Paddle the Dragon
June 9, 2012

Join us at this year's Northwest Adventure Sports Festival for the run of the Paddle the Dragon Race.

Paddle the Dragon races are part of the Race for Your Life series and are open to all human-powered watercraft.

Come to compete or just to watch this incredible array of boats, including standup paddle boards, surf skis, kayaks, canoes, dragon boats, native canoes and outrigger canoes!

This year there are two course options, the long or short course. All long course paddler times will be entered into the Race for Your Life point series.

Short course:
5K (3.1 nautical miles or 2.7 miles)
Long course: 15K (8.1 nautical miles or 9.3 miles)

Course may be changed to Port Gamble bay if there is severe weather conditions on the canal. Distance is the same.

* Click for 2010 kayak race results

* Click for 2011 kayak race results

Race Courses

Click to Enlarge Image of Race Course

Race Description

The Race Start/Finish line for both courses will be a line that extends straight out from the break water on the West side of Port Gamble Bay. On the water please listen for the following signals: 5 shorts blasts of the horn signifies 5 minutes until the start of the race. Three short blasts will mean 1 minute until the start. One Long Blast- Giddy-up!

Long Course

Long Course (8nm)- At the start head straight out for the brightly covered turn buoy located just outside of the entrance of driftwood key. You won’t be able to see the buoy from the start but there is a prominent point on the eastern shoreline that will serve as your guide. Paddlers will go around the outside of turn buoy 1 (bright pink) and head across the Hood Canal. Turn buoy 2 (bright pink) will be located just West of Hoods Head. The buoys will be identical in shape size and color. There will be safety boaters positioned along the route you may follow like a trail of bread crumbs. Please round turn buoy 2 to the outside as well. From here paddlers will make their way past Hoods Head (keep an eye out for the dragon) and head South back to the Start/Finish line in Port Gamble. The Tide will be going out for the race, which means the water will be flowing from the South to the North, so take that into consideration as you navigate the course.

Short Course

Short Course (3nm)- At the start short course paddlers will line up for the start will the rest of the field. The course will follow the eastern shoreline North toward Driftwood Key. South of Driftwood Key there is a prominent range marker (1.5nm) that is visible from the start line. The Short Course turn buoy (Pink) will be placed adjacent to the range marker. All paddlers must round the buoy clockwise, starting on the offshore side of the buoy and ending up on the inshore side of the buoy as racers make their way South back toward Port Gamble. It is important that racers follow the convention established when rounding the buoy to avoid collisions.

Venue Layout

Boat Classification

All seaworthy crafts are welcome; canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, surf skis, outrigger canoes, ...

It is your responsibility to ensure that your vessel has adequate flotation/buoyancy on the day of the race and that you are capable of meeting any challenges of the course.

Click to find your Boat Classification from Sound Rowers.

SK - Sea Kayak
SK2 - Sea Kayak Double
FSK - Fast Sea Kayak
FSK2 - Fast Sea Kayak Double
HPK - High Performance Kayak
HPK2 - High Performance Double
OC1 -  Outrigger Class
OC2 - Outrigger Class
OC6 - Outrigger Class
OW -  Open Water
SUP - Standup Paddleboard

Many thanks to Sound Rowers for developing the boat classifications we use. Please support SR by joining and attending their year long series of races around Puget Sound.

Click on table below to open the boat classification table. Boat classifications are determined by taking the length of the boat divided by the width in inches and then selecting the class.

Boat Classifications Sea Kayak

paddle the dragon

Race Registration

Entry Fees:

Adult $45
Youth (17 & Under) $25
Outrigger Team $12/person (4 or more members)

Late registration pricing, June 3-day-of:

Adult $50
Youth (17 & Under) $30
Outrigger Team $18/person (4 or more members)

Boat Rentals Available

Single Kayak Rental: $30
Double Kayak Rental: $40

Registration includes: event t-shirt, awards, raffle ticket for great outdoor gear and full admission.

Full Admission includes access to all demos, classes, venues, beach pass, the works.


  • A safety boat and safety kayakers will be on hand.
  • All race boats must be seaworthy, inherently buoyant (decked boats should have air bags or foam flotation), and capable of self rescue in the event of a capsize.
  • Flat water racing and training boats are not allowed.
  • Paddlers must wear a PFD and carry a whistle.
  • Paddlers must be dressed for immersion.
  • Paddle or boat leashes are highly recommended.
  • A VHF radio and/or visual signaling devices are highly recommended.


All racers must check in at the registration table prior to the start of the race (even if you are paddling a tandem!). We reserve the right to delay/adjust the start time based on the tides and weather, or if safety precautions warrant it. All participants must sign a release form.

Racers can drop their boat off before Checking In at registration. There is an adequate beach for setting up your gear.

Ferry Schedules

This race is on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula, so paddlers from the Seattle side will take a relaxing 30 or 35 minute ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston or from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island. We are 15 minutes from Kingston and 35 minutes from the Bainbridge ferry terminal. Always check ferry schedule before planning your trip. These are estimated times.
Click for WSF Ferry Schedule


We are seeking volunteers for water and land assistance. If you would like to help, please email us at  Positions include; Racer and Volunteer check-in, Beach Crew to provide assistance to the racers, Timing Crew, Clean-up, etc.

Registration and Payment

Paddlers can register separately or together if a team or in a double.

We accept credit cards or PayPal and the process is 100% secure.

2012 Paddle the Dragon Race Info

Saturday June 9th
Port Gamble, Washington
47.8583 N, 122.5800 W
2012-06-09 3:45 AM PDT 4.99 feet Low Tide
2012-06-09 5:11 AM PDT Sunrise
2012-06-09 8:36 AM PDT 7.78 feet High Tide
2012-06-09 3:14 PM PDT 0.25 feet Low Tide
2012-06-09 9:08 PM PDT Sunset
2012-06-09 10:28 PM PDT 10.90 feet High Tide

*Parking available on the Port Gamble water front.

Race Day Schedule

7:00am- Paddler registration and check-in open
9:30am- Registrations will close to allow for data entry
9:30am- Racer check-in will close
9:30am- Safety team meeting
9:45am- Racers meeting (Required for all Racers)
10:30am- Race Start
1:30pm- Course cleared
1:30 pm- Awards/Raffle