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The Rooster Meets the Dragon

24 July 2007 - 
Dragon
Rooster
Will dragon boat racing replace cycling as the French national sport? With doping scandals continuing to plague the Tour de France prompting some television stations in Europe to drop live coverage of the legendary cycling spectacle, perhaps the French will need a new national pastime to fill their summers. Dragon boat racing is poised become a fast-growing sport among the French as recent activities in Rouen, Nantes and Annecy indicate.

Under its recently launched affiliates program, the IDBF, in the persons of Mike Haslam and John Handyside of the UK, were invited to France in the spring to give a helm and paddler training course at the Canoe Club Belbeuf near Rouen. Haslam was surprised to discover that most of the participants were teachers and students from the local colleges, keen to try out the sport. "We had two full boats worth of paddlers, some of whom were good and the people trying out for helms were very good," said Haslam. After a three hour session covering theory, history of the sport, safety procedures, technique, etc., based on the IDBF awards scheme, the aspiring dragon boaters then pushed off for a water training session on the swiftly flowing river.

The visit was arranged through Guillame Bestaux, the Deputy Mayor of Rouen who is in charge of youth development and sport, in preparation for the Rouen Dragon Boat Festival to be held on 15 & 16 September. Rouen wants to strengthen its ties with partner city Ningbo, China and the dragon boat festival presents a way to do this through a cultural and sporting event.

Rouen athletes take a bateau dragon paddling lesson from Mike Haslam.
Rouen athletes take a bateau dragon
paddling lesson from Mike Haslam.
The festival will be run in traditional-style boats from China which, according to Haslam, are a bit longer and heavier than the IDBF racing standard boats used in official championships. The race on the Seine, through the center of Rouen, will be run in accordance to IDBF rules and is open to all teams. "It would be good to get a few crews who arent going to Sydney to support this festival," says Haslam.

The festival is being organized by the City of Rouen, the French Association for the Advancement of Dragon Boat Sport, The Norman Canoe Club, Canoe Club Belbeuf and the Euro-Chinese Association for Sport and Culture. Click here for more information on the festival.

Dragon Boat Racing in Nantes.
Racing in Nantes.
This is not the only French dragon boat action this summer whereby dragon boating is working together with canoe clubs to organize festival racing. In May, the Nantes Atlantique Canoe Kayak Club (NACK) ran a festival race in Nantes together with the EDBF. In spite of winds exceeding 100km per hour that weekend, local teams racing Saturday had an excellent day of racing under the guidance of Gregoire Donaint according to Claude Dorhlac, president of the French Dragon Boat Association. The festival will be held for the third time in May 2008.

Additionally, the Kayak Club of Annecy, near the border with Switzerland, have recently joined the French Dragon Boat Association in order that their members who dragon boat can participate in EDBF and IDBF dragon boat races. So before long, "Parlez vous dragon boat?" will be met with an enthusiastic "Oui!"

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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    December 13 2017 01:51pm
    Fun fact: The EDBF was founded by five countries (Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, United Kingdom and Germany). The traditional dragon boat festival takes place on the 5th day of the 5th month. Coincidence or not? ☺
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    December 12 2017 04:21pm
    European Dragon Boat Federation shared BBC Earth's video.
    Let's all try and save our precious rivers, lakes and oceans.
    thumb up12 people like this.
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    December 9 2017 04:11pm
    Looking for a festive dragon boat picture if anyone has one we can use for the Facebook page header photo. Please send to secretary@edbf.org.
    thumb up3 people like this.
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    December 7 2017 07:49pm
    As Christmas is fast approaching we want to know that one dragon boating accessory you could not do without? Please share your ideas below.
    thumb up5 people like this.
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    December 5 2017 08:51am
    European Dragon Boat Federation added 5 new photos.
    At the EDBF Convention in Belgrade we decided to run a competition to design a new logo for the EDBF. We would be most grateful if you would share this message with your dragon boat family as we may have some budding designers out there. Alternatively go to our Facebook page "European Dragon Boat Association" and share our message. All logos are to be submitted to secretary@edbf.org by 31/12/17.
    thumb up25 people like this.
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    • Olga Chelesheva
      Olga Chelesheva As for me, I like the old one. It looks great on the medals :)
      December 5 2017 08:51am
    • European Dragon Boat Federation
      European Dragon Boat Federation Times keep changing and innovation is a regular feaure of our mission. We love the old EDBF logo. It was designed by our friend Fabio Masi in 1990. Today we should have new ideas, all togheter with the Dragon Boat Community of Europe, starting from a new Logo to represent our wish to achieve progress and promote innovation for a rejuvenation of our sport and for a susteinable long term growth. Claudio Schermi EDBF President Elect
      December 5 2017 08:51am
    • Roel Dev
      Roel Dev Hello sir/Madam. This is my entry to the European Dragon Boat Fedreration Logo Design Contest, I want t to join the contest, I hope you like. I ask permission to join. it,thank you very much.. I am from asia a,filipino.....
      December 5 2017 08:51am