The New Zealand Coastal Rowing Association was formed in February 2007 to develop the sport of Coastal Rowing in New Zealand. I myself Greg am a devoted rower, and along with my rowing partner Alex, have built coastal boats and travelled each year to Europe to race in them since 2005. Like any sport that has a racing element to it the ability to attend international races and participate has enabled us to develop boats that conform to the international rules. This means we can have meaningful races right here in New Zealand as well as just enjoying Coastal rowing for fitness and adventure.

Throughout the sports development we have seen entries swell when the champs are held in Italy or France and drop away in other countries.

  • The requirement for rowers to be of senior classification (over 18 )
  • Qualification racing on the Friday to establish “A” and “B” finals for Saturday
  • More boat manufacturers entering the market

What follows is a history of Alex and my yearly pilgrimage to Europe to compete and learn about the sport. Following two trips to Europe to compete in the Coastal Rowing World Challenge format which was held in Guernsey and Noli respectively, it was decided to adopt the FISA rules and specifications of Coastal Rowing to ensure we were on par with the rest of the world and to ensure compliance with the rules regarding safety, boat sizes and classes of racing.

(A copy of the FISA specs are available on this website under Appendix 14)


Thessaloniki - Greece

This is the venue for next year and will have a website up about the event usually by late August. NZCRA will provide a link and information as soon as it becomes available!


In the beginning...

Coastal Rowing in its many forms has been around a lot longer than flat water rowing when you consider they were racing “longboats“ and rowing out in “lifeboats” to save ships in distress off the English and French coasts in the 1700s


The Challenge

In 1995 a group of people got together with a FISA representative and produced the first Coastal World Challenge in a small coastal town called Noli in Italy on the Mediterranean sea.
Initially boats were allowed to race no matter what the specification but after the regatta a meeting was held and some specific guidelines were put in place.
Now just like all professionally run events boat specifications are adhered to ensuring fair and safe racing. Boat specifications can be viewed at


Noli - Italy

The first World Coastal Challenge hosted in on the beautiful Mediterranean sea. Race distance was 8km and the water was rough! (Some officials sitting at the marker buoys were actually seasick!) Alex and I raced a borrowed Eurodiffusion Coastal Double and were 5th. Nina raced a Custom carbon single we had shipped from New Zealand, landed it in Tilbury, London and then car topped it across France to the race! She was second.

After Noli we travelled to a French coastal event in Hendye on the coast of France just above Spain where the beach and water were beautiful. This beach had a surf break on it and this caused some of the spectacular photos you see on this site. Alex and I were third in the double, Nina was second in the single.


Guernsey - Chanel Islands

Again we shipped two boats this time from New Zealand to Tilbury, London uplifted them and travelled to Guernsey in the English Chanel. This time we took our prototype double and again a single for Nina. When the boats arrived courtesy of Dover rowing club, we unwrapped our double and had to add plastic bags of gravel to ensure we made minimum weight! The rise and fall of the tide at this event was 8 metres, so if you didn’t know the tidal stream like the locals did, it was hard work. Alex and I were fifth in our double and Nina again was second.


Mandelieu - France

The first “Official” World Coastal Rowing Championship was held although we couldn't make it. The format was set at this point that the hosting Nation would provide boats in all three classes to enable people to compete even if they didn’t have their own boats. Seeing France were very strong already in Coastal Rowing it was easy for them to host the first World Champs as they had relatively easy access to the required number of boats.

The Hosting Nation is required to provide minimum 15 Coastal Quads, 15 Coastal Doubles, 15 Coastal Singles.


San Remo - Italy

We decided to get a quad together and trained through winter to get on the pace. San Remo was a beautiful venue and they had qualifying races to decide “A” and “B” finalists. After qualifying for the “A” final we were 16th out of 24 boats! In this race we rowed an Italian Coastal Boat.


Plymouth - England

We arrived in Plymouth and immediately it became apparent that the weather here was brutal. As soon as they let us go out training in our allocated boat the weather was marginal and the race course went outside a massive reef with a fort built on it. As we rowed out to the Oceanside of it we realised that we had a battle on our hands in the big swells, just keeping our boat from being sucked ashore!

As we rounded the far point and squared away to run downwind though, we realised how great it was to row there! Surfing those swells was something else. We qualified for the "A" final easily on the Friday and the course was brought right inside the harbour on Saturday for the finals as the wind really built up. Only the quads went right out and some of the pictures show how fresh it was. In our final, while competing in the top six, I steered us straight into a large shipping buoy and we dropped back a few places finally finishing 11th


Istanbul - Turkey

This regatta was rowed on the Bosphorus, and was amazing. We realised here that our fitness levels to race at a genuine World Championships, as well as age were stopping us from being able to stay in the front half of the races. We finished ninth and having rowed several types of opposition boats, now started getting some strong ideas of what is fast and what is not!


Bari - Italy

We trained much harder for this regatta and were immediately more competitive! We had planned to take our own boat to Bari but ran out of time and money to organise it. Again we qualified for the "A" finals and finished fifteenth. Noticeably, our time in comparison to the people ahead of us was significantly closer.


Reykjavik - Slovenia

Event - Cancelled


Helsingborg - Sweden

Regrettably, we were unable to work a trip in this year, as FISA took a New Zealand official to Helsinki and we would have enjoyed having another New Zealander there. They held the Champs earlier in the year than usual too, which simply couldn't work for us.