Dragon boating is very much rooted in Chinese history. For over two thousand years traditional thirty-men oared-longboats were used for naval warfare on the Yangzi River in China, eventually they evolved into a spectator sport known as 'competitive crossing' or 'Jeeng-Doo' – part race, part combat!
In 1976 world nations were invited to race for the first time in the traditional Hong Kong Festival Races that year. This date became known as the 'Modern Era' of dragon boating.
The European Dragon Boat Association (EBDA) formed in 1990 to represent its nations and athletes at the growing number of international events worldwide. Shortly after, the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) was officially formed in June 1991.
The Asian Dragon Boat Federation (ADBF) followed later in 1992, with the Oceania Federation being established in 2008.
As one of two governing bodies for the sport, the IDBF functions out of Beijing with Min Xiao (CHN) as President and Mike Haslam (GBR) as Executive President. The other federation responsible for dragon boat activity is the International Canoe Federation (ICF).
The IDBF organises international races, particularly at 'club level' in Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden to name a few. It also standardises dragon boat competition regulations and represents its national and continental member associations administratively at international level.
In 2007 the General Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF, now known as SportAccord) accepted the IDBF as dragon boating's world governing body, later becoming a member in 2007.