The Faces Behind Rowing BC – RICHARD TULL
In his own words:
My first contact with rowing was seeing a pair being rowed by two UBC Rowers off for the summer, on Kalamalka Lake just outside Vernon in the early 1960’s. I would have been seven or eight years old at the time and I thought it looked like fun. My family had a cabin on Okanagan Lake and our rowboat never had a motor so if you wanted to go fishing or looking around, you had to row. We did a lot of fishing and looking around.
Jump ahead to September 1975, I was attending UBC and was just returning from a year off. I had been competing in Judo for UBC for several years but found injuries were impacting my training. It was time for a change, and I had always wanted to row. I ran into a couple of the Varsity Team at War Memorial Gym while working out. Doug Mullins was one of them and he suggested coming out to try outs at the Vancouver Rowing Club (VRC) the following Saturday. We started out in one of two Barges used to teach new rowers. Back then, the Varsity Team Members developed the novices. I was hooked. That year, I competed in both Rowing and my final year of Judo. There were probably 25 to 30 guys who showed up at VRC. Cold and early mornings started dwindling that number down dramatically, but still a solid number stayed with it. The core members of that group have been friends for life. I rowed every chance I could, and the rest is history. Forty-five years later I’m still rowing and loving it.
My first contact with Rowing BC was in 1977. After winning the BC Championships in a four, we were eligible for funding to the Canadian Championships and the Royal Canadian Henley. Our Coach, Mike Conway, applied for travel funding for our boat and we began a summer of training in pairs and our four. The two finals we raced back east that summer were two of the tightest races I ever had. We came second at both the Canadian Championships in Montreal and the Canadian Henley. Rowing BC funded several trips back east and it was always a great experience. Later in the 80’s I was racing lightweight and back then we had to pay our own way back to Ontario for speed order races. It was then that I really appreciated the previously funded opportunities.
My family and my career make up the rest of my day. Deb and I have three great adult children. All have active lives with careers and families. Now we have our first granddaughter, Olivia, with a second granddaughter due in April. I have had a very active professional career that has taken Deb and I coast to coast. In the beginning of 2012, with our kids grown up and pursuing their own ambitions, Deb and I took on a career challenge in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. For five years we lived and worked in Newfoundland. Rowing didn’t stop. I rowed on the Humber River for five years surrounded by the beauty of the Humber Valley. When the river was iced up, December to May, cross country skiing was our fun. This was one of the best professional, social and training opportunities of my life.