Our club got its start in the mid 1990’s when Rodger Garfinkle and Linda Lee became the coach and manager of the eDragons, an Oakland based team that raced in local festivals. By 2002 eDragons joined forces with the Berkeley Dragons to officially become DragonMax and set up operations in the Berkeley Marina. The team took its name from Rodger and Linda’s daughter, Maxine, because they were draggin’ Max to all the races!
Enthusiasm for paddling grew and eventually team members didn’t want to take the long layoff that came each winter because of the short days. Under the umbrella of the Berkeley Racing Canoe Center, born in 2003, DragonMax became the only Bay Area team with year round training, using lights to navigate during the dark winter practices. By 2014, the club expanded its fleet to 4 dragon boats and its available practices to 5 days a week.
The diversity of Berkeley and its neighboring communities is mirrored when a crew hits the water. By working together, there’s room for everyone from the novice paddler to the most competitive who races internationally! With over 180 members at all ages and stages in life, ability levels and experience, there’s something for everyone.
As part of the Berkeley Racing Canoe Center, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, we’re committed to community service and give free dragon boat rides to over 1,500 community members and groups each year. All comers, kids included, take advantage of these rides during the Bay Fest and 4th of July festivals put on by the city of Berkeley. Camps, school groups, and clubs seek us out as partners for outings specially targeted to their age groups. Corporate work groups have returned time and again for team building sessions on the water.
There’s a place for everyone in dragon boating. We find great joy in being on the water with one another and think you will too. Come try us out!