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Friday the 13th was a lucky day for coastal rowing enthusiasts here in BC and around the world as the International Olympic Committee announced that Beach Sprint Rowing will be included in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games program.

Rowing BC is already supporting this new discipline, with several beach sprint regatta sanctions in the past two years. These regattas have attracted all levels of athletes including U19, competitive adults, novice masters, and elite rowers.

Julien Bahain at the 2023 Western Canadian Beach Sprint Rowing Championships – photo: Kevin Light

Rowing BC spoke to Julien Bahain, a member of OARCA Coastal Rowing and winner of the Men’s Solo at the 2023 Western Canadian Beach Sprint Championships (WCBSC) about how he thinks the Olympic announcement will affect the sport:

The inclusion of coastal rowing, and more specifically beach sprints, in the Olympic program is the catalyst to broaden the sport of rowing around the world. Each and everyone of us started rowing because we had a club nearby, or because we saw it on tv, or because a friend of ours rowed at a summer camp. Every opportunity we have to provide that connection to rowing is increasing participation in the sport. Coastal rowing will remove some of the barriers to participation in the sport. Bridges between coastal, flat water and indoor rowing are ours to build and maintain. I am truly excited about next steps and how we can make coastal rowing, both endurance and beach sprints formats, a reality from coast to coast to coast.”

Trish Mara at the 2023 Western Canadian Beach Sprint Rowing Championships – photo Kevin Light

Trish Mara from Victoria City Rowing Club decided to jump into coastal rowing in time for the 2023 WCBSC where she went on to win the Women’s solo in a hard fought battle with experienced coastal rower, Brienne Miller. Trish spoke to Rowing BC about what she likes about beach sprint rowing.

“I love that coastal rowing not only involves rowing skills, but requires a certain athleticism – you need to be very agile to run and jump in and out of your boat quickly- and you also need a certain fearlessness when it comes to rowing in rough conditions. Like taking on anything new there is a learning curve, that is for sure! It is fun to combine my skills from rowing but there is so much more to coastal rowing. It is an exciting challenge! I think it helps that I have have always been comfortable with rowing in waves and love the challenge that rowing in rougher unpredictable conditions can bring.”

Do you want to learn more about beach sprints and coastal rowing in BC? Check out our Coastal Rowing page.

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