Lake Union in the early summertime looks like a scene from Lord of the Rings. Dozens of dragons take to the water, each carrying 21 people and a drummer. But this isn’t a medieval fantasy—it’s dragon boat racing. Over the past decade, this ancient Chinese tradition has seen a spike in popularity, becoming the fastest growing team water sport in the world.
Want to give it a try? Paddlers of all ages and skills can participate in dragon boating. But before you and your dragon boat spit fire, keep these safety tips in mind:
• Stay Hydrated
Because it’s hard to drink while you paddle, pre-hydrate before the race by drinking 16-32 ounces of water.
• Wear Sunscreen
The water’s reflection enhances UV exposure, making you more susceptible to sunburn. Protect your lips and skin by applying waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
• Buddy Up
Dragon boating is a team sport and it’s important to work together! Pair up with a “buddy” before you take to the water and hold each other accountable throughout the race.
• Wear a Life Jacket
Due to the size of the boat and the generally calm conditions of the water, capsizing is rare. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, so consider wearing a personal floatation device.
See you on the lake!