Big Water Rowers Race at Balmy Beach

By Andrew Hudson • August 27, 2014 - Beach Metro Community News

Most rowers like their water flat, but not Samuel Lavoie.

Watching half-metre waves plow up Balmy Beach after the opening heat of Ontario’s first coastal rowing regatta, Lavoie was all smiles.

Steady wind promised even bigger surf for the 6 km final.

“I came today because they said it would be really windy this afternoon, so hopefully it’s going to be crazy wavy,” said Lavoie, sounding more surfer than rower.

Given the right waves, coastal rowers can surf – their metre-wide boats sit higher and feel more stable than the sleek but tippy shells used for flat water racing.

Back home in Alma, Quebec, a lakeside town north of Quebec City, Lavoie and his team row on Lac Saint-Jean. On windy days, the shallow, 40-km lake gets short, choppy waves that make for good surfing – quick rowers can ride one for 10 to 15 strokes, Lavoie said.

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