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Vacation Time: Chasing Dragons!

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Year-round, the world over

DRAGON BOATING HAS BEEN PRACTISED FOR OVER 2000 years in southern China, and the Hangzhou Xixi International Dragon Boat Race on June 14 at Xixi National Wetland Park features traditional demonstrations by competitors from across China. As well as races for modern double-skinned fibreglass boats, there are races for “old-style” teak boats that need 30 to 60 people to paddle them.

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THERE IS DRAGON BOAT RACING ACROSS THE TERRITORY in June (though the Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Gala is held in October). Dragon boating emerged as an international sport in Hong Kong in 1976, and this year, thousands of the world’s top paddlers are battling it out at the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races off Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade from June 15 to 16.

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NORTH AMERICA’S LARGEST AND MOST COMPETITIVE dragon boat festival, the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival, takes place at False Creek, Vancouver from June 21 to 23. From small beginnings in 1989, it is now in its 35th year, providing free music and cultural entertainment, as well as world-class racing. Crews are competing from around the world, with paddlers aged from 16 to 80.

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THE ITALIAN DRAGON BOAT FEDERATION is holding the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) 14th Club Crew World Championships in Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna from September 3 to 8. The IDBF was founded in Hong Kong in 1991, and is credited with developing dragon boating into a global modern-day sport that maintains its ancient Chinese traditions.

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THE GRUELLING 2,000M PURSUIT RACE is an annual highlight of the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Dragon Boat World Championships being held this year at Puerto Princesa in the western Philippines from October 28 to November 4. There are races for men, women, mixed, seniors and juniors over 200m, 250m, 500m and 2,000m. In the 2,000m, two laps of the 500m course are completed incorporating three turns.

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THE BIGGEST EVENT OF ITS KIND in the southern hemisphere, the Sydney Lunar New Year Dragon Boat Festival will be held in late January 2025 to coincide with Chinese New Year. Dragon boaters race across Darling Harbour, as spectators look on from Cockle Bay Wharf. In addition to the championship races, there’s a fancy dress race for the six crews that submit the wackiest costume ideas.

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HOSTING RACES ACROSS VICTORIA’S Inner Harbour, the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival runs from August 9 to 11, with up to 80,000 visitors watching from the stands. The event is a Dragon Boat Canada qualifying regatta, and top teams attend from Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. Festivalgoers are invited to light a paper lantern come nightfall, with all proceeds from lantern sales going to the BC Cancer Foundation.

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