Rillio Rii, Coastal Men's Single Sculls, Vanuatu, 2019 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals, Shenzhen, China

World Rowing is proud to announce, alongside the Commonwealth Rowing Association, Rowing Australia, and the Organising Committee for Victoria 2026, the inclusion of Beach Sprint Rowing to the programme of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, Victoria, Australia.

Classic rowing was featured in the Commonwealth Games from 1930 to 1962, and then again in 1986. The 2026 inclusion of Beach Sprints will be the first time this discipline is featured.

Beach Sprints, the sprint format of coastal rowing, are a head-to-head elimination style of racing, with a short sprint along the beach, a 250m row, and a 180-degree turn before rowing back to the beach and sprinting to the finish line. Competitions are structured such that athletes who progress further are required to race multiple times within a short time window. This discipline of rowing tests your power and strength, as well as coastal navigation skills and performance under fatigue.

The inclusion of the discipline in the Games marks an important milestone for the sport of rowing. Coastal rowing is the extreme version of the sport, and perfect for adventure seekers who enjoy the thrill of the unknown rowing conditions and beautiful coastal scenery. It is one of the fastest growing communities of rowers, and is particularly accessible to rowers based in locations where flat water is not nearby.

The discipline of Beach Sprints is also included on the core programme for the 2023 World Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia, and the 2026 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal. It has also been formally proposed to the International Olympic Committee for inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

“We are particularly excited about the inclusion of Beach Sprints in the Commonwealth Games in 2026, a new form of rowing which has been growing globally following a significant effort to increase our sport’s universality across continents.” said Vincent Gaillard, World Rowing Executive Director.

“This is an important milestone for rowing as a whole and for this particular format, which has recently been included in the 2023 World Beach Games in Bali and the 2026 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar. The inclusion of Beach Sprint Rowing in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games will also be decided by the IOC in the summer of 2023. We are committed to making this format a great success in yet another global multi sports games context.”

Rowing Australia’s CEO Ian Robson said: “Coastal Rowing is a new and exciting format of our sport.  We hosted our inaugural Australian Coastal Rowing Championships in Noosa, Queensland in August this year, and the response was amazing, with the next event in 2023 set to become the Oceania Coastal Rowing and Beach Championships.”

Peter Cookson, President of the Commonwealth Rowing Association said: “Rowing has had a long and proud association with the Commonwealth Games since 1930. The Beach Sprint format provides a unique opportunity to bring rowing to different parts of the world, that have limited access to classic rowing.”

The 2026 Commonwealth Games will take place 17 to 29 March, 2026 in Victoria, Australia. A specific venue for Beach Sprint Rowing is still to be determined.

The Commonwealth Games were first hosted in 1930, and have taken place every four years since, with the exception of 1942 and 1946. Seventy-two teams participate in the games, competing as dependent territories under their own flags.

To see a presentation of the Beach Sprint discipline, click here.