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Gold Coast rowers experience the oarsome Clarence River

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More than 80 rowers from The Southport School (TSS) on the Gold Coast recently made waves on the Clarence River in Grafton.

Between January 18-23, the boys, aged from 13 to 18, trained along a 20km stretch of water in their respective age groups in preparation for the upcoming 2023 Brisbane Grammar School Regatta on January 28, and the 2023 GPS Head of the River Rowing Championships on March 11.

Describing the Clarence River as a perfect practice location, TSS Director of Rowing John Smyth complimented the Grafton Rowing Club for being brilliant hosts during the week and said all of the students and staff had enjoyed their visit to the Northern Rivers.

“Every single person down here has been so accommodating and welcoming,” he said appreciatively.

“The stretch of river along here is the biggest drawcard.

“The Clarence River is flat, calm, there’s not a lot of traffic on the water, and you’re away from the busyness of the Gold Coast which is always nice.”

Compared to the often-crowded water of the Nerang River where TSS students regularly train in Queensland, Mr Smyth said it was fantastic for the boys to have the opportunity to row on the Clarence River, adding several of their students had visited Grafton and rowed on the river during previous training sessions.

“It’s a free, open, wide river, no one gets in each other’s way, and you don’t have the additional hassles of watching for jet skis and bigger vessels,” Mr Smyth revealed.

“The conditions on the Clarence River are certainly very favourable for training too.

“We had dead flat water on Friday morning, which was great, and all the boys have really loved being here.

“A lot of them have said they definitely want to come back again.”

Senior TSS rower Ben Shuttlewood has been involved with the sport for close to five years and said it was phenomenal to row on the Clarence River for the first-time last week as a member of the schools Under 18 Eight crew.

“It was so quiet early in the mornings and we were able to knock out some good sessions on the water,” he said.

“I really enjoyed being in Grafton.

“The Clarence River is nice and wide, it’s not too choppy on the surface, and it’s an ideal spot to train.”

Junior coxswain Jack Houlahan, 14, agreed.

“It’s a really good river to train on and the conditions have been great,” he said.

“I’d definitely love to come back and train here again if I get the chance.

“It’s been awesome.” 

Mr Smyth also wished to acknowledge the Grafton Hockey Club for accommodating TSS staff and students during their recent visit.

Clarence Valley Independent 25 January 2023

This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 25 January 2023.


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