Dragon boat racing is a team sporting event based on an ancient Chinese tradition and is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. Each boat is approximately 44 feet long and 3 feet wide and holds 20 paddlers, one steersman (a professional assigned to each team) who stands in the stern and one drummer who sits at the bow and beats out the paddlers’ pace. Each team may also have four alternate paddlers. The Smith Mountain Lake race course will be 350 meters long, with the lanes marked by buoys. Three teams race at a time, with a new race starting about every 12 to 15 minutes. Each team will race in multiple heats.
The entry fee for a team is $1,100 or less than $50 per team member. Participants are encouraged to ask friends, family or employers to be sponsors. The deadline to register a team is September 1. In the week prior to the September 15 event, a dragon boat clinic will be held to let each team have multiple opportunities to practice paddling a boat.