As Dragon Boating began to gain a strong foothold in the United States in the 1990’s a group of paddling enthusiasts got together to talk about forming a National organization that could govern the direction of Dragon Boat racing in the United States.
In 1998, and into 1999 members of the American Dragon Boat Association (ADBA), along with members from the Philadelphia Dragon Boat community and others met and set in motion the paperwork to form the United States Dragon Boat Federation. (USDBF)
In 2000, the USDBF was officially recognized by the IRS as a non-profit, 501 c 3 organization. At this same time, the ADBA formally advised the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) that it was giving up its recognition as the sole governing body for the United States at the International level. This opened the door for the IDBF to recognize the newly formed USDBF as the governing body for the US.
Since this time, the USDBF has been recognized both nationally and internationally as the national governing body for the United States.
The mission of the USDBF is to promote the growth and development of dragon boating in the US for fitness, recreation, and team building at all levels of competition. The organization offers training, clinics and certification for dragon boating officials, coaches, paddlers and festival organizers.
The USDBF is currently comprised of 4 regions:
- ERDBA – Eastern Region Dragon Boat Association
- SRDBA – Southeastern Region Dragon Boat Association
- ADBA – American Dragon Boat Association
- PDBA – Pacific Dragon Boat Association
Each of the four regions have their own membership requirements for clubs, teams, festivals or vendors. The members of the region range from once a year recreational paddlers who only come for a specific event in their area, to hard-core paddlers who practice daily on and off the water. The USDBF represents youth through Great Grand Dragon Paddlers, as well as special interest groups such as our Breast Cancer Survivors crews, which have been growing in leaps and bounds in the last 15 years.
As a member of the International Dragon Boat Federation, the USDBF sends a National Team (Team USA) to IDBF World Championship events that are held in odd numbered years at various locations around the world. Members of Team USA are selected via tryouts that are held in each region of the USDBF.
The IDBF also looks to the USDBF, via its member regions, to send Club Crews to the IDBF Club Crew Championships that are held around the world in the even numbered years. To help with this selection process, the USDBF organizes a Club Crew National Championship during the odd numbered years, to select the National Champion in various racing divisions.
The USDBF is a volunteer organization dedicated to the sport of dragon boat racing.