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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 aren’t 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
    April 22 2018 06:47pm
    With the greatest respect to the lives lost in China, this is a timely reminder to us all. The EDBF recommends to all paddlers, coaches, clubs, Federations and private organisations not to underestimate the basic safety rules of our dragon boat sport. Wearing buoyancy aids can save lives and that when we make choices to go and paddle on the water we must be fully aware of the conditions, whether it be strong river flows or tidal currents and the ability of our crews to handle these conditions. "IF IN DOUBT, DON'T GO OUT!"
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    April 22 2018 03:51pm
    Today we have received some very sad news for the dragon boat community worldwide. Somewhere in Southern China seventeen dragon boat paddlers have lost their lives during training. We don’t know who they are, what team they paddle with or what they were training for, but today our thoughts and condolences go out to all their families at this difficult time. On behalf of the EDBF Council and of the dragon boat community of Europe.
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    April 22 2018 03:35am
    European Dragon Boat Federation added 5 new photos.
    Dear All I would like to take the opportunity of the SportAccord Convention 2018, to thank you all for the time and effort you put into submitting a new design proposal for the EDBF logo. Due to the quality of the submissions of which we received 14, it has taken the EDBF Council much longer to make a final decision. There was a number of really good ideas, but they were not always suitable for all mediums of print. From the initial 14, three were finally short listed with the preferred logo finally selected from Capture Design. The handover of ownership and intellectual property of the new EDBF Logo has been signed by the Capture Design Chairman Mr Li Dong and myself in a bi-languages version. The EDBF will release an Honor Certificate to Capture Design as the original designer/creator of the new EDBF Logo and will publish it on the EDBF web site, on the EDBF FB page and on the EDBF Instagram page. Thank you once again to all designers/creators submitting the 14 new logo proposals for the time invested into our sport. Claudio Schermi EDBF President
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    April 20 2018 05:09am
    European Dragon Boat Federation added 10 new photos.
    Today the GAISF General Assembly and I wish to give an overview of what it is this sport organization, the Global Association of International Sport Federation (GAISF). Precious informations for the Dragon Boat Community of Europe. Claudio Schermi EDBF President
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    April 19 2018 05:37pm
    “Unity”! It is the final message of Patrick Baumann, SportAccord and GAISF President at the closing event of SporAccord Convention 2018 in Bangkok. Tomorrow morning the Annual General Assembly of the GAISF (Global Association of International Sport Federations).
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    April 19 2018 01:39pm
    European Dragon Boat Federation added 7 new photos.
    An intense day at the SportAccord 2018 in Bangkok...time for a pit stop at the recharging zone...
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  • European Dragon Boat Federation European Dragon Boat Federation
    April 18 2018 01:38pm
    World Beach Games, a new multisport events in the landscape of the sport. The World Beach Games will be held every two years following the edition being organised by ANOC in San Diego in 2019. The Sport Programme will be determined in agreement with the IOC and in principle no Olympic events will be included in future Beach Games. https://gaisf.org/gaisf-and-anoc-sign-landmark-partnership-agreement-on-the-future-of-world-beach-games/
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