International Dragon Boat Federation

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International Dragon Boat Federation
International Dragon Boat Federation logo.png
World map IDBF.svg
Map of the members of IDBF according to their confederation
Formation24 June 1991 (28 years ago) (1991-06-24)
TypeFederation of national associations
HeadquartersHong Kong
Region served
62 national associations
Official language
English, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese[1]
Mike Thomas
International Dragon Boat Federation
Traditional Chinese國際龍舟聯合會

The International Dragon Boat Federation (Traditional Chinese: 國際龍舟聯合會) is the international governing body for the team watersport of dragon boat racing. The IDBF was founded by representatives from Australia, China, Taiwan, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States in Hong Kong on June 24th, 1991. As of October 25th, 2018, there were 74 countries or territories with membership in the IDBF, with many other countries with a known interest in the sport.

The IDBF organizes the biennial World Nations Championships and Club Crew World Championships.


In the 1970s, the Hong Kong Tourist Association (now Tourist Board) decided to stage an international dragon boat festival to promote the city of Hong Kong. In 1976, the first Hong Kong International Races took place, an event which is recognised today by dragon boaters worldwide as the start of the 'Modern Era' of dragon boat racing. The HKIR developed into an annual festival of enormous success and resulted in impressive press pictures, which were circulated around the world. Until the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) was formed in 1991, the HKIR were the "unofficial club crew world championships" of the sport. Crews who competed in the HKIR then went home and started their own Dragon Boat Associations, then the EDBF (European), the IDBF and the ADBF (Asian) Federations. These three Federations now govern dragon boat in over 60 countries.

Executive Committee[edit]

The IDBF Executive Committee, as of October 2018, consists of:[2]

President: Mike Thomas (Great Britain)

Senior Vice President: Raymond Ma (Hong Kong)

2nd Vice President: Matthew Smith (Canada)

3rd Vice President: Julie Doyle (Ireland)

4th Vice President: Peter Jarosi (Hungary)

5th Vice President: Fan Guangsheng (China)

General Secretary: Peter Tang Tak Seng (Macau)

Deputy General Secretary: Yu Hanqiao (China)

Treasurer: Alan Van Caubergh (Netherlands)

Deputy Treasurer: Loretta Lewis (Australia)

Competition & Technical Commission: Melanie Cantwell (Australia)

Athletes Commission: Sue Holloway (Canada)


As of October 2018, the 74 member nations and territories of the IDBF are:[3]

Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Guadeloupe, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Moldova, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion Island, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vietnam.

Regional federations[edit]

There are four regional/continental federations under the IDBF:

  • Pan-American Dragon Boat Federation (PADBF), covering North America and South America.
  • European Dragon Boat Federation (EDBF), covering Europe.
  • Asian Dragon Boat Federation (ADBF), covering Asia.
  • Oceania Dragon Boat Federation (ODBF), covering Oceania.

Racing and competition classes[4][edit]

For all IDBF-sanctioned competition, teams are divided into the following racing classes by gender and age.

Gender classes[edit]

Open class: no restrictions on crew composition.

Women's class: crews must be all-female.

Mixed class: a minimum of eight (8) and a maximum of ten (10) of each gender. For small boat races, the minimum is four (4) and maximum is six (6).

Age classes[4][edit]

All competitors must meet the age requirements by and including June 1 in a given year.

Junior class A: under the age of 18 but at least 12 years old.

Junior class B: under the age of 16 but at least 12 years old.

Junior class C: under the age of 14 but at least 12 years old.

Premier: no age restrictions

Senior A: over the age of 39 (40+ class)

Senior B (Grand Dragons): over the age of 49 (50+ class)

Senior C (Great Grand Dragons): over the age of 59 (60+ class)

Boat classes[edit]

Races are divided into two boat classes:

Standard boat: 10 rows, one drummer, one steerer.

Small boat: 5 rows, one drummer, one steerer.

Race distances[edit]

At world-level IDBF-sanctioned events, the following distances are contested:

200 or 250 meters

500 meters

1000 meters

2000 meters

World Nations Championships (WDBRC)[edit]

The IDBF hosts the World Nations Championships, also known as the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships (WDBRC), every odd-numbered year.[5]

A list of past WDBRCs is below:[6]

Number Location Year
1 Yueyang, China 1995
2 Hong Kong 1997
3 Nottingham, England 1999
4 Philadelphia, USA 2001
5 Poznan, Poland 2003
6 Shanghai, China 2004
7 Berlin, Germany 2005
8 Sydney, Australia 2007
9 Račice, Czech Republic 2009
10 Tampa, USA 2011
11 Szeged, Hungary 2013
12 Welland, Canada 2015
13 Dianchi Lake, China & Divonne-Les-Bains, France 2017
14 Pattaya, Thailand 2019
15 Hong Kong 2021

Club Crew World Championships (CCWC)[edit]

The IDBF hosts the Club Crew World Championships (CCWC) every even-numbered year.

A list of past CCWCs is below:[7]

Number Location Year
1 Vancouver, Canada 1996
2 Wellington, New Zealand 1998
3 Rome, Italy 2000
4 Cape Town, South Africa 2002
(5) (No event, due to SARS) 2004
5 Toronto, Canada 2006
6 Penang, Malaysia 2008
7 Macau 2010
8 Hong Kong 2012
9 Ravenna, Italy 2014
10 Adelaide, Australia 2016
11 Szeged, Hungary 2018


  1. ^[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "International Dragon Boat Federation - About IDBF". International Dragon Boat Federation - IDBF. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  3. ^ "International Dragon Boat Federation - IDBF Members". International Dragon Boat Federation - IDBF. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b "IDBF Competition Regulations" (PDF). International Dragon Boat Federation. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  5. ^ "International Dragon Boat Federation-IDBF CCWC & World Nations Champs". International Dragon Boat Federation - IDBF. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Info - Idbf | United States Dragon Boat Federation". Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Info - Idbf | United States Dragon Boat Federation". Retrieved 25 October 2018.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]