Vermont Dragon Boat Crews

Dragon boat racing originated in China over 2,000 years ago, and has risen to become one of the most popular water sports in the world. Every two years nations meet on the water to see who is best in the world. No World Championship event is ever the same. There are always surprises, upsets, and lots of incredible paddling to awe and inspire spectators.

Races are typically held in four distances. 200m, 500m and 1000m events are on a straight course, with 4-8 boat heats in individual lanes. The longest race, 2000m, is typically on an oval 500m course with turns, and boats jostle for right of way in a single lane.

Vermont may be a long way from China, but conditions for dragon boat racing here are superb. There is a huge paddling community just north of Burlington, where we practice, particularly in Montreal. In the USA, we have plenty of competition in the Northeast — teams from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC keep us on our toes. And we get to meet teams from further afield every year at US National Championships.

Italy 2024

Ever wanted to be Champion of the World?

Calling all athletes aged 30-70 to join us in a challenge: kick ass at the dragon boat Club Crew World Championships (CCWC) in Ravenna, Italy in 2024!!

If you missed your Olympic moment… here’s the next best thing! Being in the fray of the world’s best dragon boat teams battling it out for a spot on the podium.

How It Works

+ Crews are organized into classes (men’s, women’s, and mixed) and divisions (premier, 40+, 50+, and 60+).

+ Each country gets 5 entries (berths) per class + division

+ The USA awards its berths at the US Club Crew National Championships the year before the World Championships

+ Crews hoping to win a berth must qualify for US Nationals by competing at regional races

Why You Should Go For It

1. It’s BADASS

2. You’ll be part of a high-vibe crew

3. You get to travel to cool places and races

4. Italy, DUH!! (And the mosaic capital of the world at that!)

How are you going to medal in a sport you’ve never even tried, or maybe even heard of?

You’ve got grit.
We’ve got the best coaches around (and they’ve got the bling to prove it).
You love being on the water and a tight team spirit.
We’ve got the boats, the experience, and a plan.

Together we can make those dragon boats fly!

OK, This Sounds Amazing! What’s the Fine Print?

+ Sign up for our 2022 Racing Track
+ Show up to practice Monday and Wednesday nights May-September*
+ Follow a strength training program off the water (you can follow ours or your own)
+ Attend a mini-training camp in Burlington or Montreal in July or August (details TBD, but typically a Sat and Sun)
+ Race with the team at regional races (typically 2-3 per season)
+ Follow an off-season training plan and come to team circuits 1x week
+Join us in the indoor paddling tank in Montreal as available (ideally 2x / month January thru March)
+ Come to spring training camp in April (past camps have been in Myrtle Beach, SC, and Montreal. Louisiana is an option in 2023) if you can!

* We know you have a life and vacations planned and other shit you want to do. Missing a few practices is ok.

What About Cost?

Summer membership is $295 and includes all practices, the mini-training camp, an off-water training program, and entry fee to one regional race. Travel to and accommodations at away races are on you, but we always arrange for a room block, help you find a roommate to lower costs, coordinate a car pool, and more!

We have all the gear you need to get started, but eventually you’ll want to invest in your own paddle (around $200), PFD (around $70), and a butt pad (trust us, this will be the BEST $40 you’ll ever spend). And for racing, a team shirt or two will be around $50.

Winter membership depends on a number of factors, but generally runs between $125 – $250. It includes a guided winter fitness program, team circuits, time in the Montreal paddling tank, and more.

Anything Else?

+ Be a good teammate
+ Be the best athlete you can be
+ Share the load on any team fundraising, recruiting, or special events (there aren’t many)
+ Act with integrity on and off the water and represent team Malia with pride!

2022 Programs

Summer Membership 

>> Sign up here

Two weekly practices Mon/Weds 6pm, starting in late May. The focus for this track is competition – each session will focus on technique plus different racing elements and strategy.  Opportunity to also practice on Saturday mornings (see below) if there are open seats.
Tentative Races: Hartford, CT August 20; Montreal, QC, September 17+18; Laconia NH, September 24

One weekly practice Saturdays at 9am starting in June. Focus for these sessions is learning dragon boat technique, getting a workout, and enjoying the lake. Paddlers in these sessions will be a mix of newbies and former team members who are unable to commit to twice-weekly training or racing this season.

*prorated if you join after July 15.

Winter Membership – $ TBD
November thru mid-May
Price includes weekly group circuit training, an off-water fitness/gym program, plus paddling tank sessions in Montreal in early 2023.

Join Us

Two Tracks

Racing: competitive crews who aspire to race their way to the regional and national championships, with an ultimate goal of vying for a berth to the World Championships.

Recreational: newer paddlers and those who can’t commit to racing this season.

Two Ways to Join

#1. Get Your Feet Wet – FREE
Join us for an indoor (Nov-May) or on-water (June and August) session or two. Learn about the sport and meet the crew before you commit.

#2. Jump Right In 
Decide whether you want to go the recreational or racing route, and start coming to practice! The sooner you get started, the quicker you’ll progress! If you’re looking to be part of the racing crew but this is your first time in a dragon boat, we may have you start with a Saturday practice or two just to get oriented — our coaches will connect with you to figure out a plan.

What to Do Next

Sign up with the links above, or visit our Signup Page for more information. Our coaches will take it from there. You’ll also need to complete our online waiver/release of liability before your first session.

And check out our Facebook group for what we’re getting up to on and off the water!

 What to Wear/Bring to Practice

On-water practice: Wear plenty of sunscreen, and lycra/wicking pants/shorts and shirt. (No cotton shirts or jeans please.) Flip-flops on your feet. Have a water bottle, hat and/or sunglasses (with strap) to bring on the boat. Bring a change of clothes or towel to sit on for the ride home. We’ll provide the life-vest and paddle.

Circuit training: wear gym clothes and sneakers; bring a water bottle.

Indoor paddling tank: wear gym clothes and flip-flops; bring a water bottle. Bring snacks and a change of clothes for the ride home.

We practice rain or shine—unless there is extreme wind, a torrential downpour, thunder, or lightning. In that case, we will send notification that practice is canceled via email and our members’ Facebook group. Please make sure we have your correct contact information in case we do need to cancel.

About Us

Malia (mahl-yuh) is an inclusive community of competitive Vermont dragon boat paddlers—passionate about our sport, our environment, and one another. A culture of teamwork, accountability, and healthy competition is at our core. We believe in being true to yourself and your crew.

Anyone can be an athlete, whether or not you’ve grown up participating in sports or are just discovering them now.

We’re lucky to have coaches who have both paddled with and coached championship teams — from elite club crews in Montreal to Team USA and Team Canada.

We train in both standard (20-paddler) and junior (10-paddler) boats on beautiful, temperamental Lake Champlain.  We race primarily in Montreal, Canada and in the Northeastern USA. Many of us also cross-train on (and race) outrigger canoes (OC1 and OC6).

We work hard and have fun (and winning doesn’t suck)!

Join us!