About Dragonboating

About Dragonboating

Since 2002, the Friends Abreast has been enjoying the fellowship of paddling regardless of age or physical abilities.



What's happening with the Dragonboat Society?


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Shuswap Dragon Boat Society - Friends Abreast

Our 2022 paddling season was a huge success with many events both on and off the water.  We were blessed with little smoke but we did have very warm temperatures.  I think though, only one practice was missed due to weather.

March & April

Book sale and Garage Sale.  All monies ($2897.85) from these events were donated to the Shuswap Hospital Foundation Mammography Unit Campaign.  

Some members also participated in a 4-week dryland training directed by Sandra Fromme. She was a great instructor. 


Team members teamed up with the Hospital Foundation Radio-thon. 

SDBS/Friends Abreast celebrated their 20th Anniversary. It was well represented by former paddlers and dignitaries.  

Our boat hit the water on the 26th with our first practice on the 31st. Kevin was our steer person and we owe a lot to him for his commitment all summer.


John Howard was our honoured guest in our Awakening the Dragon ceremony. Johns’ wife, Barb, was a founding member. She was very instrumental in the early years of Friends Abreast.  Unfortunately, she succumbed to breast cancer in 2011.  Over the years, John has been a faithful supporter in her honour with donations to the team. Thank you, John. 

Salmon Arm held their first Dragon Boat festival since 2019.  Although it was not a full competitive festival, we still had a Carnation Ceremony to honour breast cancer survivors and those who have passed away.  Thank you to Shuswap Association Rowing & Paddling for organizing it.  Our new member, Loraine, was able to participate. 


Our first PJ paddle since 2019 was a fun event.  We enjoyed each others company with a light breakfast that followed the paddle. 

Janet, Gaye, Dorothea and Margaret joined the Vernon Dragon Riders in the Vernon Festival. That was a lot of fun.  Thank you, Dorothea for being brave to join in your first ever festival.

The Shuswap Hospital Foundation presented SDBS a silver plaque which will be displayed on their Recognition Wall for our donations. 

A donation was made to the Prostate Cancer Foundation in honour of Clive Spiller, our former coach Audrey’s husband. Clive passed away in June. 


SDBS/Friends Abreast was able to present Alexa Robinson with our annual Bursary.  We wish her all the best in her studies.

Janet & Gaye participated in the Kamloops festival.  They joined the Pink Pistons and the Vernon Dragon Riders. 

On an August morning paddle, the team honoured a founding member, Audrey Stafranski, a breast cancer survivor, who passed away.  Barb Puetz, gave a brief talk and a moment of silence was dedicated to Audrey.  Team members then threw carnations on the lake which is symbolic for breast cancer survivors. 

Friends Abreast team members joined the Pink Pistons for a guest paddle with School District 83.  That was a fun event as none of the guests had ever experienced dragon boating.

On August 26, we pulled the boat out and put it to bed for the winter.  Thank you to members and spouses who were able to help pull it out and clean it up for its long winters nap.  We couldn’t do it without our driver Kevin and Gene’s truck.  We did have a little glitch with the trailer tire but Neil who just happened to have a portable air compressor was able to pump it up and get us on our way.

Friends Abreast met at PJs Restaurant to have a breakfast with former coach Audrey Spiller. It was so nice to see her.

Also, we had the pleasure of having 4 SACL (Salmon Arm Community Living) staff join us for a guest paddle. 


 Gaye participated in the Penticton festival with the Pink Pistons.

 SDBS participated in the annual Terry Fox Run.  A big thank you to all who donated and were able to come out to participate in the run. 

We had our season windup at Gary & Donna Hazell’s home.  We had a great turnout and of course more food than we could consume.  Thank you to our hosts for opening your home for our event. 


 October is breast cancer awareness month. This was the first time since 2019 that we were able to hand out carnations to women. It is also our way to remind them to book mammograms.  This is a long-standing annual tradition for Friends Abreast. We thank Save On Foods for donating the carnations for this meaningful event. Also, thank you Picadilly Mall for letting us use the meeting room to prepare our carnations. 

As you can see, SDBS had a very busy season.  Thank you to all members who made this paddle season a huge success.  We also want to thank the Shuswap Grey Grebes for teaming up with us on some practices when neither team had just quite enough paddlers to take the boats out. It was a great way to get to know another dragon boat team.  Also, we had recruited some new members – Karen, Janey, Loraine, Dorothea, Glenda and Heather.  Thank you for giving Dragon Boating a try.   We hope to see you all next season.  By the way, if you have a friend that is looking for a new water sport next year promote dragon boating. Our team will do our best to make it a rewarding experience.  😊






Membership Information

We welcome new paddlers – survivors and supporters alike. No experience necessary – we will teach you to paddle.

If you are interested in joining the Shuswap Dragon Boat Society, either as a Paddling Team Member or Friend of the Boat, please email us at and complete our membership application and waiver form and review our safety guidelines.


Contact Us:

Shuswap Dragon Boat Society
P.O. Box 1195
Salmon Arm BC V1E 4P3


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