2006 - Original Draggin' Dragons Team and SW Florida's First Dragon Boat Team
Early in 2006, Bob Brazeau, an elite dragon boat athlete and native of Canada, convinced some friends at Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda, Florida, to form a paddling club. Because they did not have a boat initially, they sat on the edge of a pool to learn the dragon boat paddle stroke.
In time, the early members of the club pooled their money and purchased a dragon boat, incorporated as The Charlotte Harbor Paddlers (CHP), gained 501 (c)(3) status, and formed Southwest Florida's first dragon boat team, Draggin' Dragons. The team competes in races across the state of Florida.
With the growth of the sport, membership, and racing opportunities, in 2014, Charlotte Harbor Paddlers added an elite senior mixed 10 person team, Rogue Dragons, which competed (and medaled) on the international stage at the 2015 Pan American Club Crew Championship held in Welland, Canada. In 2016, the club formed Southwest Florida's first all-women's team named Vogue Dragons.
Today, dragon boat racing is held all over the world and is one of the fastest-growing international water sports. The crew of a standard dragon boat is typically 22, comprising 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, 1 drummer or caller at the bow facing toward the paddlers, and 1 sweep (a steerer) standing at the rear of the boat. Dragon boats vary in length and the crew size will change accordingly, from small dragon boats with 10 paddlers up to the traditional boats which typically seat 20 paddlers.