Modern dragon boat racing is organised at an international level by the
International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF). The IDBF, a Member of the
General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) recognises two
types of Dragon Boat Racing activities, namely Sport racing, as practised by
IDBF member organisations; and Festival racing, which are the more traditional
and informal types of races, organised around the world, where racing rules vary
from event to event.
Sport racing distances are normally over 200 m or 250 m, 500 m, 1000 m and
2000 m, with formal Rules of Racing.
- A festival race is typically a sprint event of several hundred metres, with
500 metres being a standard distance in many international festival races.
There are also some very long
endurance events, such as the
Three Gorges Dam Rally along the
Yangtze River (or Chang Jiang) near
Yichang, Hubei province, China,
which covers up to 100 kilometres and the Ord River marathon in Australia which
covers over 50 kilometres. There is even a frozen mist and ice winter time
dragon boat racing event held in Jilin, a city and province north of Beijing.
The Missouri River 340 (545 kilometers) is open to canoe, kayak and dragon
boats. Team Beauties and Barnicles took third place overall in August 2010,
setting the current Guinness World Record for longest distance travelled in a
dragon boat with a time of 38 hours and 5 minutes. A new Guinness World Record
was created on 30th Dec 2011 for the Greatest Distance by Dragon Boat in 24
hours (relay) - 227km. This record is currently held by the Hong Kong Dragon
The IDBF has organised World Nations Dragon Boat Racing Championships
(WDBRC) for Representative National or Territorial teams every two years
since 1995. In between the National Championship years, IDBF organises Club
Crew World Championships (CCWC) for the world's top club-based crews. Due to
the outbreak of SARS in 2003, the Shanghai festival was moved to Poznan,
Poland. Shanghai were awarded an extra sanctioned Nationals race the
In 2005 the IDBF introduced a Corporate and Community World Championships
(WCorcom) designed for crews that normally race in Festival Races and aimed at
the 'weekend warrior' type of competitor and not the elite International
standard or serious Club Crew competitors.
In 2006 under the patronage of the IDBF, the 1st World Championships for
Breast Cancer Survivors - the 'Pink Paddlers' - were held in Singapore. The 2nd
BCS World Championships was held in Miami, Florida, USA in July 2009, in
conjunction with the World Corcom Championships
The 2006 CCWC took place at the
Western Beaches Watercourse, in Toronto's west end. Spectators and dragon
boat fans from across North America – and the world – came out to spend the day
on Toronto's beautiful waterfront and cheer on their favourite Dragon Boat
crews. Over 2000 competitors took part and the event generated over 2 million
dollars Canadian for the local economy.
Both the Asian Dragon Boat Federeation (ADBF) and European Dragon Boat
Federation (EDBF) also hold National Team Championships on alternate years to
the IDBF National Championships and the EDBF have held Club Crew Championships