Club History

Dragon boating began in Port Lincoln in August 2004 as a Dragons Abreast Club supported by the Adelaide dragon boat club, Water Warriors. Our first training on the water was in a 10’s boat on 21st September 2004 with sixteen paddlers.

Gradually the members interested in competitive paddling decided to form an independent sporting club affiliated with Water Warriors. By December 2004, the Port Lincoln Water Warriors club had eighteen paddlers & was looking forward to its first competition, The Port Adelaide Pub Challenge in which Port Lincoln won the Women’s 10’s.

In August 2005, the club took delivery of the first boat we could call our own – Dame Ruby- a bright red Dragon Boat on lease from the original Chinese Dragon Boat Club

in Adelaide. Our first coach was a member of the Police Force, Rick Errington. Rick was a very enthusiastic supporter of dragon boating and took the club to its first Masters Games in 2005

After training all through the winter, we went to the Adelaide Masters Games in October 2005 and won a silver medal in the Women’s Elite 10’s Class. By February 2006, men in Port Lincoln were starting to realise that dragon boating was a great fun & fitness sport and the club participated in the Pub Challenge again, winning the social mixed 10’s and the social women’s 10’s trophies.

At the AGM held in June 2006, we became an incorporated club with the new name of Blue Water Raiders Port Lincoln Dragon Boat Club. In the two years since the club started, members managed to raise enough money to purchase their own boat from China & build a trailer. In September 2006 club members travelled to Broome to compete in the Broome Dragon Boat Regatta, and in extreme weather conditions won the Broome Cup.

In November 2006, the new boat was officially blessed and launched. Another red boat and we named him Raiders Ark, affectionately known as Arkie. Arkie is still with us in Port Lincoln and is still looking in excellent condition. The club competed in Masters Games in 2005, 2007 and 2008, winning silver and gold medals.

In June 2008, a team of nineteen travelled to Kununurra to paddle in the Ord River Marathon, 57 kms. This was a paddle those participating will always remember. With the club having limited opportunity to do competitive racing, due to the tyranny of distance, club members enjoy paddling at different locations along the coastline around Port Lincoln.

Fund raising has been a large part of Blue Water Raiders, but our efforts have been worthwhile with the purchase and erection of a large shed in which to store our boats/trailers/gear. The shed is on City Council land & we pay a peppercorn rent, which works really well. The shed was opened in December 2009.

The shed has become the hub of the club with a celebratory breakfast on the first Saturday each month cooked by Chilli.

The second boat was purchased in August 2013. This one is blue & has been named Chilli Blue to honour one of our member’s untiring efforts in boat and shed maintenance and being the club’s Mr Fixit. As a means of expanding the club’s membership base and to grow the sport of dragon boating on Eyre Peninsula, BWR established a subsidiary branch in Tumby Bay in 2012. Arkie has been a resident in Tumby Bay since that time.

Club members have competed at some regattas in Adelaide particularly the Round Island Race. Members have also been supportive of regattas in SA regional areas e.g the Ceduna Masters Games, Port Pirie Masters and regattas at Wallaroo. In 2010 we competed in the SA State Titles.

Our members have been supportive of regional teams made up of SA regional club members. In 2009 a West Coast Regional Team, made up of members from Port Lincoln, Streaky Bay and Ceduna, competed in the Masters Games in Mildura. The first SA regional team to compete at the Australian National championships was coached by Steve Clinch and competed in Adelaide in 2010. Two years later the SA regional team, coached by Dave Watkinson competed in the National Championships in Melbourne. In 2011 BWR, coached by Dave Watkinson, attended the Australian Masters Games in Adelaide on the Torrens and won gold and silver in the 20’s mixed categories. 

In February 2016, DAPL and BWR members travelled to Tasmania to compete in the 4 Bridges Marathon down the Derwent River. This was a wonderful event and thoroughly enjoyable.

In February 2017, a joint initiative of DAPL and BWR held the first Hat Regatta for SA Regional clubs at Port Lincoln. This was a resounding success and has been taken up by other regional clubs – Wallaroo February 2018, Streaky Bay February 2019 and Kangaroo Island for February 2020.

Future plans include the Hat Regatta in February 2020, and the Wallaroo Regatta in November 2019.