A new form of rowing has landed for real in Finland! Last weekend, as Helsinki was basking in sunshine, a group of enthusiastic rowers gathered to take measure against each other in the first ever Finnish Coastal Champs. The night before had seen sub-zero temperatures and we wiped thin sheets of ice off the boats in the early morning, the sea was flat as a mirror, and when the sun rose on a cloud-free sky we had awesome "sunglasses &t-shirts" conditions to row in. Fortunately, you might say, a bit of wind picked up later in the day allowing racing also through some small waves, to make the most of the coastal equipment we were rowing in.
The first coastal race was completed in only four boats (three C1X and one C2X) which is why the distance was chosen to be a short one, to allow for as many as possible to compete within one day. The distance was 1.5km around a small island, under a bridge, and rowing past both the summer residence of the prime minister as well as the residence of the Finnish president:
We arranged the championships together with Helsingin Kanoottiklubi (the Helsinki Canoeing Club) whose comfortable premises even offered sauna and swimming afterwards.
We had participants from all around Finland some flying in from Oulu in Northern Finland. Not only experienced but also complete novices, young and master (the age range was 12-58 years), were racing against each other. The route around the small island offered some sharp turns and some navigational challenges in spotting the small red flags marking the optimal route.
Most rowers in Finland are used to rowing traditional Finnish wooden boats, with fixed oars that do not feather. It was challenging for those new to coastal rowing to maneuver the new type of oars, but a bit of practice allowed all of competitors to complete the route successfully, and even to improve their time by rowing it multiple times throughout the day
The best time on the 1.5km route was just under 7minutes by mixed team Marika Laaksonen and Jyrki Kiviniemi. The same rowers also won their own categories in WC1X and MC1X. Also Finnish long distance sea rower Jari Saario won a Championship medal in the MC2X.
We had an excellent day rowing and will definitely arrange this race again next year. Hopefully we'll double the number of participants. We might also make the distance a bit longer.
The official results from the first Finnish Coastal Championships:
Winter is slowly creeping up on Finland with subzero temperatures night time. Before long the sea will freeze. As the days get shorter we Finns are grinding the ergs and preparing for the indoor rowing races coming up during the winter.
Quiske is arranging a webinar on how to measure and analyze indoor rowing technique in about one month, we will share more info about that soon.
the Quiske team