In a dragon boat, there are at least 20 paddlers, with one side paddling right and the other side paddling left – all facing the bow. An extra person would be sitting at the front pounding on the drums and another, at the back steering. This is a very popular sport since it is easy to meet a lot of people and to get fit at the same time. Being able to balance is not a necessity here.
An international racing standard dragon boat has 10 seats and can fit up to 19 paddlers, another person to steer, and one other person to beat on the drums. The size would be 12.49m in length and 1.16m in width. A sample can be found on the BuK – www.dragon.de web site.
Paddles used in competition are different than paddles used for recreation. The materials used are lighter and the shape is built to improve stroke efficiency.
For dragon boat, the paddle has a t-grip handle on one end and a blade on the other end. Newer dragon boat paddles are being made from carbon for its strength and lightness. The blade is long and flat.