2018 Masters Championships Head West
By Dan Brauchli • August 20, 2017
Princeton, N.J. — The Bay Area of California has long been known for its rowing history, in addition to the popularity of the sport in the city’s vicinity. Next year, the 2018 USRowing Masters National Championships will return to Lake Merritt located in Oakland, Calif. USRowing is pleased to announce the event will be hosted by Visit Oakland along with the Oakland rowing community and held August 16-19, 2018.
“We are proud to bring this event back to the west coast,” said USRowing Senior Events Manager AJ Dominique. “The City of Oakland, Visit Oakland, and the Oakland rowing community plan to create an engaging experience, both on and off the water.”
Lake Merritt, a frequent host of the USRowing Southwest Masters Regional Championships, previously hosted the Masters National Championships back in 2000. This will be the first time the championship has been held on the west coast since 2008.
“The Oakland rowing community, actually, the entire Bay Area rowing community is really excited about this,” stated Mark Everton, CEO of Visit Oakland.
Not only will racing ensue on Lake Merritt, but the championships will also be the focal point of an extended “festival” known as Oakland Rowing Week. Additional activities will be held at the Oakland Estuary in addition to other locations throughout the city. The center city location of Lake Merritt is sure to provide many additional opportunities for competitors and their families while off the course.
“The great thing about Oakland is it’s central location,” Everton continued. “You can explore Napa, San Francisco, the Southern Valley, and even go out as far out as Lake Tahoe or Yosemite National Park. We’re really hoping the competitors will want to bring their families out with them to make this whole experience a family vacation.”
The Lake Merritt location has hosted not only numerous large regattas, but has also been the focal point of other large sporting celebrations in recent years. The International Dragon Boat Festival was held on Merritt in 2016 and the Golden State Warriors called upon the venue to host their recent championship parade. Lake Merritt, home to the nation’s first national wildlife refuge, has been Oakland’s premiere landmark since 1860 and is sure to once again play a major role in the rowing community.
“Not many venues are located in the heart of a major metropolitan area,” Dominique added. “Merritt offers easy accessibility, beautiful park grounds and a rare chance to see the race course from any point around the lake. Outside of racing, attendees can enjoy Oakland’s vibrant restaurant scene and be surrounded by the social events that Visit Oakland has planned. Lake Merritt’s urban setting will make for a truly unique experience.”