Last year I did the London HK Dragon Boat race at the London Regatta Centre with London Business School and absolutely loved the experience. It was such a rush being on the water and competing against other teams.
My best friend did dragon boat in university, so I thought it would be fun to see what a competition was like and signed up for my school’s team and with only 2-3 practices we were all just looking to have fun on race day. Surprisingly we made it not only into the semi-finals, but also the finals! It was such a rush and we eventually came out in 5th last year and we were hoping to do better this year.
The festival itself is held at the London Regatta Centre right by the London City Airport and is definitely not an easy commute. It is an all day event with not just the race as entertainment, but also stage entertainment, dragon dances and asian food stalls to keep your tummies happy! For a sport that isn’t that well known, there were tons of people around all day.
The 1st round of races is best 2 of 3 times which determine who makes the semi-finals and the best 8 of the next race compete in one more grand finale with all 8 boats racing at the same time. There are also categories for the professional teams and charity teams.
Although we didn’t have a full boat, other teams were more than happy to lend some of their the paddlers to help us out. It honestly was a great way to meet more people.
LBS started off strong with and had a brief stint in 1st place with some not-so-bad times for a boat full of newbies!
Unfortunately by the time we got to the finals, I was absolutely dead and could barely keep hold of the paddle. You would think ~ 1 minute of paddling isn’t all that much time, but man do you feel it by the end!
We did 5 heats and came in 6th! Really proud of us and might even continue paddling this year with one of the clubs.