Coastal Rowing – are you ready for something new?


Coastal Rowing – really one of our sport division which has picked up very much during the past years. Read our guest post from Tim Fenemore. He is very enthusiastic about this sports. Interesting and passionate story.

You may have noticed a few pictures appearing on your Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Instagram accounts and websites… they show racing around buoys in close proximity to other boats and maybe even some waves. Welcome to the world of Coastal or Offshore rowing!

What they don’t show you is just how much fun you can have if you try this new and emerging section of our sport.

Difficult: Starting your boat: Credit: Maritime Rowing

Over the past 6 months I’ve been lucky enough to try out Coastal Rowing and even compete in the National and Welsh Championships – how many 50+ years olds can say that about the sport they are involved in?

This says quite a lot about the sport – you will find that your fellow rowers and competitors are very welcoming and keen to offer advice. This openness was striking during the British Championships at Sandbanks last year where everyone ‘pitched in’ to help make sure that launching and beaching of boats was a safe as possible – an essential factor when your pride and joy is in the shore break as you run up the beach to the finish line.

Racing in heats of over 4km and finals over 6km is not for the faint hearted… perhaps surprisingly, your fellow Coastal competitors cover a wide range of age, height and weight, maybe the established ‘rules of thumb’ for success are different to ‘Fine Boat’ rowing?

Coastal Rowing along the Toronto Skyline Credit: Rowing in Europe

Coastal Rowing – Are you ready

The most noticeable thing though, is the ‘vibe’. At this point you may be thinking “what the hell has this to do with rowing? I just want to focus on perfecting my technique and go as fast as I can”. Well trust me, it’s different in Coastal. Yes, we all want to go as fast as possible and beat our fellow competitors… and eight boats heading flat out for the first buoy may lead to a certain amount of ‘jockeying’ for position, but we all want to enjoy the sport and be an active part of the Coastal family. Perhaps the approachability of fellow rower stems from the fact that if you are up to 2km offshore you all need to be prepared to help a fellow competitor if they have a problem.

FISA Coastal Tour in Italy,

Maybe it is because the equipment and techniques are still evolving; maybe it’s the disco music blasting out from the beach during the start and finishes; maybe it’s the people who are so open and friendly; perhaps the manoeuvrability of the boats, (even though a FISA single weighs around 35kgs); it could be the sun, sand and waves. Whatever it is, I’m hooked!

What about Fine boat rowing?

Don’t think that this means giving up Fine Boat rowing though, I’m finding that the strength, coordination and flexibility you develop give a boost when I step back into a boat that is half the weight.

Over the next few blogs I’ll explore the boats, competitions and some of the tips that have been shared with me so far. If this sparks your interest, or you can also help to provide advice to people who are interested in Coastal Rowing let us know.

Remember though – bring an open mind, excitement, respect for your fellow competitors and leave the blazer at home – bring a pair of flip-flops and enjoy!

Tim Fenemore, Hollowell Scullers Rowing Club


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mak

    Coastal rowing is fantastic, it is tactical, takes strength of body and mind, utalises the techniques you develop for fine boat rowing and adds a few more (afterall fine boat rowing is mostly in straightish lines, no sharp corners round bouys, relatively flat water, and predefined lanes to row in – no chance of 20 boats fighting to get round a tight corner at once – and that is before you add beach starts and finishes to it), but mostly it is totally inclusive, really friendly with unbeatable comradery.

    My first experience was to attempt the Eddystone Challenge, a 45km coastal endurance race from Plymouth round the Eddystone Lighthouse and back. Unfortunately, on the day the water was a little too rough for safe racing so we race a 17km course closer to the shore. There is something magical about pushing a coastal quad over the crest of a wave and surfing down the otherside.

    My body complained for a week after the event, but I was hooked, and went on to train and compete in the World Rowing Coastal Championships in 2016 and 2017 in CM4+. Unfortunatley due to the lack of clubs in the north of England with sliding seat coastal boats and the belief in the club I am a memeber of that coastal rowing is not proper rowing, I have had to take a pause from the sport for a while, but one day this 50+ body will be back on coastal waters with my fiancée again once I have found a suitable club to row with.

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