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Splashing About

Dragon Boat Racing gets surprisingly competitive

We sent the Loh family to try out Dragon Boat Racing at Houhai lake. Shelia and her daughter Kirsten, a grade 5 student at YCIS Beijing, enjoyed their afternoon splashing about on the water

Shelia says:

The Beijing International Dragon Boat (BIDB) team gets together every Sunday, from 4–6pm at Houhai lake. Each week, from March to October, about 20 to 30 people put their backs and biceps to work on dragon boats.

My 11-year old, Kirsten, and I found the paddlers paddock easily enough, and joined the team promptly for warm up stretches. Each dragon boat was fitted with a drum and had enough room to seat ten people. On the windless Sunday (read: less risk of throwing up), we made our way across the deep green waters.

Polo and his assistant gave instructions in English and Chinese to newbies on how to maneuver our paddles without knocking them into the paddle in front or behind ours. Before long, a rhythmic counting melody emerged from our boat as we strived to keep pace.

Polo Heming, who founded BIDB, has rowed with over 2,000 people since the team was formed 17 years ago. He was fueled by a desire to preserve this cultural sport because not a single dragon boat team existed in northern China.

“The club lives up to its international brand. We welcome men and women of any nationality,” says Polo, an Inner Mongolia native. “It’s a great way to learn the local language and exchange ideas with other paddlers, a majority of whom are professionals with international work experience.” The team also competes in international races, with Vancouver and Boracay on their 2018 list.

After clocking 3km on the boat with various drills and exercises, we head off for a social dinner and drinks at a nearby joint, pleasantly tired but not exhausted.

Golden Sail Water Sports Club
81A Houhai Xiyan
金帆, 后海西沿81A
Tel: 6401-2664



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