Adam Kreek aims for Guinness record on Gorge Waterway

Olympian Adam Kreek is staging a world-record attempt for the largest rowing class on the Gorge Waterway, Friday (March 9)

Olympian Adam Kreek is on a mission to put more people in human-powered boats

Olympian Adam Kreek is on a mission to put more people in human-powered boats

When & Where: GO Rowing and Paddling Centre at the Selkirk Waterfront, 45 Jutland Rd., 4 p.m. Friday (March 9). What you need: A row boat, or anything you can row; listening skills; warm clothes; patience (to be sure everyone is counted).

 

When Adam Kreek first applied to set the record for the world’s largest rowing class he was told the number he needed to break was 165.

Kreek, the 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning rower, got approval by the administrators from Guinness World Records to try and break a record set in 2008 by an eager class of students on rowing machines in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

But then, just last weekend, a wrinkle in this Friday’s world-record attempt was discovered by co-organizer Eric Pittman.

“There has been an addition of drama to the event,” Pittman said. “A Swiss group just broke the record on Jan. 27 with 191. We just found that out on March 3, and it’s a good thing we found out.”

Friday’s attempt by Kreek, with help from the Go Rowing and Paddling Association, will hold a rowing class on the Gorge Waterway between the Selkirk Trestle bridge and the Bay Street Bridge.

“The goal is to get more people into human powered boats,” Kreek said. “It’s something I came up with that I thought would be really exciting for the kids.”

The record-size class is meant to promote awareness among youth about rowing as a sport and recreation activity, as well as emphasizing healthy living. It coincides with Saturday afternoon’s Victoria Paddle Festival, from 1 to 4 p.m. on the walkway and in the waters next to the Delta Ocean Point Hotel and the Songhees Walkway and Park.

Kreek has about 180 kids booked to come out from local rowing and paddling groups. The class is also open to the public.

“If people want to participate they can bring down their own recreational rowing shells. We’ll have counters there. We have to be together as a class for one hour to pass as a record.”

This isn’t the first time Kreek’s come up with a publicity idea for the sport of rowing. It was Kreek’s idea to have the Olympic torch relay cross Elk Lake during its path through Victoria for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The torch was passed from Kreek’s boat of gold medal winners to a group of select kids who represented the future of Canadian athletics.

“Events like this are really important for global stewardship and alignment,” Kreek said.

“Just by coming out, kids will be taking part in something on a global scale, and knowing they’re the best at something gives them something to build self-esteem around. All of a sudden a switch flicks in their minds that ‘Hey, I’m not just part of the biggest class in the world, but that I’m part of the world,’ and it creates awareness.”

Since winning gold in Beijing, Kreek has transitioned to a career of motivational speaking. He’s also drawn to adventure. In December, he and three others plan to row across the Atlantic Ocean, the latest O.A.R. Northwest expedition.

Their boat is 29 feet long, rigged for two rowers at a time, and is the most “technically advanced” row boat in the world, with a massive solar panel on the bow.

It will be on display during this weekend’s paddling festival.

The business of Guinness

Setting a world record means filing a pile of applications with Guinness World Records ahead of time, and executing the event according to specific standards.

“We have to launch all our boats and be (together) as a group for at least an hour,” Kreek said. “Once that passes, we’re in the Guinness record book.”

No one will actually be there from Guinness World Records, as it cost about $4,500 to have an official representative on hand. Instead, volunteers will count heads on Friday.

The person spearheading the recording of Friday’s Guinness World Record attempt is Eric Pittman of Pinnacle Events.

“They like publicity up front, and want something a little out of the ordinary that qualifies as a record,” Pittman said. “They don’t just want a video tape.”

In 2007, Pittman thumbed through the Guinness World Records and found “a silly one I knew I could achieve to help publicize my book.”

It took Pittman six months, but he learned to scuba dive and, up until 2009, he held the record for the largest under water press conference.

“I saw that I only needed 21. I though surely I could get that. We ended up being 61 people under the water at Ogden Point.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelly Black, executive director of Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens, is working on years of deferred maintenance around the house and property. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Point Ellice House in Victoria looks to patch up during pandemic

Woodpeckers, leaks and rot keep museum head busy

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read