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Observations about Coastal rowing – Day 2.

Day 2 – October 5, 2022

This morning’s theme was rain. It rained straight down. It misted. It poured. And then this afternoon, the wind blew.

You may or may not know the Huppi’s. Hannah and John are two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and basically a coastal rowing power couple. This isn’t the first time they have raced coastal, and I am sure its not going to be their last.

Hannah Huppi is racing the 1x for the USA and had a hell of a practice today. She ventured out into the surf in pouring rain and unbelievable winds.

Now remember, I haven’t been to any coastal races before, so I am still trying to learn the details, but I couldn’t help but notice and get excited about how the start happens. Athletes start in the water next to their boats, they get positioned and then jump into their boats and row like a maniac to get through the first couple waves. Some teams clearly struggled with the waves, while others like Hannah Huppi, did not. I think the start is awesome. It is such a different element from traditional rowing, and I loved watching every minute of it.

Hannahs practice was anything but easy. She cruised straight out 1000 meters, hung a hard left around the first buoy and started the second leg of the course. The waves today were big enough that she would disappear behind he waves from view, and then pop boat up over the top of the next wave. It looks intimidating and awesome.

John Huppi is the captain of the USA coxed 4x. The other guys in the boat are Will Meeker, Phil Holye and Rowers Choice’s very own Alex DelSordo. Whitney Powell is the team coxswain. John sat in the bow and when he and the guys went out to practice today, they basically experienced every kind of weather you could imagine. They launched from a more sheltered, picturesque beach. But thats about the best it was. By the time they got out onto the course, the winds were 20-40mph, and they had both full on pouring rain, perfect sunshine and even rowed through a rainbow.

The most interesting thing about today was the complete unpredictability of coastal rowing. The crashing waves at the start, the massive rollers in the middle, the unrelenting conditions. Occasionally in traditional racing, you hear people complain “Lane 6 is totally unfair”. I promise you won’t hear that out here this week.

More to come tomorrow.