Most if not every rower has at one time caught themselves thinking ‘Wow, that looks like a great place to row’ as they stare out of the window of their train carriage, or catch a picturesque scene on their TV screens.
With so many stretches of water to choose from, we asked former Canadian Olympic coxswain (Los Angeles 1984), founding member of Chinook Performance Racing, and World Masters Games Champion, Lesleh Anderson, to share her favourite places to row.
Here’s what made the cut:
1) Avizaqcua – Portugal
More fondly referred to as ‘Aviz’, this lake offers miles and miles of uninterrupted rowing making it the perfect location for a training camp. Surrounded by vineyards and often frequented by herons, Aviz really is a special place to row.
2) Sabaudia – Italy
Nestled between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the National Park of Circeo, the 6km coastal Lake of Sabaudia is a popular training camp destination. With a climate that’s mild throughout the year, it’s no wonder Sabaudia is where Italy’s top professional rowers choose to train.
3) Lake Karapiro, New Zealand
The 8sq km Lake Karapiro, formed in 1947 after the completion of a hydroelectric dam on the Waikato River, is regarded as one of New Zealand's best rowing venues. A previous host to the World Rowing Championships (1978 and 2010), the lake is getting ready to hold its next international event – the World Masters Games 2017
4) The Charles River – Boston, USA
The impressive Charles River is best known and loved by crews all over the world for its hosting of the Head Of The Charles Regatta (HOCR). Since its origin in 1965, the Charles River now welcomes over 11,000 athletes and 400,000 spectators to its banks each year for the world’s largest two-day rowing event.
5) The Thames – London, UK
Rowing the Tideway is on almost every rower’s bucket list. This exciting but unpredictable stretch of river is home to the Head of the River Race (HORR), London’s answer to HOCR. Further upstream The Thames transforms into a more well-behaved entity, better suited to that of a peaceful market town, and becomes the perfect place to race the Henley Royal Regatta.
6) Martindale Pond – Ontario, Canada
Home to St Catharines Rowing Club (where Lesleh began her rowing career), Martindale Pond is also where you’ll find the famous Royal Canadian Henley Regatta (RCHR). Hailed as the top amateur rowing event in North America, RCHR attracts over 3,500 including international competitors from the US, Europe, Australia and Latin America.
7) The Rotsee – Lucerne, Switzerland
The 2.4km long lake has virtually no current and is protected from winds by nearby hills making it an ideal rowing venue. A natural rowing lake, the Rotsee is also a Nature Reserve, treating its visitors to a rich variety of flora and fauna.
8) Mission Bay – San Diego, USA
The protected waters and surrounding green lawns of Mission Bay Park offer a perfect setting for rowers. The beautiful bay has often been credited for making the San Diego Crew Classic the well-loved event that it is.
9) Lake Bled – Slovenia
A picturesque natural Alpine lake with its own island and Baroque Castle, in the middle of mountains – there’s not much else to say really.
10) Nathan Benderson Park – Sarasota, Florida
Situated in tropically beautiful Sarasota, 600-acre Nathan Benderson Park features a world-class 2k sprint and training course. The park is home to a range of international championships and is the chosen site of the 2017 World Rowing Championships.