FAMILY AFFAIR: The Rowe family, from left, Rhianna, Leah, Ayla and Deb are all loving rowing with the Whakatane Rowing Club. Photo Troy Baker D9438-05

WITH the last name Rowe, it’s only fitting that mum Deb, and daughters, Ayla, Rhianna and Leah have taken a real liking to rowing.

Fifteen-year-old Ayla was the first to take up rowing three years ago and has been joined in the sport by her mum and two sisters during the past year.

The family reckon the sport is “oarsome” and love every chance they can possibly get to jump on the water.

“The Whakatane Rowing Club is a fantastic club to be involved with and they have really made us feel involved and welcomed,’’ Deb said.

Her journey to the sport came through watching Ayla and when she heard of a learn to row programme for some of the mums, she decided to have a crack.

“A few of us mums heard about it and thought we’d jump in the boat and see how we went, and it’s gone from there. It’s been fantastic and they have been really patient with us.’’

She’s competed in a few events and loves heading to regattas to row in the masters grades or support her daughters.

“Going to the regattas is great fun because I get to spend quality time with my daughters.’’

As for copping a bit of stick about their name and the new sport they love, Deb said it did happen.

“We have been to events and put our name down to sign up and people have said ‘we know the sport is rowing’, and I reply ‘yes Rowe is our last name’. We just have a bit of a laugh really.’’

She loves their Tuesday night rowing group, where they jump out on the water for some rowing and then enjoy a nice gin afterwards.

“It’s really good fun, we all get along well and it’s our golfing group so it’s always a laugh.’’

The family have yet to row altogether in a quad but it’s in the pipeline, something all three daughters labelled scary.

“I don’t know what rowing with mum will be like. We’ve had a few people say they would like to cox us, even Fergus our brother wants to,’’ Ayla said.

She loves having her sisters and mum rowing with her.

“It’s pretty cool we can all do something together.’’

Ayla has recently begun rowing in the single scull and has been loving it.

“I am improving every regatta but really enjoying it.’’

She’s rowed with 13-year-old sister Leah a couple of times in a double but is now rowing with the under-18 crew.

“There’s no others my age so I am competing up a grade and really enjoying it.’’

Unfortunately for Ayla she’s got the unwanted tag in the family of having fallen out of her boat the most.

“The others haven’t, but I have somehow managed to do it a few times, the most recent time was when a double bumped into me and I fell out.’’

Ayla said the club was like their second home – they spent that much time there.

Leah was pushed towards the sport by mum and Rhianna thought she’d give it a go as well.

“I didn’t really want to do it, but am pleased mum encouraged me to have a go, because I’m loving it,’’ Leah said.

Leah wants to give rowing a good crack like the rest of her family.

“I love how I’ve met so many new friends from other places, and I will get to see them at different regattas.’’

She and Rhianna, who is 11 years old, have competed together in a double and enjoy it although there have been some disagreements.

‘‘We have had a few arguments because someone can’t row straight,’’ Rhianna said of her older sister.

Rhianna said it was awesome being able to do something like this as a family and they were excited at the possibility of being able to row together.

“I think it will be scary but good fun.’’

Their next regatta is on Saturday at Blue Lake.

Rowing is not the girls only sporting choice with hockey, football, underwater hockey, touch and golf some of the others they have given a crack.

Deb is grateful to the rowing club for helping them pick up the sport and making it so enjoyable, and encourages anyone wanting to try a sport to give it a go.

“The coaches are absolutely fantastic, they’re so patient.’’