Surfboat Rowing

Surfboat rowing is the ultimate team sport requiring boaties to respond to any given challenge or situation. It throws up high and lows, but most importantly, provides a community that you will be a part of forever, no matter which club you row for.

With the club’s experienced rowers and sweeps, we can provide you with the appropriate training necessary for competition. You can join as an individual or as a crew that you have trained with or rowed with. No experience is necessary, just a great attitude and willingness to learn and have fun.

Surfboat competitions are held in many divisions including Open Men, Open Women, Under 23 Men, Under 23 Women, Under 19 and Reserves. Women’s crews are the fastest growing sector of surfboats. Masters events are held in age groups formed by the aggregate of the four rowers.


Six turning buoys are laid 22 metres apart. Another set of buoys is usually laid between the wave area and the turning buoys to create gates for the boats to return between. The gates are intended to separate the boats in the wave area.

Being a good rower is only part of what it takes to be an effective surfboat competitor. Surf skills and synchronized teamwork increase in importance as conditions become more challenging.

Races start with crews standing beside their boats in knee depth water. The depth may vary due to waves and sloping sea beds. The bow person may in much deeper water than the stroke rower! On the Starters command the crew jumps into the boat and attempt to row the boat off the beach and through the break. The rowing style goes through a transition after the surf zone to smoother more rhythmic rowing. Turning the buoys is an important stage allowing a significant advantage for skilled crews. The row out of the turn may be assisted by swells if the crew can “run” the boat. Rowing home is a matter of holding “form” while searching for runs. The wave zone may or may not provide the assistance of an easy trip home on a boat friendly day. Shallow water and dumping waves can be a Sweeps nightmare and spectators’ joy! Many races are decided in the last 10 strokes in a row over shallow dead water when the body and muscles are screaming.