posted on 04/10/2012: 487 views
Dragon boating is really emerging on the local scene. There are already several social and competitive events held throughout the year in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai for its avid paddlers, some of whom have even made it to the world stage, thanks to dedicated practice on the many creeks and beaches we're lucky to be surrounded by.
If you've been out of the loop and would like to see what this ancient oriental water sport is all about, then there's no better weekend than this one as the Abu Dhabi Dragon Boat Festival returns to Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri on Friday and Saturday.
Last year's festival was a blast. It featured a record 70 teams in dragon-tipped boats of 20-22 paddlers cutting their way across the scenic creek in front of cheering spectators hanging out and bronzing along the hotel's 1km beachfront stretch.
As usual, the quickest finishers were the likes of team Abu Dhabi Mar (they claimed the respected Corporate Cup Final category), and rivals the Dubai Diggers, who actually just returned from the world championships with gold in the 200m and 500m Mixed Small Boats category.
The pair never miss the Abu Dhabi event and you're bound to see them again out in full force from day one. They will be joined by several other corporate, school and social teams looking to make an impression…or just a splash.
Spectators are, as usual, more than welcome to enjoy the fun, which will not be limited to the water. There will be cooking stations and entertainment including a live DJ, massage kiosk, volleyball, and paddle boarding opportunities.
Event organisers Siren Events are planning various kids activities too, such as a ‘Bouncy Castle'. And the renowned barbeque party at Traders Hotel's beach is the perfect way to unwind and bond for friends and family alike after the first day's race. The two-day event ends with an award ceremony.
A challenging yet exhilarating water sport, dragon boating is full of adrenaline and sportsmanship with strategy and technique playing key roles. The sport places emphasis on team spirit, making friends and having fun while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
As we've ourselves experienced dragon boating, both as spectators and paddlers, we can vouch for the event and think you should seriously weigh your options carefully in terms of what you plan to be doing this weekend.
With the hotel celebrating its fifth anniversary, this year's Dragon Boat Race is certainly set to be bigger and better. Arbind K. Shrestha, general manager, Shangri-la Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi states: "We are delighted to witness continuous successes of the Dragon Boat Festival in the hotel as much as we are celebrating our five years of established Arabian luxury.”
If you can't make it, then there's plenty of opportunity to see these vessels in action, or grab a paddle yourself thanks to a dedicated local Dragon Boat Federation – the UAE Dragon Boat Association, which organises several weekly social and competitive training and tryout days across the emirate, as well as competitions. – Sport 360°
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