A first for Australia held in the waters around Goolwa

SCENE IS SET: A history making event and another first for SA, as the Vogalonga was held this month.
SCENE IS SET: A history making event and another first for SA, as the Vogalonga was held this month.

Australia's first ever Vogalonga Down Unda went ahead on Sunday, October 4.

Given that the annual Vogalonga in Venice, Italy - which the Australian version was modelled on - had to be cancelled this year, the Australian Vogalonga was the only event of its type on the planet this year.

A history making event and another first for SA.

The Vogalonga is a non-competitive rowing and paddling regatta involving dragon boats, rowing sculls, kayaks, canoes, SUPs and skiffs in fact anything that is human powered on the water.

Sadly, there weren't any Venetian boats in the inaugural event in Goolwa, but the instigator of the event, Michael Piovesan, is still working on that.

Michael spent nearly four years living in Italy, just north of Venice and participated in three Vogalongas, rowing exclusively in Venetian boats between 2016 - 2018.

''Most people only associate Venice with gondolas, but there are many other types of boats in Venice that can be rowed Venetian-style like what a gondolier does," Michael said.

Michael is hoping to bring Venetian rowing to Australia and make it available to anyone.

The Vogalonga Down Unda was intended to be a showcase for Venetian rowing, as well as being a fun community event that anyone with a human powered water going craft can participate in just as they do in Venice itself.

"From the feedback received from participants, the inaugural Vogalonga was a great success," Michael said.

A local Working Group representing a range of Goolwa-based organisations, including Cittaslow Goolwa, the Goolwa Aquatic Club and Canoe the Coorong planned the Australian Vogalonga originally intended for April 26, but was postponed due to the Pandemic.

Many local sponsors got on board for the inaugural event, including Lakeside Goolwa, Harcourts, MBA Financial Strategists, About Print and others.

The Port Elliot Surf Life Saving boat crews took part in this year's event.

The organisers are now planning their next event for April 18, 2021. Registrations for the 2021 event will open soon.