Dragon Boat Festival '09

Photo Gallery

Dragon Boat races have become rather popular, and are held around the world. Tracing its origins to the sourthern provinces of China, it started more than 2000 years ago. Legend had it that Qu Yuan, an advisor to the Emperor, jump into the Mei Lo River to protest against government corruption. Being a popular and well liked fella, local fishermen raced out in their boats to try and save him. There's also the bit about rice dumplings being thrown in the water to distract the water dragons (or fish) from eating Qu Yuan's body. That last part is not part of the Dragon Boat racing, but Zongzi (rice dumpling) filled with all sorts of yummy bits are a delicous, edible portion of the festival.

These set of pictures are from the 2009 San Francisco Dragon Boat Festival, which was held at Treasure Island (between SF and Oakland). Over 100 teams participated in the races, with a nominal 6 teams in each race category.

Besides the races, there were all sorts of shows and acts on the main stage that ran all day. Entertainers include Tai Chi, Dance Troupes, Wu Shu, Singers, Lion Dancers, Acrobatics, Magic Show, Taiko Drumming, and Hawaiian and Tahitian Dancing. Best of all, there's no admission charge! Yep, not even parking. Can't beat that!

Nikon D300 w/ 70-300mm VR lens, D200 w/ 18-105mm VR lens - Bernard Zee

Dragon Boat racing was one of the earliest water sports. Takes teamwork, strength, and determination to excel.


The San Francisco skyline can be seen from this side of Treasure Island. The paddlers load up at the dock, and paddle to the other side of the race course to start.


Paddlers returning from a heat.


There are 20 paddlers to a boat, plus a steersman, and a drummer.


Depending on category, the dragon boats course is either 300m or 500m long.


The drummer keeps the paddlers synchronized, and would direct them to hold steady, or speed up, depending on the competition's positioning, and race strategy.


Seemed like lane 1 held the top seeds, as they consistently came out ahead.


Waiting for their heat to start at the assembly area.


There were some colorful outfits there...


These guys look worn out!


Waiting for their turn at paddle.


(Temporary) dragon tatoos were a common sight among the younger contestants.


Mr. Nemo hat wishing the paddlers luck.


Race organizer calling out the teams.


Pre-race jitters?


On the main stage, a Tai Chi demonstration by Chen Tai Chi.


Contratry to popular belief, Tai Chi CAN be speeded up, and used as a form of self defense. It's not just slow motion excercises!


Some Wu Shu flying kicks.


I believe from the San Francisco Wu Shu Team.


One of the Emcees was the lovely Regina Liang - who happened to be the current Teen Miss United Nations International.


A Chinese Dance by Mengru Liang.


Members of the Yau Kung Moon Martial Arts and Lion Dancers warm up 'backstage'.


Mengru Liang again in a different dance.


What did I tell you? Miss Teen United Nations 2009. She's so sweet!


Lion dancers wait to take the stage.


Yau Kung Moon Martial Arts brought 6 lions on to the stage!


Lion dancing is quite demanding, and requires a lot of strength, skill, and endurance.


I just LOVE to watch the lion dance. But it's the sound of the drums and symbols which hit a more primordial nerve!
Click play below to see what I mean.



A young lad takes his turn on the drums.


A lion was doing tricks off the red bench - here, catching a bit of air!


A picture postcard moment, as Regina Liang poses with all the lions and banners.


The crowd was entertained with vocal performances by 'Those Kids!'.


Some hip hop dancing too!


Kristine Law, and Carolyn Fung also helped to Emcee the show.


Back to the Dragon Boat Races for some Semis action.


Competition was tough!


Check out the drummers sizing each other up!


Crossing the finish line.


Chinese Acrobatics from the 'Red Panda Acrobats'.


Abraham Lincoln High School Dragon Boat team stretches prior to their final race.





A Vietnamese Folk Dance from the Chinese Folk Dance Association (I think).


Nice day out. Not too hot, and not cold at all - which is a treat for around TI.


Peacock dance!


A Mongolian dance about horseriding - if I remember correctly.


A solo dreaming about something dance. Forgive me, as my memory is terrible.


Fan dance! The fans are always in motion (I remember that part!).


Magic act by The Magic of Chin Chin.


Really cute Emcee Crystal Lee tries her hand at Taiko drumming.


That's the Emeryville Taiko Group on the drums.


Really love the beats of the Taiko drums, and there are some very accomplished groups around the bay area.


Kristine Law gets a chance on the drums too.


As did her co-Emcee Carolyn Fung.


A New Zealand islander canoe type dance, from A Touch of Polynesia.


Those look like weapons!


Going off memory, it's a Samoan dance.


An energetic Samoan slap dance by the young boy.



A Tahitian Dance?


My friend thinks the different islands have color coded outfits. I'm don't know about that...


I do think that I like the Tahitian dancing!


I don't know. Maybe Hawaiian?
I could lose weight just listening to it!



The cast from A Touch of Polynesia looks on backstage.


Doesn't that look like a sensual move?


Really enjoyed the dances and island music! However, the show had to wrap it up to make way for the awards ceremony!


A memeber of the Celestial Dragon team from Galileo High School waits for the awards to begin.


Cheers go up as the Emcee acknowledges the various visiting teams.


The High School Girls team from Galileo are excited to take to the stage as they are called.


The GCD Hotties get 3rd place in their division.


2nd place went to the Lowell-itas from Lowell High School.


The Lincoln Girls from Abraham Lincoln High School gets 1st place.


The Lowell girls cheer on the boys team...


The Lowell Riders get 3rd place in the High School Boys division.


2nd place went to the Lincoln Boys. Unpictured were the CYC (Community Youth Center) team, which got first place.


The Lincoln girls team cheer their school mates on.


Well, we didn't hang around for the rest of the awards ceremony. But congratulations to all the participants for a great race!


www.bernardzee.com