Who is Marco Polo World Foundation?
Founded in 2007, Marco Polo World Foundation (MPWF) is a non-partisan, non-religious, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, with a mission to promote intercultural understanding in North Texas. Our annual Dragon Boat, Kite, and Lantern Festival draws tens of thousands of paddlers and spectators to Lake Carolyn in Las Colinas, Texas.
To celebrate our 11th anniversary, MPWF welcomes our own fleet of dragonboats and our very own dragonboat team! Be a part of MPWF history.
What’s a dragonboat?
Simply put, a dragonboat is a very big canoe. They are typically about 40 ft long, and holds 20 paddlers when fully loaded. Each boat is fitted with a dragon head and a dragon tail, and usually covered in pattern of scales to complete the “dragon” look.
The paddlers synchronize their stroke to the drummer who sits at the head of the boat facing backwards. There is also a steersman at the tail to keep the boat heading the right direction. The steersman is often the leader or coach of the team, and calls commands from the back.
Dragonboat has a long history originating from China. But in the last couple decades, it has evolved and is mostly considered a competitive sport, especially outside of Asia. The sport has been gaining popularity all over the world. There are International World Championships being held every year, drawing tens of thousands of participants and spectators from all over the world.
Do I have to be fit or strong to paddle a dragonboat?
MPWF welcomes paddlers of all levels of fitness. We recognize that everyone starts any sport as a beginner, and our coaches are here to help! Dragonboating is a highly adaptive sport, and generally, paddlers enjoy health benefits from paddling regularly. Dragonboating can be as competitive as each paddler chooses to make it.
I cannot swim. Is that a requirement?
No. You do not need to know how to swim. All paddlers are required to wear a life vest upon boarding the boat. You will have a bench partner whom you are responsible for, and who will be responsible for you, in the very rare occasions when the boat becomes compromised. We have safety drills regularly to ensure that all the paddlers know their role should an accident occur. All our coaches are also CPR-certified. Overall, dragonboating is considered a safe sport.
But I have never been in a dragonboat before, are you sure I can catch on?
No better way than to try it yourself! Come join us for a couple of practices, and decide if it’s for you!
When are the training location, time and days?
More information to come.
I cannot commit to attending all practices. What’s the attendance policy?
We understand that it is inevitable that paddlers have to miss practices throughout the season. We highly encourage each paddler to miss no more than one practice a month. There are exercises that paddlers can work on from home/gym during their off week. Our coaches will show you.
Attendance is one of the factors coaches consider when selecting paddlers for a race.
What kind of equipment will I need?
MPWF will provide the boat, paddles, and life vest for every practice. Just bring water so you can stay hydrated . You will probably need a towel for all the sweat from the workout!
Wear sunscreen and sunglasses . Athletic wear that allows for good range of motion works well. Be sure that you wear outfits and shoes that you do not mind getting wet; dragonboating is a water sport after all.
What’s my cost?
Fee includes equipment listed above, and weekly practice. Race fees are not included.
How do I sign up?
Sign up on the join page and we will reach out to you for further information.