Hundreds of international competitors gathered in Sidney this weekend for the World Rowing Coastal Championships.
Organizers laud the enthusiasm of local businesses and the community, says media lead Kaitlyn Rosenburg, adding that it was a great introduction to coastal rowing to North America, as Sidney was chosen as the first North American host city. She said they would continue to promote coastal rowing on the Island. The 48 boats used for the event will be sold to local rowing clubs after the event to develop the sport locally.
Sidney resident Julien Bahain not only served as regatta director for the event, but won gold with his rowing partner and brother-in-law, Mitchel Steenman.
The race was very close, with the pair starting well behind the rest. Racing for the Netherlands, they came from behind and won after going stroke-for-stroke with the French.
“It was bigger than what we expected,” said Bahain. “It was a good surprise for everyone and definitely brought some awareness of the sport.”
Though coastal rowing is known for rough waters, conditions were calm this weekend.
“Rowers expect more waves in coastal rowing but from an organizer’s perspective I think it made things a lot easier,” said Bahain.
Bahain said when the bid was submitted in November, “we didn’t know how things were going to go but we had a great local community and stood up to the challenge.”
Bahain was “amazed” by the number of people who volunteered “which made the event even greater,” and was also pleased with people young and old who watched and participated.