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In 2001, two years after the formation of Tempe Town Lake, a small group of Arizonans had an interest in water sports but no experience to guide them. Acting on what many thought was a crazy idea, practice began on milk crates on the side of a swimming pool. 

In the Fall of 2002, the AZ Gila Dragons was officially formed as Arizona’s first dragon boating club. Love of the sport, the competition, and social connections have kept our enthusiasm running high ever since. The Gilas are often referred to as “the drinking team with a paddling problem”!

From those humble beginnings, the Gilas have expanded to include the Arizona SunGi women’s team and the Arizona Monsoon open team, and have competed in Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Vancouver, Boston, Houston, Denver, Portland, San Francisco, Long Beach, and many other festival locations. 

Today, we're a diverse group of friends and family who come together at Tempe Town Lake for paddling, fierce competition, and after-practice libations.

Members of the Arizona Dragon Boat Association, we still compete in Dragon Boat festivals both across the world and in our own backyard.

Catch the latest team updates, pics and videos in our Facebook group.