Team Selection

Each year, the team aims for a squad of 25 paddling members. With a dragon boat normally carrying 22 including the drummer (caller) and sweep (steerer), a degree of rotation is required for training and regattas. The Coach and team captain will decide regatta participation based on performance, fitness and training attendance. The safety of all members is paramount at all times. 

If you are interested in joining Busting With Life or just want to know more about the team, please head over to our contact us page

Busting With Life in action!

Busting With Life in action!

Uniforms and Equipment 

Virtually all team attire and equipment is provided by the team on a “loan” basis for as long as you are a paddling member. Two items will need to be purchased and other items are available.

Purchase (required)

Team logo 3/4 dress shirt

Experience has shown that the following are also helpful:

  • Slip-proof on-the-boat footwear such as aqua shoes

  • Water bottle and water bottle belt

  • Cap clip (clip your hat onto your shirt)

  • Sunglasses with strap/retainer

  • Waterproof pouch – for keys, money

  • Thermal top and leggings for those chilly days

  • A light shower proof jacket for on-the-water use





Dri-light training top


Polar fleece sleeveless vest

Regatta top


Team structure and organisation

Initially under the wings of the Auckland Breast Cancer Support Service, Busting With Life was incorporated as a society in 2004.

A 7 member leadership committee addresses all management, administration, team development, fund raising, and operational matters in accordance with the team’s charter.

  • The president is elected for a term of two years, and can only hold the position for two terms (4 years)

  • All other leadership committee members are elected annually by the membership at the Annual General Meeting


A qualified coach is appointed by the leadership committee to develop the paddling skills and racing strategy expertise of the team, and to direct an overall fitness program. The training program is fundamental to the success of the team and to paddler enjoyment, so the coach is a key player. He/she strives to achieve the team’s on-the-water goals while being keenly aware of the motivational requirements of 25 individuals.


Appointed by the coach with the endorsement of the Leadership Committee, a team captain is appointed to provide on-the-water leadership and guidance. The captain also acts as spokesperson at regattas, and keeps the team organised at events. A key role, the captain plays an important coach – committee – team liaison role, and needs to be aware of all factors that might impact on-the-water performance.


The only pre-requisite is a history of breast cancer. Age, athletic ability and previous paddling experience are not issues.

Sweep (Steerer):

An important position requiring dragon boat experience, good upper body strength and special training, the sweep keeps the boat going the right direction. The team aims to have 2 paddlers trained as sweeps.

Caller (Drummer):

The caller is in charge of the boat in races – calling out stroke timing, what paddle stroke to be used, and urging the team on throughout the race. Strong timing is required, an ability to read the distance on the water… and a loud voice. Timid people need not apply

Training schedule and regattas

Weekly training schedule: 

  • Monday's 6:00pm-7:00pm. Report time 5:30pm for warm up

  • Wednesday's 6:00pm-7:00pm. Report time 5:30pm for warm up

The dragon boat season generally starts in October and continues through to the end of March.

  • We kick-off in late September with a team gathering – to greet new members and catch up with the old

  • On-the-water training in the dragon boat starts in October, initially with twice weekly sessions (Monday and Wednesday evenings) held at Westhaven marina.

  • There are generally four regattas held within New Zealand each year and international regattas are typically held every two years.

  • The team strives to raise funds / obtain grants to allay travel and related costs, but when not possible, individual members cover their own costs.

Training site: Westhaven - Pier Z (City end of Westhaven - near Swashbucklers)