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Brief Guide to Championship Dragon Boat Races

Pan Am Club Crew Championships (such as Puerto Rico 2017, Tobago 2019, and Panama 2021) occur during odd-numbered years. These races are open to any established club wanting to compete. Although they offer good competition and a taste of international championships, Pan AM Club Crew Championships DO NOT award berths to the IDBF World Championships.

IDBF Club Crew World Championships (CCWC), such as Hungary in 2018 and France in 2020, occur during even-numbered years and are invitation only. Each country is allotted a certain number of berths. Currently, the United States Dragon Boat FederationUSDBF, (our national organization) awards most berths through Regional Championships. 

USDBF consists of the following 4 regions:


Currently, each region is allowed to award one berth for each racing division (i.e. Premier Mixed, Senior Women, etc.).  These berths are awarded during the Regional Championships occurring in odd-numbered years (Sarasota, May 2019).


In addition, one berth per division is given to the winners of the National Championship races, which also occur during odd-numbered years (Colorado Springs, August 2019). Currently, it is not required that teams compete in their respective Regional competitions in order to compete at the National competition. 


This allowed 5 U.S. teams per division to be awarded a berth for the CCWC competition held every other year. Thus, each region was guaranteed at least one team per division going to Club Crew Worlds.

IDBF World Championships (aka World Nations) is also held in odd-numbered years. This race is held in different locations around the world where participants represent their country (member nation). The 2017 IDBF Worlds Championships were held in China. In 2019 they will be held in Thailand. Individual paddlers must progress through a rigorous try-out for this team by division. 

In February 2019, USDBF voted on an important change related to how berths
will be awarded to IDBF Club Crew Worlds Championships. 


The rule change is as follows - Effective in 2021, ALL CCWC berths awarded by USDBF will ONLY be given during the bi-annual National Championship. 

The implications are as follows:


-Regional DBAs will probably determine how teams will be eligible to compete at Club Crew Nationals. It is likely that teams will be required to compete and medal at Club Crew Regional competitions in order to compete at Nationals.

- There is no guarantee that each division will be represented by each of the 4 Regions at Club Crew Worlds.

- The number of U.S. berths/division allotted by IDBF is anticipated to decrease.


Important IDBF or SRDBA Rules Paddlers Need to Know:

IDBF rules and other regulations can be found at

1) To participate on a “team” during championships, an individual must practice with that team. See specific IDBF rule below.


CR 4.3.1. A bona fide Club Member is one that has regularly trained and/or competed for the Club Crew that they represent during the minimum period of six months shown in 4.3. A bona fide Club Member will normally be resident in the Country in which the Club Crew is located. A Club Member who trains and competes with a Club Crew from a different Country or Territory or a geographical Region within a Country to the one in which the Club Member himself (or herself) is normally domiciled, will only be considered as a bona fide Club Member if they can prove that they have physically attended their Club to train or compete for a period or of at least twelve (12) weeks, over a minimum period of two (2) racing seasons.


2) Clubs are only allowed to compete in Regional competitions within their geographical region. 

CPC probably could race in the ERDBA or ADBA or PDBA regional competitions if desired, but CPC would not be eligible to earn a berth at these events.


3) SRDBA individual membership is required to compete at our Regional competition, but it is not required to compete at the Nationals race. It is only required that the club is an SRDBA member and that the paddler is a member of the club.

This would come into play, for example, if a BCS paddler selected DBC as her primary club when she registered with SRDBA so that she could compete with BCS in Sarasota, but later she could choose to compete with CPC in Colorado Springs (if we were going) since she practices with us regularly.  The requirements for this would be that a) she is racing with a club that is an SRDBA member (we are), and that 2) the club can prove she meets the club member definition under IDBF rule 4.3.1


4) A paddler can only register with SRDBA for one team.

Currently individual registration affiliation matters ONLY during Regional competitions. An individual is only allowed to compete with one team at these events. Similarly, a paddler cannot race with two clubs at any given Club Crew competition, even if one race was BCS category and the other was Senior B.  The IDBF forbids this.

CPC and Competition Goal


National Championship races occurring in 2021 will determine who attends the IDBF Club Crew World Championship during the 2022 races.


This will impact how CPC approaches race selection, as well as highlights the importance of active recruitment and retention of competitive paddlers if we plan to move in that direction.  We will need to develop a 2-year strategy for each Regional/National/World competition cycle.


1. If we want to compete in a CCWC competition (even-numbered year) we must plan to medal (or at least be in the top 3-4 teams in a given category) at the Club Crew Nationals competitions in the preceding odd-numbered year. 


2.  If we want to be invited to Nationals, we most likely will need to compete and medal at our SRDBA Regional Championships (in same odd-numbered year).


3. In anticipation of competing in a USDBF race, all members should consider registering annually ($15/yr.) with our regional SRDBA. This directly benefits our club because CPC will be credited up to $300 (@$10/individual membership fee) toward our club membership. Individuals are also eligible for other discounts.



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