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Coastal Rowing and Beach Sprint Championships bound for Sunshine Coast

Mooloolaba on Queensland’s famous Sunshine Coast will play host to one of the most-exciting up and coming water sports in the world after securing hosting rights for the 2023 Australian Coastal Rowing and Beach Sprint Championships, which for the first time incorporates the Oceania Championships. 

Coastal Rowing is a high-octane, white-water variant of traditional flat-water racing and a discipline on the rise, having been included in the program for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria and on the radar for both the LA 2028 and Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Now the best athletes in Australia and the region are ready to gather at Mooloolaba Beach from July 27-30 to bring a slice of the action to the Sunshine Coast in what shapes as a key lead-in event to the ANOC World Beach Games in Bali in early August. 

Rowing Australia Chief Operating Officer Sarah Cook said the excitement was building as rowing prepares to end a 40-year hiatus at the Commonwealth Games and waits on a decision about inclusion in the program for Los Angeles in 2028. 

“We’re delighted to be holding the Australian Coastal Rowing and Beach Sprint Championships in Mooloolaba this year and having Oceania Championship status only adds to the quality of the racing,” Cook said. 

“Interest and excitement around Coastal Rowing continues to grow at a rapid rate after the inclusion of Beach Sprints in the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games and the 2026 Youth Olympic Games in Senegal. 

“Coastal Rowing’s profile has grown rapidly since it was confirmed as part of the Commonwealth Games in 2026 and we eagerly await news of potential inclusion at LA 2028.” 

Rowing Queensland Chief Executive Ian Holzberger said the Sunshine Coast was the ideal location given its pristine water and white sands and Coastal Rowing had added a new dimension to the sport. 

“Coastal Rowing is one of the fastest growing communities of rowers in Queensland. Rowing on rough water adds a whole new series of challenges to the sport, with many coastal rowers cherishing the exhilarating aspect of rowing in extreme conditions,” Holzberger said. 

“The vastness of the Queensland coastline means it is the perfect cross-over surf sport, allowing competitors to pursue a healthy lifestyle and gain recognition for their sporting efforts at the same time. 

“Rowing Queensland are excited to offer two new disciplines of rowing; the endurance category and beach sprints, which are head-to-head style elimination that includes an on-water slalom component and a beach spring start and finish across the sand.” 

Sunshine Coast Economy Portfolio Councillor Terry Landsberg said Surf Sports were an important cultural aspect of the community and while we had sponsored a few ‘extreme’ events before, extreme rowing was a first and welcome addition to our portfolio of major sporting events for the Sunshine Coast. 

“Being out on the open water, I’m sure it will provide spectacular viewing for Mooloolaba Beach visitors and locals. I encourage visitors to book accommodation and flights as early as possible to catch this action-packed event,” Landsberg said. 

The event is proudly supported by iconic Australian manufacturer Sykes Boats, who have produced world-renowned equipment for more than 50 years and are a long-standing partner of Rowing Australia. 

Coastal Rowing at a Glance: 

  • Coastal rowing uses boats with wider hulls and usually takes place on open water, where competitors must contend with waves. It is known as the extreme version of rowing. 
  • The discipline started in Europe in the early 1980s and the Beach Sprint format has been developed over the past decade. It continues to grow rapidly, with inclusion at several large multi-sport events.  
  • The endurance format sees crews racing in 2-6 kilometre races around multiple turning points, while the beach sprint format consists of a short running sprint to the boat, a 250m row to a 180-degree turn, a row back to shore and a sprint finish. 
  • Boat classes include: Solo, Double Scull, Coxed Quad Scull and PR3 (Para) Mixed Inclusion Double Scull.