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The Woodlands Dragon Boat Races

YMCA Dragon Boat Team Challenge

Nearly 100 teams are expected to gather along the shores of North Shore Park to compete in the Dragon Boat Challenge. The Annual Dragon Boat races are scheduled for late September each year. The Four Day - 2018 Dragon Boat Races are scheduled for September 27 - 30. Dragon boats (also dragonboat) are human-powered via paddles and are traditionally made of teak wood in various designs and sizes. They belong to the family of Traditional Long Boats found throughout Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands. These multi-person boats are now used in the team paddling sport of dragon boat racing, which originated in China over 2000 years ago. While competition has taken place annually for more than 20 centuries as part of folk ritual, it emerged in modern times as an international sport in Hong Kong in 1976.

For competition events, dragon boats are generally rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails. At other times the decorative regalia is usually removed, although the cadence drum often remains aboard for training purposes.

Annual Dragon Boat Races Lake Woodlands

The Dragon Boat races are held at North Shore Park on Lake Woodlands. Each of the more than 90 teams feature 20-30 members, one cadence drummer, one to catch and carry the flag with the remaining 18 members rowing the 40' boat. A team is composed of a minimum of 20 members but no more than 30. Each team roster must have a minimum of five females and participants must be at least 18 years of age. High School teams, 9th – 12th grade, are eligible to participate only in the Sunday morning bracket: 8:00 AM – Noon. The Dragon Boat Races and their related activities are held over four days - Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. As many as 16 teams will compete in each race with prizes being awarded to first and second place teams in each bracket.


The event features six different team activities, but the Dragon Boat Races are the main event. The first stage of each race will begin near the North Shore Park docks and Lake Woodlands Bridge, race to a point behind the stage at the pavilion, turn around, and then race back to the start/finish line. The boats are 40-feet long and weigh 1,800 pounds, the races will be timed. As most of the rowers are novice, the second run (each are timed individually) is sometimes faster than the first run. It has been surmised that this can be attributed to a learning curve but, it may simply be adrenaline or the excitement of nearing the finish line.


American Dragon Boat Association races the woodlandsFollowing the Dragon Boat race events, the teams will be competing in additional events including dodgeball, moonwalk volleyball, and human foosball. This exciting team building event is designed to build community spirit among corporations, civic groups and community organizations. The activities are designed to bring individuals together to achieve a single goal – to have fun! They achieve this by becoming a team and working together as a synchronized unit. It's much more than "beating the other team." It is the camaraderie, the team work and team spirit, visiting and playing with old friends, meeting new friends and laughing. It is adults having the opportunity to play like kids!


The YMCA makes it so EASY to participate. The Y organizes and facilitates all team activities, provides all the equipment, rules and instructions as well as a team tent, water and ice, and event t-shirt. The Y also provides professional staff, volunteers and safety/security agencies to create a positive, safe and fun environment. The team entry is $1000, and $875 for Non-Profit Groups. Contact Roxanne Davis, YMCA North Group Marketing Director, at 281 367-9622 or [email protected] for more information.


The Dragon Boats are supplied by the American Dragon Boat Association.

Categories Races | Fall | Annual Events

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