Dragon boating can be a tough sport that builds you physically, mentally, and emotionally. For me, it is about trying to be strong in all three.
There are wonderful resources for new dragon boat paddlers. I recommend visiting Paddle Chica, Dragonboat MVP, and Eugephemisms for plenty of inspirational stories.
After paddling for two years, I’ve come up with my 9 reasons to love dragon boating.
1. It builds your strength.
When you have a teammate encourage you to LIFT HEAVIER, you really do lift heavier. Nakakahiya kasi lol. So you keep trying. You keep lifting. Until bit by bit you can see yourself lifting heavier. What you couldn’t do before with heavy weights… it’s suddenly possible. Consistent training required!
2. It improves your endurance.
A few years ago, I used to get tired easily after doing the simplest kind of jogging. But with paddling (and running regularly in short distance races), I noticed my endurance improve. I find myself running further and faster. It feels great!
3. It enables networking opportunities.
Joining a team means you get to meet all sorts of people, FAST. In the past two years, I have met interior designers, teachers, architects, engineers, and aircraft mechanics. From casinos to telecom stores. It is great to meet people from different industries. This allows you to connect with each other. Job openings, rentals…
4. It makes you more “social”.
Not only do you get to socialize with your teammates (and bond with them over a beer or hard drinks especially after a race), you also get to meet people from other teams. In the Singapore case, the dragon boat community stretches across corporations, schools, and expatriate teams. Other expat teams organize events which give you the opportunity to network (see No. 3) and to socialize.
5. It saves you money from an expensive gym membership.
Gym memberships in Singapore are pricey. I feel it’s meant for people serious about bodybuilding or cross-training. Joining a dragon boat team is cheaper and worth it. In our team alone you get four trainings each week. At the swimming pool, on land, and in the water. You gain experiences and memories for less than 300 SGD in a year.
6. It allows you to face your fears.
I had stupid fears like “removing my shirt at the pool” (insecure about my body) or “fear of the deep water”. But you realize that these are really just hindering you from achieving your own goals. Who cares? These teammates will see you without a shirt, ANYWAY. And they don’t care. What matters is if you paddle and strive to improve your form. Scared of the water? You have a PFD or a personal flotation device. It’s not so bad!
7. It brings out your competitive side.
This can work both ways. It can be negative when you compare yourself to others. Honestly, I never had a “competitive side” until I joined the team. Joining a dragon boat team is great to give you direction and to help you gauge where you are towards achieving your goals. It is important to add that it is a competition with YOURSELF. Not with another teammate (some people make that mistake!). It is about striving to be the BEST VERSION of yourself.
8. It gives you a nice tan and a better-looking physique!
Pale skin is boring. LOL
9. It makes your wardrobe easy-to-manage.
Half of your wardrobe is suddenly dry-fit! And easy to pack!