Some of the top rowers from across B.C. will be dipping their oars in the waters of the Nicomekl River this weekend at the Head of the Nicomekl regatta.
The annual event – which has been held since the early 1990s, and until 2016 was called the Head of the River – is hosted by the South Surrey-based Nicomekl Rowing Club and is scheduled for Saturday.
Two races are planned – one at 11 a.m. and another at 2:45 p.m.
The morning race is a ‘class race’, in which participants push off from the start line near the Nicomekl River dam and compete only amongst others in their same classes, be it singles, doubles, quads or eights. The second race will feature a variety of competitors, with results handicapped by age, gender and boat size in order to determine an overall winner and Head of the Nicomekl champ.
The course itself is about six kilometres long, and among toughest on the local rowing circuit, explained event co-chairs Avril Loft and Alix Kite.
“It’s very challenging because the river is so (twisty),” Loft said.
“What we hear from other clubs is that they really enjoy coming out to this because it’s really a one-of-a-kind race, with the twists and turns of the river, and sand banks and docks and boats.
“And you’re going from the river – which is quite calm – and you’re finishing up on the bay, so you have a variety of conditions that you’re dealing with as well,” added Kite.
As of earlier this week, the regatta had 85 entrants signed up – 205 athletes in total – though a few more were expected to trickle in by race day. Ages of rowers range from 18 to “north of 70” Loft said.
“It’s a good turnout,” Loft said, adding that the numbers were about average for the event, though last year they did see a spike in attendance.
Competitors Saturday will come from 10 clubs from across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Of those taking part, five will be from the Nicomekl club. Most of the club’s 45-person membership will be on hand helping run the event. In total, 90 volunteers will be on site, Loft said.
For more information on the event, or the Nicomekl Rowing Club, visit www.nico-row.com