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.

2021 Programs

Summer Membership 
July thru mid-September

COMPETITIVE: $160 — starts 7/5/21
Two weekly practices Mon/Weds 6pm, plus a mini-training camp and a scrimmage. 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: Quebec Cup (Montreal), September 18+19 (pending border opening) or Springfield, MA, October 2. First session is free.

RECREATIONAL: $60 — starts 7/17/21
One weekly practice Saturdays at 9am. Focus for these sessions is learning dragon boat technique, getting a good 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 and racing this season. First session is free.

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 2022.

Join Us

Two Crew Levels

Sport: 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.

Community: newer crews who aspire to become sport crews, but don’t have sufficient experience to do so just yet.

Two Ways to Join

#1. Get Your Feet Wet – FREE
Join us for an indoor (Nov-May) or on-water (July-Sept) 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 competitive 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

Reach out to us on Facebook to let us know whether you’d like a trial session or if you want to go all in. Our coaches will take it from there. You’ll also need to complete our online waiver/release of liability before your first session.

 What to Wear/Bring to Practice

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.

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.

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, Facebook and Twitter. 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!