Race 5 of the Blinkhorne & Carroll Whanganui Winter Series takes place tomorrow over 9km with nearly $300 in prize money up for grabs for those tough enough to take on our longest distance race of the season.

A good turnout is expected although I'd have to say that for those of us heading to the NZ Masters Rowing Champs at Lake Karapiro, September 15-16, it is hardly the ideal preparation for the multiple 1000m races most of us are doing.

It is more short, sharp, two to four minutes pieces which are anaerobic in nature and produce a lot of that awful lactic acid that are our ideal preparation.

However, the Masters community is a hardy bunch of crazy rowers and any race is a good race in their opinion.


The NZ Masters champs are a growing event on the NZ Rowing Race calendar, and were rejuvenated at the 2017 World Masters Games with a dedicated eight lane, 1000m course installed at Lake Karapiro, offering closer viewing from the lake edge and generally better water conditions.

Whanganui has a contingent of fifteen rowers – 13 Aramoho and two Union – attending with super cox Sue O'Leary coxing multiple boats.

Most of us have between 4-8 races over the two days, or possibly more if heats are required, so will take more then a good night's sleep to recover.

But it will be a lot of fun amongst some intense racing.

Our River will become busier and busier over the spring and summer with rowers, kayakers, Waka Ama and other river users looking forward to some warmer weather and hopefully lighter winds

Former Whanganui rower Craig Smith is bringing out a group of 40 young Australian rowers and seven support staff from September 27- October 1 for a training camp.

They will utilise boats from Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club, using their new catering service and lounge, while staying at the Top 10 Holiday camp up Aramoho.

Craig is also organising a Marae visit at Putiki and a Mayoral Reception, as part of the overall sporting and cultural experience for his Caulfield Grammar, Melbourne-based rowers.

The economic impact to our city will be significant, if these young people consume food like my son.

Finally, our NZ Elite Rowing Team are all ready to compete at the 2018 World Championships, from September 9-16 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

New Zealand has 23 men plus 4 reserves and a cox, 19 women plus 1 reserve and a cox, nine coaches and two managers, plus numerous support staff. They are competing in 13 out of the 29 total events on offer.

The championships included nine paralympics events and it's a shame we have no competitors in these growing events.

Over 900 rowers from 62 countries will be competing overall.

Our local interest is likely to centre on Kerri Gowler (women's pair and 2017 World Champion), Chris Harris (men's double and 2017 World Champion) and Jackie Gowler (women's 8) and they are all exciting prospects.

The eyes of the rest of New Zealand are likely to be on Robbie Manson in the men's single scull and Mahe Drysdale, who Manson beat for the single and who is now racing in the men's quadruple scull.

I'm particularly excited and interested in the new look women's eight, which came away from the last 2018 World Cup regatta as champions and must head into these World Championships as favourites under their new coach, Dan Kelly.

In recent times, the NZ women's eight has been quietly but surely building its pathway under former coach, Dave Thompson, who now coaches strong rivals Canada in the same boat.

Our own Rebecca Scown was a key member of the eight through a fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics and bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships in Florida.

These tough women and their formidable coxswain, Sam Bosworth (a male) are on the cusp of history, as a world champs gold medal will be a first in the event for Kiwi women and coming pretty close to being 50 years after the famous 1972 Men's Eight won in Munich.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be well within their sights.

Kia Kaha to those hard working, brave women, coach, cox and the rest of our Kiwi team.