Beach Start 101
We’ve been getting lots of questions about how the beach start at the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships will work.
So we asked Julien Bahain, Regatta Director – Technical to fill us in.
Hint: There is no running involved!
Why did the organizing committee want to do a beach start?
When visiting potential sites during the bid process, Bazan Bay offered the best characteristics for a beach start. It features a long, straight, gently sloping pebbly beach, perfectly suitable for a beach start. It is worth noting that this would be the first-ever standing beach start at a World Rowing Coastal Championships.
How exactly will the start work?
The Organizing Committee and the President of the Jury reserve the right to adapt the start procedure based on the weather and water conditions. Competitors are advised to read the FISA Rule Book of Racing (http://bit.ly/FISArulebook) – page 364. Given the beach configuration, there will be no running involved at the start of the race. All crew members will have to be with the boat and all crews are required to have two (2) boat handlers at the start line holding the boat.
Important: Crews must organize their own boat handlers.
What advice do you have for shoes and foot stretchers?
I think that each athlete will have his/her own preference. With a pebble beach, I would advise rowers to wear shoes to make sure they are comfortable when walking in the water. By doing this you may consider a Velcro strap foot stretcher as it will allow you to quickly set yourself up when jumping in your boat.
I do recognize as an athlete myself that Velcro straps are not as reliable as a shoe when it comes down to rowing on a long distance, especially if it is a bit rough out there. Some people may prefer wearing thick socks and take the extra seconds to put their feet in the foot stretcher.
As a notice to participants who are renting boats from the Organizing Committee, all pool boats will be equipped with foot stretchers with straps.
Here are some crews from Salish Sea Coastal Rowing club practising in Vancouver!
This weekend’s Rowing BC Coastal Masters Camp participants were out practicing beach starts again this afternoon in preparation for the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships – getting much smoother and faster than the first few tries!
Geplaatst door Rowing BC op Zaterdag 8 september 2018
What about the water temperature? What should competitors wear?
The West Coast of Canada in October can be sunny with mild temperatures or rainy and cold. Due to strong currents, upwelling and tidal mixing, the water is expected to be around 10°C. But it could be higher depending on the weather in the weeks preceding the event. No matter what, we strongly recommend that you prepare for any weather conditions and always bring a change of clothes. Wool tuque and socks should be in your suitcase.
How long will they be standing in the water?
The start procedure will be set so that athletes are standing in the water for less than 2 minutes.
Will there be an opportunity for competitors to practice earlier in the week?
During training days (Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday all day and Thursday morning), a portion of the beach will be available under supervision to practice your start sequence. I think it is critical to practice your start or at least talk about your sequencing within your crew. What I experienced is that “jumping” in the boat is not the most challenging part. But doing it under pressure in a race environment as a team, is the challenging part. It is better to do things slowly and together than rushing and trying to go fast. Questions you can ask yourself: Is it better to go one after the other or not? Shall we stand equally on each side of the boat? How do I hold my blades? What type of footwear shall I wear? What shall I prepare in the boat prior to jumping in (e.g., seat position, foot stretcher)?
What do you hope the beach start will add for spectators at WRCC 2018?
Coming from flat water rowing, I can see the benefit of a beach start from a spectator perspective. Being close and almost a part of the action is a critical component to attract spectators and new participants. What coastal rowing brings to the sport is that sense of excitement for the spectator with a compact start and finish area. With an elevated sea wall overlooking the beach and the sea, spectators of the 2018 WRCC will have a perfect vantage point to experience the race from start to finish.
While it adds some challenges for athletes, I believe that it brings another possibility for rowers to make a difference in the race. It will require a subtle mix of skills, strength, endurance, experience, navigation and crew synergy to make it all happen on the finish line.
I am looking forward to it!
Don’t forget to have some fun (and a beer) along the way!