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The Faces Behind Rowing BC – JANICE MASON

In her own words:

I was first introduced to rowing through Ina DeLure in the mid-1970s. It was the summer after grade 10 and she was coaching my summer swim club. She told us about her rowing experiences and I was instantly intrigued. I put it in the back of my mind to join rowing when I went to university. At the time, I don’t recall there being many opportunities for females to row in high school, and swimming was my sport at the time.

My sister Cheryl joined the University of Victoria rowing team when she started a year ahead of me in 1976. She and her partner Gayle Lavallee took out in a double and put me in a clunky old heavy fiberglass single in the summer before I started attending UVic.

My most prominent memories of those days on Elk Lake at the far side of lake where hardly anyone saw rowing were bloody right knuckles from scraping my right hand with left while sculling and the fear of falling in while rowing a single!

It took 3 months for this to happen, and when it did it was in November while rowing up to start of a race on Green Lake in Seattle… and it was cold! I climbed back into my boat and one of the officials came over with a Styrofoam coffee cup so that I could bail out the cockpit area, and then still get to compete in the race!

I have been involved in many facets of Rowing BC. I was on the Board of Directors for a few years which was a great experience to be involved and learn more about how rowing organizations run in our province. I am presently involved as an umpire and as a member of the coastal rowing task force. 

I am passionate about coastal rowing and have been involved in rowing on the ocean in non-skinny racing shells since the early 1990s and love the opportunities it gives you to get off the lake.  For a few years I lived in Montague Harbour on Galiano Island – I loved that I could just push off from my dock and go rowing.  My backyard was endless!  I love how rowing is slowly pushing its way into more varied locations, with more opportunities for more people, and about recreation and not just racing.

In my non-rowing life, I have enjoyed playing the cello for many years and am consumed by the Race to Alaska and all it entails, including exploring the coast in small boats, rowing, kayaking and canoeing.

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