DragonBoat racing returned to the Beaufort River after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic on Saturday June 25, and was an enormous success.

Twenty-nine teams, each consisting of 20 paddlers and a drummer, representing local businesses, churches, fitness centers, Sun City, as well as 11 club teams from around the southeast, competed in dragonboat races with the goal being gold medals and bragging rights. More than 700 people actively participated in the event that drew more than 2,000 spectators during the action-packed day of races.

The fastest time of the day in the 200-meter race was the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club at 41.96 seconds. The fastest local team was the Bluffton Paddle Club with a time of 46.26 seconds.

Race Day 2022 met this year’s fundraising goal with more than $75,000 raised by team members, their families and friends. All funds raised during Race Day go directly to support DragonBoat Beaufort’s Cancer Outreach Mission which helps support local people impacted by cancer.

DragonBoat Beaufort makes grants to cancer patients who live, work or receive treatment in Beaufort County to help with needs that are typically not met through traditional means. This was the eighth annual event for the nonprofit organization.

DragonBoat Beaufort is also grateful to its major sponsors: Start Line, Habersham Land Management, Finish Line, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Marshalling, Modern Jewelers, Registration Tent, Port Royal Sound Foundation.

The Port Royal Sound Foundation hosts DragonBoat Beaufort’s  paddling program at the Sharon and Dick Stewart Maritime Center.


Division Gold Medal Winners

Division A: Charleston Paddle Club Firebreathers, 00:55.84
Division B: Bluffton Paddle Club, 00:58.14
Division C: Knights of Columbus, 01:03.35
Division D: The Sea Witches/Beaufort Police & Fire, 01:01.61

Cancer Survivor Division: Mammoglams, Jacksonville, Fla.
Senior Division: Dragon Boat at the Beach, Pawley’s Island, S.C.


Top 3 Fundraising Teams

  1. Coosaw Point Fighting Squirrels, $8,110
    2. Bluffton Paddle Club, $7,845
    3. Beaufort Believers, $7,460


Top 5 Individual Fundraisers

  1. Nancy Frigon, $5,100
    Jean Caruso, $2,940
    3. Darlene McGrath, $2,705
    4. Morgan Crutchley, $2,355
    5. Laura Smith, $2,100


Photos by Steve Tate