‘Rowing is the one thing we look forward to each week,’ crew and former Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot Jodie Furlonge (36) said.
Lead by Cottesloe resident Allison Gould (46), one of the first WA women to race in surf boats in 1994 when that boat won a WA title, the current Kittens Masters crew is completed by Lou Roberts (43) at the bow, former UK Olympic rower Kate Wall (46), from Daglish, and sweep Stephen Petrie.
‘We understand each other’s dynamics and that each of us have children, but our motto is ‘wine, cheese and ergo machines’,’ Ms Gould said.
On land, the women train in the gym, while early morning sessions on the oars offer some surprising experiences at sea.
‘We’ve rowed alongside whales, and had sharks come up to the boat,’ Ms Gould said.
Rowing off a beach baffles Mrs Wall’s former flat-water teammates in the UK after she represented Britain in the sport at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
‘They think it’s mad going in the waves when the surf’s up,’ she said.
Teamwork has led the Kittens to wins, including bronze medals at the Australian Masters Championships in 2013, silver at the 2013 State master finals and a win in the WA masters competition a year earlier.
They aimed to set the pace at the Manly Open Carnival last Saturday and Freshwater Surf Boat Spectacular two days later.
‘A surf carnival official once said to us ‘Kittens were supposed to be fluffy and cute’, but we’re mostly scratchy and bitey,’ Ms Gould said.
– See the Western Suburbs Weekly next week for the Kittens’ carnival results.