Dragon Boat Races

Tuen Ng Festival
By Bill Cox, Epoch Times
June 16, 2016 1:52 am Last Updated: June 16, 2016 9:40 pm

HONG KONG—Dragon boat races took place in many centres around Hong Kong to celebrate the Tuen Ng festival on Thursday June 9 and these were followed by the International Dragon Boat Carnival held in Victoria Harbor on June 10-12.

For those who missed these events, there is still time to join the fun as races take place at Sai Kung on June14, Deep Water Bay on June 16, a short course event at Stanley on June 19, Tsing Yi on June 22, Tai O, Lamma Island on June 26, Mui Wo, Lantau Island on June 29 and Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island on July 1. There are also races at Shatin and Aldrich Bay (Shau Kei Wan) later in the year.

Dragon Boat races at the main beach, Stanley, on June 9, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)
Dragon Boat races at the main beach, Stanley, on June 9, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)

The carnival atmosphere prevailed at key locations on June 9, with the largest turnout at the Sun Life International Dragon Boat Championships held at the well know Stanley Beach location. Action started early in the morning and continued until 6pm. Great revelry takes place at these events with various organized entertainments, prizes for the squad showing the best team spirt as well as winners of the many categories of races.

Competitors and revelers at the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships 2016 on June 9, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)
Competitors and revelers at the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships 2016 on June 9, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)

The races at Aberdeen promenade provide a colourful sight with many fishing trawlers bedecked with flags moored along the entire length of the course. At fishing villages such as Tai O, on Lantau Island it is a real village atmosphere with local fishermen involved in the races.

The picturesque setting of the Aberdeen Dragon Boat Festival on June 9, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)
The picturesque setting of the Aberdeen Dragon Boat Festival on June 9, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival took place at the Victoria Harbour Central harbor-front instead of its traditional location at East Tsim Sha Tsui. The new position provides excellent facilities for racing with good rest areas, the use of Central Pier 10 for organising competitors and easy access to the boats. The start line is very close to the boarding area and the course heads west towards the Exhibition and Convention Centre. The course is lined with large barges to keep the water smooth and this also seemed successful.

Dragon Boats set off on race 30 of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival at the Central Harbour front on Sunday June 12, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)
Dragon Boats set off on race 30 of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival at the Central Harbour front on Sunday June 12, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)

Central Pier 10, the boat boarding area and the start position in the Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong Harbour on Sunday June 11, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)

This is a huge event with thousands of paddlers and many overseas international teams taking part but the wet and blustery conditions were a dampener to proceedings. Although races continued as normal, fewer spectators turned out to watch.

Central Pier 10, the boat boarding stage and the start positions for the Dragon Festival at Victoria Harbour on June 12, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)
Central Pier 10, the boat boarding stage and the start positions for the Dragon Festival at Victoria Harbour on June 12, 2016. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)

The new venue allows good viewing but on sunnier days organisers might need to consider better viewing arrangement to accommodate larger crowds. Competitors like the new arrangement: easier access, good changing and rest facilities. A separate area with more space for organizing teams and easy access to boarding boats are positives but washroom facilities were sighted as a little inadequate.