Sir Matthew Pinsent - 4 x Olympic Gold Medallist rows a Surfboat

Matthew Pinsent took some time from his visit to Redruth School, and came down to Porthtowan SLSC to have a pop at surfboat rowing.

If he was a little shocked at the conditions when he arrived he certainly didn’t show it. He barely raised an eyebrow as he waded through the sand and ankle deep water in the changing room, before coming  face to face with the Porthtowan club towel, lurking in the shadows. He changed into his rowing kit, and put on a brave face as he was presented with a pair of speedos with ‘Matthew Pinsent Redruth School Surfboat Rowing Club’ printed on the back. He may not know it, he is the first, but definitely not the last, member of the RSSRC.

It was tough trying to guess what size of speedos to get him before he arrived. Had he let himself go after the harsh Olympic training schedule, and been packing on the pounds, what size was he going to be? A surprisingly large number of the girl’s crew had also turned up, because they had heard a rumour about what he might be packing in the front.

Anyway he was comfortable in the smaller pair, kindly provided by Speedos uk. With all the cameras that had gathered around the club house, and some keen young surfboat rowers from Redruth School we were ready for the off.

The conditions on the day were bumpy and a bit windy. We couldn’t take the students from the RSSRC out more than a couple of strokes from the beach into the waves. Sweep Gary Walters had some choice words of encouragement for the students, and did a great job taking them through a few simple start procedures.

Then it was time for the Porthtowan men’s crew to get in the boat and go out for a proper row with SIR MATTHEW PINSENT 4 TIMES OLYMPIC CHAMPION!

We put him in at second stroke, my normal rowing position, figuring he wouldn’t appreciate a really bumpy ride up in the bow. This proved to be a mistake, because all I have heard since this outing is ‘Ed, Sir Matthew had a quicker hands away than you, you need to concentrate on quicker hands away,…. and another thing Sir Matthew was always ready at the catch, not crashing down the slide like you do…..and Sir Matthew’s position at the catch……not like you do…..etc etc.’

click on image for larger version

matthew pinsent

Anyway first trip out he was introduced to the famous Porthtowan warm up ie. 20 minutes hanging around in the cold on the beach, before waist deep immersion in cold water for a 5 minute chat to really bring the body temperature down before jumping into the boat and rowing at 110% out through the waves. We got hit a few times on the way out, the world went white, a fair amount of water came into the boat, with no real discernable impact on the perfect technique I am still hearing about.

Out the back as we waited for a wave to catch back in he commented on our ‘warm up’ and the fact that we got a free ride back to the beach after the can. He listened carefully to Gary’s instructions about catching a wave and joined in with the scramble through the short confused swell back to the beach.

At the end of the session before the BBC descended on him, he helped pack the boat away, and signed the back of Blue Bali ‘Row harder you softies, Matthew Pinsent 1992 1996 2000 2004’

4 medals and a 2k ergo time of 5minutes 42 seconds, who are we to disagree?


Ed Hartgill – part time 2nd stroke


<< Back