Paddlers hit the water in 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Race

Paddlers hit the water in 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Race
(Source: Gerron Jordan/KPLC)
(Source: Gerron Jordan/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Dragon boat racing is an ancient Chinese ritual that came to Lake Charles today.

The 41-foot human-powered watercraft is the basis of the team paddling sport.

Teams compete in two races for their best time.

As 25 teams geared up for the second annual dragon boat races Saturday, each with a unique theme, it was all about team spirit.

While everyone had their eye on the prize, each team had their own strategy for success.

And after a quick pep talk, it was finally time to race.

"In a dragon boat we have 20 paddlers; 10 on each side who paddle the boat. There's one person who sits at the front of the boat, that person is the drummer," explained Chuck O'Connor, with the Christus St. Patrick Foundation.

He added, "That person keeps all 20 paddlers in sync. And at the back of the boat we have a helmsman who provides the steering for that boat."

From the Lakefront seawall, paddling 200 meters in one minute might not look like a workout, but those racing like KPLC's Gerron Jordan, say, "It was a lot of physical activity, it was kind of hard, I kind of lost my breathe halfway through."

And while there was a brief hiccup after one boat overturned, quick response from the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies, helped pull everyone out safely, and the race carried on."

But in the end, everyone today was really a winner.

"Proceeds from today's event will go towards the Children's Miracle Network, our cardiology program, our oncology program, and our neuroscience's programs," explained Donald Lloyd, the Administrator and Chief Operating Officer at Christus St. Patrick.

And add a little food and music to the mix, for a great family-friendly event.

Event organizers say they had 14 teams last year; this year they had 25.

For those curious, the dragon boats came down from Quebec for today's race, and are heading to Alexandria next.