Coastal Rowers targeting World Beach Games selection at Beach Sprint Regatta

Coastal Rowers targeting World Beach Games selection at Beach Sprint Regatta

The Western Canadian Beach Sprint Regatta is part of the Rowing Canada Aviron selection process for the upcoming World Beach Games held in Bali, Indonesia in August 2023.

Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) in conjunction with the Open Aviron Rowing Coastal Association (OARCA) and Rowing BC are inviting Canadian coastal rowers across British Columbia and the nation to compete at the first major Beach Sprint regatta of the 2023 season.

Taking place on Saturday June 3 – Sunday June 4 at the Colwood Waterfront, Victoria, BC; the Western Canadian Beach Sprint Regatta hosted by OARCA will provide the first dedicated beach sprint racing opportunity within BC for coastal rowers, and will serve as a selection event for the 2023 World Beach Games.

Coastal rowing is a growing discipline in the sport across Canada and the rest of the world, adding a new alternative pathway for athletes to embrace the sport of rowing. Likened to the evolution of sports such as beach volleyball from indoor volleyball, and mountain biking from cycling, the sport of coastal rowing beach sprints is a rapid and fun adventure ride for spectators, competitors and those new to the sport.


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“Coastal rowing beach sprints are quickly becoming one of the most exciting and riveting spectacles not only in rowing but also in world sport,” Chair of the Western Canadian Beach Sprint Regatta Michelle Boss said. “The races are short, often close and always action-packed. It gets the adrenaline pumping for not only the competitors but also those watching from the shore.”

The beach sprint event involves two competing rowers sprinting from the top of the beach to their shored boat (and partner, in the case of doubles) before slaloming a buoy about 250 metres off the coast, returning to the shore, launching from the boat and sprinting back to the starting line.

It makes for a short, sharp test of a rowers’ abilities in running, rowing speed, agility, turning power, directional awareness, and wave handling skills, all contained within a race that usually runs for a fast and furious two to four minutes.

“This version of the sport is very different from the traditional on-water rowing that many of us, myself included, have grown up around,” Boss continues. “It provides a unique test of your technique, abilities, and strategy, while also considering the element of the ocean and waves. It makes for an addictive and exhilarating challenge for athletes.”

A major goal for many competing in the regatta will be adding their name into the RCA selection discussions for the upcoming 2023 World Beach Games, held in Bali, Indonesia from August 5-12.

The World Beach Games is an international beach and water multi-sport event organized by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). Originally scheduled for 2021, it was postponed until 2023 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be the second edition of the Games.

Canadian rowers earned qualification to the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games through results at the 2022 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals last October in Wales. Canada is eligible to field a team in the men’s and women’s solo events and the mixed doubles event at the Games in Bali.

“Through the efforts of our rowers last October we have qualified three spots for Canada at the upcoming World Beach Games,” RCA Director of High Performance Adam Parfitt said. “This will be the first time Canada has competed in rowing at the World Beach Games which is exciting for our national team program but also exciting for coastal rowers across the nation as we continue to grow interest and participation in the emerging discipline of the sport. Anytime a rower gets to don the red and white at an international regatta is a special time in their lives and career and we are looking forward to supporting them to be at their best in Bali.”


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Worldwide, the discipline of Coastal Rowing continues to gain momentum and continues to grow in participation and popularity on the international sporting stage.

In October 2022, it was announced that Coastal Rowing Beach Sprints will make its Commonwealth Games debut at the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games. The inclusion of the event sees rowing returning to the Games for the first time since 1986 and provides an opportunity for Canada to add to the nation’s 23 Commonwealth Games rowing medals, seven of them gold.

The discipline has also been formally proposed by World Rowing to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, that would have significant changes to the rowing landscape worldwide. A decision is expected in June 2023.

“We await the IOC and World Rowing’s decision in the months ahead regarding the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. The decision would have positive effects on coastal rowing not only here in Canada but worldwide, so we are looking forward to the decision,” Parfitt said. “But for now, we are focused on selecting and sending the strongest possible Canadian rowing team for the World Beach Games in August.”

The RCA selection guidelines document for the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games establishes the process and criteria to be used to select and nominate the RCA Team for the World Beach Games held in Bali, Indonesia, August 5-12, 2023.

You can find the RCA Coastal Rowing Beach Sprints selection guidelines document here.

You can find more information about the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games here.




Western Canadian Beach Sprint Regatta 

Event Dates: Saturday June 3 & Sunday June 4

Entry Deadline: Saturday, May 20, 2023

Erg Submission Deadline (for ANOC World Beach Games selection only – not all participants): Saturday, May 27, 2023

Host: Open Aviron Rowing Coastal Association (OARCA). 

Location: Colwood Waterfront, Victoria, BC

Description: This event will provide a dedicated racing opportunity within BC for coastal rowers. In some years, it may also serve as a selection event for National coastal rowing representation.

Registration: Registration and more information is available on Regatta Central (search Western Canadian Beach Sprint Regatta under Canadian Regattas).

Questions can be directed to Local Organizing Committee Chair, Michelle Boss.

Late registration date is Sunday, May 28, 2023.

Register now


Rowing BC Coastal Development Camp

Event Dates: June 23-25, 2023

Host: Open Aviron Rowing Coastal Association (OARCA)

Location: Skaha Lake Park, Penticton, BC

Description: This camp is open to anyone with rowing experience! Coastal is still a growing discipline of the sport. If you’re a little curious about what coastal rowing is really all about, come join this camp! Or if you are already a coastal rower and want to spend a weekend training alongside other coastal rowers and building a stronger sense of community, then this camp is also for you!

Registration: Complete your registration and payment ($350 per participant) through EventBrite.

Registration closes on May 25th – sign up early to ensure you have a spot!

Participants are required to arrange their own transportation, accommodation and meals. Rowing BC will make a group reservation for the Wine Tasting and Dinner, but all associated costs are the responsibility of each participant. All rowing and safety equipment will be provided.

Register for camp now


You can follow @rowingcanada on social media: #UnitedByWater


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