The First Dragon Boat Team in Arizona
In 2001, a diverse group of friends and families, with no dragon boating experience, was invited to compete in the Taipei International Dragon Boat Festival as part of the Phoenix Sister Cities Program. In 2002, a new group of paddlers made a repeat appearance. The paddlers instantly fell in love with the sport and in the fall of 2002, the Gila Dragons was formed as Arizona’s first dragon boating club.
The team started off by sitting on the sides of pools and at Tempe Town Lake paddling on milk crates for practice, eventually moving onto real dragon boats generously donated by the City of Taipei, and then onto racing boats that were purchased by the AZDBA. With a love for fun and fierce competition, the team has traveled to and competed in places such as Arizona, Long Beach, San Francisco, Hawaii, Laughlin, Las Vegas, Houston, and Portland.Â We look forward to future festivals and to helping grow the sport of dragon boating in Arizona!