The Dragon Boat Experience

photos: Paco Rabanne

Berlin is mostly renowned for its unique and exciting nightlife. But the options for activities during the day aren’t too bad either. Especially trips to the surrounding woods and waters are totally underrated. That’s why today I would like to introduce you to one of many things to do.

A week ago I had the pleasure to experience my very first Dragon Boat ride in Berlin – meaning, I got into one of these long boats with a dragon head and actually did some rowing myself. Naturally, any sports that feature the word ‘dragon’ in its name sound intriguing, but dragon boating is definitely a thrill by itself. Under guidance of the gorgeous Invictus Award contestant Markus I warmed up, stretched out and did a quick run at the WannSea Dragons training centre.  More about my little adventure after the jump.

Dragon boating can be a highly competitive sport but also purely recreational. Everyone can do it, men and women of all ages, and it’s actually fun and easy to learn. The charming model and expert dragon boat man Markus instructed us to begin paddling and after that we were suddenly in the middle of the river Dahme practicing to be coordinated. Team work is everything in Dragon Boat racing, and synchronicity is way more important than strength. Surprisingly, it’s not so much the size of the boat that matter but rather the unison in which people share the work and their common goal: winning the race!

Actually, it’s when you are inside one of these wooden boats that you start realizing how intense Dragon Boat rowing can be. You sit there with a team of 20 paddlers, paced by a drummer at the bow and guided by a steersperson at the stern. The only rule is to work together and paddle in complete harmony; you don’t really have options, you have to be in-sync with the group, be 100% with the team, and especially don’t play lazy as the whole boat will feel when someone is not rowing. It might sound a little bit tough, but it’s a very simple movement which perfects itself with the time.

Needless to say, the experience was so enriching and I have now a newfound respect for the Dragon Boat! Racing with professionals was particularly exciting, and German Invictus Award contestant Markus turned out to be not only a great instructor but also a good fellow during our competition. So before you make up your mind whether Dragon Boat racing is your cup of tea or not, give some support to our Berlin contestant with a simple click and don’t forget to get some waterproof clothes!

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