Cape Gazette

Video: Dragon boat races raise more than $10,000

Striper Bites, Schell, Pilot's Association are top paddlers
By Ron MacArthur | Sep 21, 2013
Photo by: Ron MacArthur Supporters of The Bad Hair Day team cheer from the shoreline in Canalfront Park.

More than 400 paddlers on 21 teams competed for the coveted first Lewes Dragon Boat Festival championship oar. After 21 heat races on Sept. 15, it came down to the 12 top teams racing against the clock.

Racers paddled a course set up in the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, ending in front of Canalfront Park, where thousands gathered to cheer them on.

In the final four races, Striper Bites finished three seconds ahead of second-place Schell Fire Breathers to claim first place. Pilot's Association Dragon Anchors, Team NVR and Built rounded out the top five. Less than two seconds separated second through fourth place and just one-tenth of a second separated second and third place.

Rounding out the top 12 were: 6 - Big Eye Tunas; 7 - Griffin and Hackett Power Strokers; 8 - Cape Gazette Flood Tides; 9 - Bad Hair Day Yin Yangs; 10 - Law Offices of Scott and Shuman; 11 - Sussex Academy Dragon Wagon; and 12 - Double Nickel.

Thousands crowded into Canalfront Park to see the first-of-its-kind event in the area. "The event went really well," said organizer Krista Griffin, herself a former dragon boat racer as part of the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association. "We had outstanding community support, and the teams were way beyond enthusiastic. Everyone had so much fun."

Proceeds of more than $10,000 went to Sussex Academy's capital campaign fund. The Georgetown charter school is adding high school to its offerings starting with ninth grade this year.

Professional steersmen from Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing guided teams during each race. In the finals, teams bid for their favorite professional.

Griffin said she and the rest of the organizing team – husband Stuart Griffin and Gina Derrickson – plan to meet with the school and City of Lewes officials to discuss the event. "We'd love to do it again if they all agree," she said. "It's a signature event we've created for Sussex Academy."

It was all about the teams. The Dirty Oars team made up their own song and posted it on Facebook; Bad Hair Day had its own foam head dressings; Big Eye Tunas made their own large dragon head; and the the all-female Girls with the Dragon Boat Tattoos sported temporary dragon tattoos. The Dogfish Head team didn't finish in the top 12, but they held their own as the best-dressed team.


1. Striper Bites, 1:12.35; 2. Schell Fire Breathers, 1:15.37; 3. Pilot's Association Dragon Anchors, 1:15.47; 4. Team NVR, 1:16.02; 5. Built, 1:16.27; 6. Big Eye Tunas, 1:17.54; 7. Griffin and Hackett Power Strokers, 1:18.47; 8. Cape Gazette Flood Tides, 1:19.39; 9. Bad Hair Day Yin Yangs, 1:26.56; 10. Law Offices of Scott and Shuman, 1:26.83; 11. Sussex Academy Dragon Wagon, 1:27.10; 12. Double Nickel, 1:29.13.

See complete results at

Dragon boats invade Lewes
(Video by: Ron MacArthur)
Members of Striper Bites react after learning they won the inaugural Lewes Dragon Boat Festival. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Thousands crowd Canalfront Park for the first dragon boat races. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The Pilot's Association Dragon Anchors won all of its heat races and finished third overall, losing out on second place by one-tenth of a second. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Striper Bites ends up winning this close heat race with Team NVR and Law Offices of Scott and Shuman. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Schell Fire Breathers came on strong later in the day to finish in second place. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Lewes Mayor Jim Ford dots the eye on a dragon boat to start the festival. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Bad Hair Day team members (l-r) are Lynne Rowan, Allison Donohue and Sarah Rowan. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Team NVR finished in fourth place during the day-long festival. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The heat is off with Pilot's Association, front, Built and Dogfish Head on the water. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The Girls with the Dragon Boat Tattoos are ready to race. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Dragon boats, coming in from a race and getting ready to race, fill Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Enzo Zechiel, part of the Big Eye Tunas team, puts on a ceremonial dragon head. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Double Nickel finished in the top 12 and then went on to finish 12th overall. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The Girls with the Dragon Tattoos didn't finish in the top 12 teams, but probably had as much fun as any team. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Keeping their strokes to a drum beat, members of Natural Lawn Dragon Ladies paddle in the canal. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The Cape Gazette Flood Tides won two of three heats and finished in eighth place. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Griffin and Hackett Power Strokers and Built are neck and neck. Both teams finished in the top 10. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Lotus Chiropractic, the first team to practice last week, didn't finish in the money. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Krista Griffin, who has dragon boat racing experience, helped organize the event.
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