Every year, a toxic lagoon in Flushing Meadows Park in Corona, Queens fills up with long boats crammed with 20 paddlers from all over the United States and the world. They are there to see who can paddle their dragon the fastest across the finish line. The event may appear curious to first-time onlookers, but for Maureen Lee, it’s old hat.

It’s not that paddling dragon boats isn’t fun. It’s contagiously fun. It’s just that for Lee, dragon boating has become akin to putting on a shirt in the morning. It’s a part of her daily grind, to the point that she can’t really imagine her life without it.

Maureen has been paddling for a decade. She raced with Team USA in 2013. She swept gold cups with her team, DCH Racing, in the women’s category of the 2018 International Dragon Boat Championships in Hong Kong—the cradle of the sport. These recent exploits didn’t make the pages of The New York Times, which focused its coverage of the race on two boats that capsized while practicing prior to the race, and then on a preview of a team of blind racers from Hong Kong. But Lee and the local champs just went on doing what they love—another practice, another race, another win. Let the video above show you how dragon boating can change your life, too.


Producer/Cinematographer: Jorge Corona
Second Camera: Santiago GarcĂ­a, Hannah Whisenant
Editor: Jorge Corona, Anders Kapur
Senior Producer: Kiran Chitanvis