The inaugural Pan American Club Crew Championships were held Saturday and Sunday on the Seddon Channel near the Tampa Convention Center. The races were the first continental dragon boat championships held in the Americas.
The event featured nonprofessional, club-level paddlers who raced in smaller, ten-paddler boats rather than the standard twenty-paddler boats. In addition to the ten paddlers, each boat had a steering person and a drummer.
More than 60 teams from throughout the Pan American region - the United States, Canada, Central and South America and the Caribbean - competed in 200-, 500- and 2000-meter races on the Seddon Channel Regatta Course. The winning teams qualified for the World Club Crew Championships next year in Hong Kong.
Teams were composed of men and women of varying age groups. (One paddler from Charleston, SC was 80 years old!)
The Pan American races are a precursor to the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships, an international contest which runs this Wednesday through Sunday, August 3-7. The Championship is the highest level of competition in the sport of dragon boat racing.
The Athlete’s Village will be located inside the Tampa Convention Center, alongside the Worldwide Paddle Sports Expo.