World Rowing Coastal Championships
Rowers take a test run through the course prepared for the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships in Sidney. (Steffen Rapp)

Delegates from the World Rowing Federation (FISA) were in Sidney last weekend to oversee the course that will be used in the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships (WRCC) this fall.

The championships will take place at Tulista Park in Sidney on Oct. 11–14, 2018. It’s the first time that the FISA has awarded the championship to North America, and a newly-formed rowing society—OARCA Coastal Rowing—will host the event.

The delegates in attendance included FISA Chair Guin Batten, Event Manager Cameron Allen, and Executive Producer Steffen Rapp. They spent three days overseeing the race venue and meeting with volunteers.

Championship race director and 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Julien Bahain told Victoria Buzz that the weekend went “very well.”

“I think [the delegates] were really impressed with what was done,” he said, adding that organizers are on track for October.

“The whole concept of this adventure is that we have very little time to make it happen, because we stepped in at the last minute to organize the event,” Bahain said. “There’s no second guessing.”

Coastal rowing boats are a little bigger than flat-water boats, and are self-bailing, meaning they won’t take on water when things get rough. That’s essential when rowers are faced with changing currents, tides, and weather.

Bahain says the sport is comparable to flat-water rowing in the same way that BMX cycling is compared to regular cycling. “You create a course based on what you have available,” he says. “As long as you have a certain number of turning points and distances you respect … you can do whatever you want.”

Bahain hopes the championship’s debut in North America will give the sport a stronger foothold in Canada—especially with the playground that the West Coast has to offer prospective rowers.

“It feels like we’re taking on an adventure that’s not going to stop in October,” he says. “It’s going to continue beyond.”

The championship organizing committee is still looking for volunteers to help out with the event, Bahain says, as over 400 participants from 25 countries are expected to attend.

2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships

When: Oct. 11–14, 2018

Where: Tulista Park, Sidney, B.C.

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