addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-leftarrow-right-10x10arrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcredit-cardcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobe--smallglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1languagelaunch-new-window--smalllight-bulblinklocation-pinlockm-swarmSearchmailmediummessagesminusmobilemoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahooyoutube
COVID-19 advisory For the health and safety of Meetup communities, we're advising that all events be hosted online in the coming weeks. Learn more.


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.

Do I have to be a member of the club in order to participate?
We are excited to have everyone try out Dragon Boating before they commit to becoming a member. Beginners are welcome to attend two practices. Afterwards, we are sure that you will love it as much as we do and will want to become a member.

How do I become a member?
The fee for membership is $200 for the season which usually begins in May and continues through the fall, weather permitting. A membership form and waiver need to be filled out and signed. Checks are payable to the Ithaca Asian American Association (IAAA) and can be mailed to:

P.O. Box 4016
Ithaca, NY 14851

Alternatively, you can bring the check to practice and hand it to our Membership Dues Coordinator.

Can I pay the membership fee in installments?
Yes, paying the fee in installments is an option and must be arranged with the Membership Dues Coordinator.

Is the fee prorated if I should join in the middle of the season?
Yes, we do offer a prorated fee. If you join after July 14th the membership fee is $100. The prorated option should be discussed with the Membership Dues Coordinator.

What does the membership fees go towards?
Fees help to defray the cost of equipment, maintenance, storage, dock rentals, insurance liabilities and various programs related to our stated objectives, such as our Open House and the Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival. http://fingerlakesdra...

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.

What else does the Club participate in?
Open House
Each year our team hosts an open house in conjunction with other groups offering paddle sports, such as Ithaca Outrigger Canoe, SUP (stand up paddleboard) Cayuga and others. This event is open to the public and offers community members an opportunity to try out all the different water sports that Ithaca has to offer.

Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival
The Ithaca Asian American Association and its Ithaca Dragon Boat Club hosts its own race festival, drawing in a diverse crowd of paddlers from Ithaca and beyond. There are two racing divisions: community teams and competitive teams. Community teams are pulled together from local business, organizations and not-for-profit from the greater Ithaca area that have a desire to try out the sport and engage in a team building exercise. The competitive division consists of more experienced paddlers who come from all over the Northeast U.S. and beyond.

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 26, 2018 6:48 PM Liz
Membership May 3, 2016 12:48 PM former member
About Ithaca Dragon Boat Club April 24, 2018 9:34 PM John C.

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy