The 2013 AusDBF Australian Dragon Boat Championships start to today, and will run until Saturday 20 April at the Sydney International Regatta Centre. The event will see around 300 races over five days, contested by over 3000 paddlers from nearly 100 clubs.
It will be the fifth consecutive record year for entries at the AusChamps, which will also see New Zealand paddlers contest the Inaugural Oceania and Trans Tasman Championships on days three, four and five of the regatta.
Those three days are also shaping up as the biggest race days on record – with 160 crews competing in the Open Age 500m and 200m races.
This is the third time SIRC has been the venue for the Australian Champs. The first was in the 2000 Olympic year and the second was 2007 when it also hosted the Dragon Boat World Championships.
In addition to being crowned ‘Australian Champion’ paddlers and clubs also have the motivation of securing World Club Crew Championship berths, with the top three crews being invited by AusDBF to compete at Ravena, Italy in June next year.
The form and fitness of paddlers will also be watched keenly by the Australian coaching team to ensure the national representatives are on track for a great performance at the 2013 World Champs in Szeged, Hungary. The Auroras have had three outstanding years and risen to number three in the world rankings. The fifteen medal haul, including a gold, at the 2011 Worlds in Tampa USA is still fresh in their minds and everyone is eager to continue improving.
Paddling enthusiasts from the Australian Canoeing fraternity are very welcome to come and join us for great racing action. Grandstand seats are available at no charge, and the grassy slopes on either side of the course also make for great viewing. Even the traditional After Party on Saturday night is open to canoe and kayak paddlers who want to enjoy a celebratory drink and get to know the paddlers and sport that little bit better.