The Ithaca Asian American Association is a volunteer based civic organization. The mission is to promote, educate and celebrate the culture and heritage of Asians and Asian Americans in Tompkins County. The Association introduced and sponsors the Ithaca Dragon Boat Club and its annual Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival. (

Do I need to know how to swim?
Yes. It is essential that you feel comfortable in the water and, although you don’t need to be a good swimmer, you should have some basic swim skills.

Do I need to have paddling experience?
No! Come and we will introduce you to the basic paddling stroke. Many of our members utilize dragon boating as an introduction to other paddling sports like Stand up Paddleboard, outrigger canoe and others.

What’s the age limit?
The Ithaca Dragon Boat Club welcomes anyone that is interested in learning about the sport and getting onto the water with a group of diverse members from different age groups, professions, racial and ethnic backgrounds. The youngest person that can participate is 12 years old.

Where can I get more information about IDBC and sign up to attend a practice
Please email or contact us through our Facebook Page.

When are practices?
Our practices are scheduled three days a week: Mondays & Wednesdays (6-7:30 pm) and Saturdays (9-10:30 am). We meet at the boat docks across from the playground and located behind the Cass Park Rink and Pool. We suggest that you arrive at least 20 minutes early. You’ll need time to pick up your gear from the shed, stretch and climb into the boat.

What should I wear?
If the weather is chilly, dressing in layers is the best choice. Your hands and lower arms will get wet. Bring Paddling or biking gloves if you have them. Wear articles of clothing that you don't mind getting wet. Choose synthetics over cotton. Wear something you would typically work out in. We wear sneakers if the temperatures are still cool. Flip flops, sandals and water shoes are good when the weather heats up.

Do I need to buy a paddle? What about a life vest?
No to both. Paddles and PFDs are available in our club shed. Many people who have been paddling for a while choose to buy their own equipment but this is not required.

What about the races?
The Ithaca Dragon Boat Club registers teams to compete in several races throughout the summer. You MUST be a member of the Club in order to be eligible to race. Members are not required to participate in races. They are voluntary and involve additional fees.

2021 COVID-19 Procedures
IDBC officials will stay current with any updates to NYS requirements and will adjust our guidance here as needed to reflect changes from the CDC and NYS as things evolve.

Informal barbecues/potlucks, etc.
Our team gets together for informal social events throughout the year. We have barbecues, potlucks, celebrations and other gatherings.

Community Service
The Ithaca Dragon Boat Club has adopted a portion of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. We weed, brush cut, clear litter and generally maintain the trail. We also support the events of other organizations in the area such as Plastic Tides, Friends of Stewart Park and Glorious Trash Birds. We’ve participated as a team in the Cancer Resource Center Walkathon.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
FAQs April 7, 2021 4:52 PM Katie T.
Membership May 3, 2016 12:48 PM former member
About Ithaca Dragon Boat Club April 24, 2018 9:34 PM John C.

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