Katie Edwards, the president of Row Nova Scotia, says the province has a chance to lead the country in an exciting new facet of the sport.
“Coastal (rowing) is absolutely something that I think is going to expand the base of rowing,” she said.
“It’s crazy to me to think of coastal rowing taking off in Canada and us not leading the charge. This is the thin edge of the wedge.”
And to help grow the sport, members of the province’s rowing braintrust descended on the Lunenburg Yacht Club (LYC) for the facility’s first coastal rowing regatta and training weekend.
The events — which took place throughout June 22 and 23 — gave LYC Rowing Club members the tools to set up, umpire and participate in a coastal regatta.
Edwards said coastal boats are a good starting point for beginners because they are sturdier and more adaptable to weather conditions.
A total of 24 participants took part in the weekend, a fact that highlights local interest in the sport.
“I think there’s a huge appetite for this kind of event,” said Edwards, adding that coastal shells were perfect for places like Lunenburg with good, open water.
“We’re a province of coasts.”
Guylaine Bernier, a member of the first women’s Canadian National Rowing Team that competed in the 1976 Olympics and an inductee into the Canadian Sport Hall of Fame, was on hand throughout the weekend to help with instruction.
For her part, she said she was happy to give back and share her passion for the sport.
“In my opinion, the future development of rowing will be done with coastal rowing,” said Bernier.
She added that the potential for coastal rowing in Nova Scotia was unlimited.
As a newer rowing club — LYC began their program in 2014 — the weekend represented a chance for members to expand their knowledge base.
Furthermore, the club only recently made the decision to pursue coastal rowing.
“When we decided to go into the coastal boats, we had a lot of support from Row Nova Scotia,” explained Martha MacDonald, an LYC rower.
“We’re sort of first off the mark here and got to host the regatta. Hopefully, we’ll (end up) a centre for coastal rowing.”
Another LYC rower, Reet Kalep, said the sport isn’t just for young people and said anyone can participate.
Gill Graves — who is both a rower and sailor — agreed, adding that the area was conducive to all manner of sport.
“As recreational rowers, some of us are as strong and fit as some of these racers,” she said of the regatta.
“We can have fun and get the benefits of a beautiful playground.”
In addition to the regatta, LYC is hosting several more introductory rowing events throughout the summer; scheduled rows take place Monday through Friday both mornings and evenings.
Saturday and Sunday, July 6 & 7: Learn to Row
July 28 to August 1: Row the World tour out of LYC