Carmarthen’s Zoe Davies, race committee chair for the British Rowing offshore championships and umpire at the upcoming World Championships in Saundersfoot, is
delighted to see the world’s best coming to South Wales – and following her own eventful
introduction to the sport competing at the 2015 World Championships believes
participation will boom thanks to a home major competition.
The World Coastal Rowing Championships 2022, with the likes of two-time Olympic
champion Helen Glover competing, will bring together two exciting formats of rowing across
the two weekends in Pembrokeshire. On the first weekend beginning on 7th October, the top
club coastal rowers from around the world will compete in a course along the Saundersfoot
coastline, followed by the beach sprint rowing the following weekend.
Tipped to be a future Olympic rowing discipline, the beach sprint finals will be an exciting
and fast-paced spectacle where the best of the sport will be celebrated in Wales. Reflecting
on the excitement building as the World Championships near ever closer, Davies is backing
Wales to be the perfect setting.
“Wales already had an established coastal and offshore rowing community – I knew when
British Rowing were bidding to host the World Championships that it was a no-brainer. We
have water on three sides after all!
“Before 2015, and before I competed at the World Coastal Championships in Peru, I was
coxing the really fine boats you see at the Olympics, what people might consider the
classical rowing you’d expect to see. To be honest, I rated myself and when I was asked to
compete in Peru I thought ‘how hard can it be?’ When I got there – I was quite literally out
of my depth, I had no idea where I was.
“I’ve learnt so much being involved in coastal rowing – I have found its great fun, great
technique – and if you’re watching, it’s so easy to engage with. For people like me, who at
one time was almost snobby about it, it’s an eye-opening when you actually watch and
involve yourself in the sport. That’s why the World Championships here in Wales will be
such a big moment, it will no doubt inspire so many new people to get involve in the sport.
“Having done the two previous events at Saundersfoot in preparation for the World
Championships, the coastal rowing scene is just so friendly. Being a local girl myself, the
Welsh are always welcoming!
“What drives this passion in the sport is that people know how much coastal rowing gives
them. The feeling you get out on the water, where you’re not looking at your mobile phone
and you can enjoy the natural setting you’re in, there’s no wonder everyone is so
“From a spectator point of view, I just know everyone will be glued to the action. The racing
is quick, you don’t need to know rowing to enjoy the competition and understand what is
happening. It’s a day at the beach, it’s a completely unique experience because the area is
stunning – Wales is the perfect setting for the world’s best offshore rowing talent.”
With the discipline growing at an exponential rate, as boats are made available across Wales
for grassroots coastal rowing clubs to engage more and more participants, Davies sees a
bright future for the sport – and a new generation inspired by a World Championships
coming to Wales.