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North Shore Dragon Busters (NSDB) is a team of dragon boat paddlers who have one thing in common…each of us is a breast cancer survivor.

north shore dragon busters boat

North Shore Dragon Busters (NSDB) was formed in 2008, becoming the only community-based breast cancer survivor dragon boat team representing Vancouver’s’ North Shore.  We practice twice a week during the paddling season in picturesque Deep Cove.

Originating in 2001 as Abreast in the Cove, under the umbrella of the very first breast cancer dragon boat organization, Abreast in a Boat (AIAB), we were ready to venture forth as an independent team in order to better meet the needs of our community.  Our goal is to reach out more directly to survivors on the North Shore while continuing to raise breast cancer awareness both locally and throughout the world.  We believe that all breast cancer survivors have a right to experience the physical and psychological benefits that accrue from participation in this challenging sport.  Just as importantly, each time we paddle in Deep Cove or in local, regional or international regattas, people are reminded that there is hope after a cancer diagnosis for we are the living proof. Each time we participate in local community events such as Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Days, Safeway’s Think Pink Days, The Run for the Cure and the 24 Hour Relay for Life to name a few, that message is reinforced.

Our Motto:


We are dedicated to the following goals:

  • demonstrate that a full and active life is possible after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • participate in community events to create high visibility and a strong presence on the north shore
  • be a strong, cohesive and inclusive team while having fun and staying fit

Our History:

The first breast cancer dragon boat paddling team was formed in Vancouver in 1996  as a research project lead by Dr. Don McKenzie from UBC. Dr. Don had set out to prove that women treated for breast cancer could go on to lead active and athletic lives after treatment.  That first team of brave women entered a dragon boat into Vancouver’s original dragon boat festival and considered it a victory to have crossed the finish line.  By 2001 a north shore team called Abreast in the Cove was formed. This expanded the number of AIAB crews to 5 boats located throughout the lower mainland. Since then there have been more then 150 teams established worldwide.

In 2008 our team transitioned to a community-based team and the North Shore Dragon Busters was born.

We have done well in competitions both locally and internationally, winning many medals including a silver medal in the first World Championship Dragon Boat Regatta for Breast Cancer SurvivorsTen Years Abreast – held in Vancouver in 2005, where we ranked second out of 63 teams and placing 4th in the world at another such celebration, Abreast In Australia 2007 – held in Caloundra, Australia.

We believe in supporting our sponsor, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and our local community. Every year we help with raising awareness and fundraising for breast cancer and other community initiatives, such as homelessness and youth at risk on the North Shore.


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