Two new world records set in Hunan dragon boat races
Published: Jun 03, 2024 11:36 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

With a total of 212 boats taking part, a dragon boat race held in Dao county in Central China's Hunan Province, on Sunday broke the Guinness World Record for the "largest dragon boat race (team)." 

The county, known as China's hometown of dragon boat racing, enjoys a long history of hosting the race during China's traditional Duanwu Festival, or Dragon Boat Festival. 

Zhou Jingzhong, Party chief of the county bureau of culture, tourism, radio, television and sports, told the Global Times on Monday that the local government is committed to carrying on the iconic tradition of dragon boat racing.

"In Dao county, the dragon boat event dates back to 1,000 years ago. All the participants from around Hunan gather here during the Duanwu Festival every year for the race on the Xiaoshui River. All the boats are handmade by local paddlers," said Zhou. 

Wang Jianwen, Party chief of the county's cultural center, told the Global Times that over 200 boats took part in the annual race in 2023 but it was not officially certified.

"It's our folk custom to host the race every year during the Duanwu Festival. The event is voluntarily organized by local residents. It's a great spectacle to showcase our shipbuilding and racing skills," said Wang. 

The record was previously held by Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, where a national dragon boat championship held in 2015 saw 203 boat teams participate in the race.

Dao county, formerly known as Daozhou in ancient times, has a 1,000-year-old dragon boat tradition dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), according to the People's Government of Hunan Province. 

In 2021, the county's dragon boat customs were included on the national list of intangible cultural heritage.

Meanwhile, the 2024 China Dragon Boat Open (Dao county stop) was held from May 31 to June 2 with more than 200 boats and 6,000 competitors from across the country competing in the events. 

Another world record was also set in Hunan as a dragon boat in Yiyang city measuring a total length of 100.987 meters was announced as the world's "longest dragon boat" on Saturday. 

The double-oared dragon boat made by the villagers of Beian New Village smashed the previous record of 87.3 meters in length set on November 12, 2018 in Cambodia. The boat in Yiyang has a total of 105 compartments and can accommodate 420 rowers. 

The boat is made of Chinese fir logs, each a diameter of 50 to 60 centimeters and a length of about 28 meters. Meticulously crafted by local shipbuilders, it underwent eight steps and took more than two months to complete. It was launched on the river in June 2023.