The Sport Of Surf Boat Rowing

Exhilarating , explosive, a great spectacle and loads of fun for all ages.


Surf Boat Rowing  is the fastest growing sector in the Sport of Surf Life Saving in New Zealand. Most aspects of Surf Boat competitions are controlled by Surf Life Saving New Zealand. There are set rules and criteria making the sport enjoyable and safe for all competitors.


This sport involves four people rowing a boat out into the surf directed by a ‘Sweep’ who steers the boat from a platform at the back of the Surf Boat using a long sweep oar. Racing starts from the beach with the crew leaping into their boat and rowing 300 to 400 metres to a buoy out at sea. Once the buoy is reached the sweep directs the boat and the crew around the buoy so the boat is turned. The crew then row as hard and as fast as possible to get the boat back to the beach. The trick is to catch a wave on the homeward journey and overtake all the other boats. The race finishes as one crew member gets out of the boat and runs up the beach to the finish line. The event takes a crew approx. 6  to 8 minutes to complete the race depending on the fitness and skill level of the crew and sweep...see video below.

Surf Boat Rowing is a team sport requiring four oars men or women and most importantly a sweep...the person (male or female) at the back of the boat who takes the crew out and brings them home safely.

Being a team sport it is important that you are a committed Team player. It is not possible to train if one of the crew does not turn up.


The Surf Boat competition is currently divided into Under 19, Under 23, Open, and Masters events for each sex (men and women). There  are local carnivals here in Taranaki, Regional Carnivals around the country which lead up to the most prestigious event, the National Championship at the end of each summer.


It should be recognised that Surfboat rowing is a strenuous aerobic sport which demands good physical condition and fitness. It does possess a small element of danger which makes it exhilarating and fun to participate in. Its a great spectator sport too. Surf Boat Rowing creates great friendships, health and well being and most importantly creates a great family atmosphere in a well serviced Surf Club.


East End is a well serviced club. It has excellent equipment and coaches to enable the sport to expand and succeed.  If you would like to experience this exhilarating sport as a sweep or an oars man/ woman or you would just like to know more about the sport, call Pete on 0274 777 227.

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