The sun beamed over the first ever Australian Coastal Rowing champions, who tackled the 4km course in front of crowds on Noosa Main Beach and Noosa Main Beach – West in Queensland. Representatives came from across the nation, with a variety of birth years, to get a piece of the West Beach swell, sand and sea.
The title of the first official winner went to Amelia Cooper from UTS Haberfield, NSW who despite being a novice to coastal rowing, and these conditions, owned the waves to come home in style and hit the buzzer with a casual grace – such was her lead in the Under 21 Women’s Coastal Solo. The Silver Medal was taken by an equally class act, with Rose Rix from Commercial Rowing Club, QLD followed by Amber Talloch from Carrum Rowing Club, VIC, – finishing the multi-state hattrick on the home-made sandcastle dias.
Whilst in the Men’s equivalent category it was a maroon-coloured finish, with the top three crews from Queensland. Harry Nott took the Champion status and Gold Medal, whilst Charles Clarke from nearby Maroochy took the Silver, using the tide to guide him home, followed by Harry Pettett in Bronze, both Harry’s were from the University of Queensland.
It was a heart-warming win for the father-daughter duo, who showed what familial bonds can do for boat speed (and inter-state rivalry). The crew from Lindisfarne, Tasmania and Friends of Noosa Rowing Clubs beautifully demonstrated the opportunity available in coastal rowing for mixed crews to come together, at whatever age, to compete in the Open Mixed Coastal Rowing Double Scull. They will go home with a Gold Medal each around their necks and memories to last a lifetime and share “remember that time we won a coastal rowing race together”. They were followed by Richmond Rowing Club in Silver and University of Queensland in Bronze.
Whilst the class-act RA Board Member, Rachael Kinninmonth from University of Queensland was one of the first entries through the door, ready to test this new discipline. The former Olympian teamed up with Brisbane Grammarian member, Scott Austin.
Kinninmonth spoke of the event: “It was exciting to see our sport transition to a new environment of the beach. It was awesome to see familiar rowing faces being adventurous, adaptable and courageous in new water conditions and having a great time while doing so.
Kinninmonth continued: “Coastal rowing has fantastic universal appeal, with flat-water rowers able to use our honed technical skills to make the boat move, but then learn new skills of managing unpredictable waters in the swell.”
Universality continues to be a theme, with the inclusion of a new para-rowing boat class and the regatta being used as a test event for potential inclusion at future World Rowing coastal regattas.
The PR3 Mixed Coastal Rowing Double Scull saw a stunning row from fearless Mac Russell and Phoebe Robinson, from Barbarians and University of Queensland respectively who flew down the course, with tricky navigation in the swell, but still with plenty of time to hit the buzzer as Gold Medallists. They were followed down the course by Silver Medallists from ANU Boat Club Donoghue and Macartney and Bronze Medallist locals, Cameron and Harrap from Coastal Rowing Noosa.
Clubs coming together to form racing crews and forging great boat speed to take on the coastal rowing course together. The Masters Mixed Coastal Rowing Coxed Quad Scull had a Sunshine Coast and Toowong composite take home the Gold, with a University of Queensland composite in Silver and a third place finish from local club, Noosa. Whilst the Under 21 Mixed Coastal Rowing Coxed Quad Scull had a UTS Haberfield and Glebe, NSW, composite win the Gold, with some crew members having already learnt from other races.
University of Queensland took the crown again in the Open Women’s Coastal Rowing Solo, with Elizabeth Newell taking Gold ahead of Sofia Aguirre, a Mexican U19 International from UTS Haberfield who took second followed by Helen Pearce from Richmond in Bronze.
The last race of the day was the Open Men’s Coastal Rowing Solo, which saw Morgan Hodgson from the University of Queensland do a flip dive for the buzzer to take the Gold, with U23 Australian Rowing Team rower, Marcus Della Marta, from the Men’s Quad, take the Silver, followed by another University of Queensland rower, Pieter Dikken winning the Bronze.
This concludes the first Coastal Rowing Championships, but marks the start of the Beach Sprints Championships which will be held over Saturday and Sunday on Noosa Main Beach – West.
Be sure to follow our Rowing Australia socials for all of the latest action.