By Craig Setzer

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — This week on Moving U, Meteorologist Craig Setzer hopped into a dragon boat and found paddling can be quite the workout.  But for many in South Florida, it’s the teamwork that makes it worth it. Craig met with Will Murphy, the founder of a Dragon boat racing team called the Blazing Paddles and he explained how the team gets ready for a race.

“We’re going to do some technique stuff at the beginning if we have time we’ll do some conditioning as well,” explained Will. “That’s fairly typically we’ll do some of each.”

Several times a week, adults of all ages get together to hone their skills at paddling a boat as fast as they can. It can be a challenge to get every paddler synchronized, so practice is necessary.

“We’re mostly worried about the position of the body, getting things exactly right. It won’t typically be terribly physically demanding on them.” Will added. “It’s just a matter of getting that muscle memory so in the heat of a race, the only way their body knows to paddle is the right way.”

Cynthia Smith is a team member of Blazing Paddles and has been a dragon boat lover for three years, everything about it is in her blood.

“What’s really cool about the sport is it’s only 2000 years old. And it originated in China,” Cynthia said.  “There’s a story, a legend, about how the sport started when there was a fisherman drowning and the dragon was going out to get him, and all the villagers jumped in their boats and paddled as quickly as they could out to try to save his life.  From that came the sport.”

For Cynthia, Dragon boat racing has a special significance.

“Well, I just made Team U.S.A. so I’m very very excited. I’ll be going to the world championships in October,” Cynthia added. “I’m particularly excited about this year, it moves from country to country and this year it is in China so going to the birth place of the sport is really awesome for me. I do everything, sometimes I’m the drummer, sometimes I’m the paddler, sometimes I steer.”

The sport is very social since everyone has to work together in order to stay in sync, but it is also very beneficial when it comes to fitness, Dragon Boat racing is like a triple threat. It helps your strength, and your cardio (both anaerobic and aerobic), and the paddling movements help your flexibility.

Blazing Paddles is a South Florida team that holds most practices in Broward County and Palm Beach County. If you are interested in joining the Blazing Paddles, click here for more information.

There are also a few other teams located in Miami:

Remember, CBS4 wants to know what’s Moving U. Email your story to and let us know what you’re doing to stay healthy and happy. Perhaps what moves you will inspire others as well!



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