Join the festivities on the grassy banks or sandy beaches of Lake Pegasus, and cheer for your favourite teams as dragon boaters start an exciting season.
Wacky uniforms, team haka and loud chants create an electrifying atmosphere as "corporate" and "open" (club) and school crews battle it out on the water.
Aoraki Dragons brings you the "Aoraki Open" (previously known as the "Early Bird") dragon boat regatta, a regular to the South Island dragon boat scene. This year it is fairly well into the paddling season so that schools will also be in a position to compete. We have about 12 school teams enrolled plus a dozen adult teams.
Aoraki Dragons are thrilled to be working with Infinity Realty to bring racing to Pegasus Lake, just 25 minutes north of Christchurch. This year's races will include 250m Sprints plus 500m races.
Teams gather from about 8 am. Formal proceedings for the day start with a captain's briefing at Race HQ (a caravan by the tent sites) with first race due at about 9:30 am. Races start at 10 minute intervals.
Teams are called down to the marshalling area and load into the new 40 ft dragon boats on the beach. The 20 paddlers (plus a "drummer" on the front, and a "sweep" at the helm) then paddle to the start line at the north end of the lake. The four boats then race back toward the swing bridge, spurred on by the beating of the drums, and the cheers from the lakeside. Full race commentary is broadcast around the great viewing sites on the bank. Food and coffee vendors will operate in the spectators' area.
Each crew has three heats (TBC) - the race times determined their place in the finals. Team rivalry is keen, between adult teams and schools.
Come and experience the colour and excitement of the dragons!
Aoraki Dragon Boat Association Inc is a not-for-profit collective that represents teams in Christchurch, to develop the competitive sport, providing facilities, boats and event organisation.
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