Coastal Rowing

The New Big Thing is Here

Coastal rowing is gathering speed internationally and BIAC is ahead of the pack in the United States. We are one of the few clubs to own a coastal boat, with potentially more on the way, and we sent three crews to Coastal World Championships in 2018 with strong results.


BIAC is Hosting a Coastal Regatta

BIAC is hosting the SF Bay Coastal Classic race October 5, 2019 in Aquatic Park, San Francisco. This is a USRowing registered regatta racing on a FISA coastal world championship-style 6K course with multiple exciting turns around buoys. The race will have a water start and finish, just like Coastal Worlds in 2019. Events for coastal and open water class boats will be available. CLICK HERE to learn more about the event.

Come get ready for the 2019 Coastal World Championships and row in the stunning San Francisco Bay between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. RegattaCentral registrations will open in the fall.

Sign up here if you’d like more information as it becomes available.


Coastal Boats

Coastal boat classes are designated with a “C” then the boat type and include:

  • W C1x  Women's coastal single
  • M C1x  Men's coastal single
  • W C2x  Women's coastal double
  • M C2x  Men's coastal double
  • W C4x+  Women's coastal quad with coxswain
  • M C4x+  Men's coastal quad with coxswain
  • Mx C2x  Mixed coastal double


coastal rowing in San Francisco

What is Coastal Rowing?

The following information is from World Rowing.

Coastal rowing is the extreme version, the adventure side of rowing. It involves rowing along a sea coast and out into the sea. It is one of the fastest growing communities of rowers as the boats mean flat water is not needed to row. It is especially popular in Italy, France and Great Britain to name a few.

Coastal rowing can be found in all corners of the world including the Maldives and many parts of Africa. Coastal rowing boats are also used inland on some lakes and rivers where the water tends not to be flat as well as for rowing touring.

Rowing on rough water means that coastal rowing is quite different from the flat-water Olympic-style of going in a straight line. Coastal rowers instead, often prefer rough water which adds a whole new dimension to the sport with many coastal rowers cherishing the exhilarating aspect of rowing in extreme conditions. 

Olympic rower Lassi Karonen (SWE) rowed at the 2013 World Rowing Coastal Championships and described the feeling, “The similarity (with flat-water rowing) is the movement of the stroke, everything else is different.”

Coastal rowing is easier to learn than flat-water rowing, due partly to the stability and robustness of the boats which differs from the Olympic-style boats. The standard boats are singles (or solo), doubles and coxed quadruple sculls.

The pinnacle event on the coastal rowing racing calendar is the World Rowing Coastal Championships. These are held annually, usually in October, and attract competitors from around the world. The length of the race is typically 4000m for heats and 6000m for finals with a number of buoyed turns included.

There are seven boat classes for men and women: single scull (or ‘solo’), double sculls, coxed quadruple sculls and a mixed double scull.

To become a good coastal rower, crews must be aware of tides and currents, learn about the course's topography and know what to do in the midst of maritime traffic and in case of bad weather.

© Bair Island Aquatic Center 2019
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