Coolum surf boat rowing crew win bronze

Oldest surf boat crew win bronze at Aussie Championships

A BOAT rowing crew from Coolum Beach Surf Life Saving Club refer to themselves as the "oldest surf boat rowing crew in Queensland, and possibly Australia".

The crew, who are all approaching 70-years-old, were once known as the SOC's (Silly Old Codgers) and won bronze at the Australian Championships on the Sunshine Coast in April.

Coolum Surf Club president and member of the crew John Ellingsen was thrilled with their achievement and praised the event.

"From all reports, you know, talking to guys that were involved, they all say it was the best Aussies ever," he said.

"The weather, the organisation, the venue…everything just fell into place perfectly."

The crew from Coolum compete in the 65 and over age group and this year there was seven groups in that division, an increase on last year.

"It's a fact that old rowers are living longer and competing longer…you never know we could be around for a few years yet," he said.

John admitted that winning the medal was a great achievement regardless of how many teams are in his age division, the competition is fierce.

"It doesn't matter what age group you row in, medals are very hard to win because it is very competitive," he said.

"When that gun goes it's like we're rowing in the Olympics, everyone wants to win."

This year there was three races that lead up to the final race in the 65 and over age category.

 "So on the day we had four races, which is reasonably taxing when you take into account how old all these fellows are."

After the Aussie's each year the competitors come together for a Master's Dinner and this year it was held at Coolum Beach Surf Club.

"This year we had 160 in attendance, all mature-age rowers, and it was just the best night," John said.

"There is an award that every rower is trying to win and that it the Oldest Rower in Australia."

This year the honour was awarded to 74-year-old Ron Johnston from Fairhaven in Victoria.  

"I hope that I'm looking as good and going as well as what he is when I'm 74," John said.

"Everyone's trying to live long enough and row long enough to win that award." 


Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Dream of a blissful new life has quickly turned into a nightmare

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Thousands of Melbourne public housing residents have been provided with "detention...

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

This man miraculously survived the 9/11 terror attacks