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Club Overview

With it's origins springing from an early initiative by the members of the Gold Coast Eagles Rowing Club to find a replacement for their modest shed washed away in the 1974 floodwaters, the Surfers Paradise Rowing Club has grown from it's humble beginnings into a robust community club dedicated to providing access to facilities, equipment, professional coaching and expertise to a wide membership within the greater Gold Coast community. 
The home of Olympic rowers and coaches, and the seeding ground of World Class champion rowers and future Olympians, the Surfers Paradise Rowing Club, like it's emblem the eagle, continues to spread it's wings to grow the sport of rowing for both recreation and competition amongst members ranging in age from 16 to 85 years, men and women, beginners and state and international representatives.  Partnering with Griffith University on the Gold Coast has seen the club soar in terms of garnering expertise and growing the sport among our young people, ensuring future growth and longevity.  This strong partnership has helped to further the club's position as an inclusive association that strives for both excellence and wide participation across age groups and skill levels.

A dedicated and engaged membership is any club's lifeblood, and GUSPRC is proud to have honoured lifetime members, and Olympic, World Champion, and international rowers and coaches among its numbers.  Some of our current active club rowers are among the founding members of the club in its earliest guise in the 1970's.

Olympic rower, Duncan Free OAM has himself come through the elite rowing development program at the club, and now as Griffith University's Sport College Director, has forged ever stronger ties with the club and also coaches the next generation towards excellence.  The club's Head Coach, Christopher Holliday brings a wealth of coaching expertise to our membership as an accomplished successful coach.  The breadth of experience and diversity of our club's membership is testament to GUSPRC's potent mix of expertise, commitment, and forward-looking approach to enjoying the sport of rowing at all levels and every age, well into the future.


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As in the days of the club's earliest formation, a strong sense of enthusiasm, commitment, community, volunteering, and partnership has seen GUSPRC develop into a strong, competitive, and sustainable rowing club.  The joy of rowing on the spectacular waterways of Surfers Paradise, - whether for fitness, fun, or competition, - as part of a club founded on community, is what GUSPRC is all about.  


The Surfers Paradise Rowing Club as we know it now, was formed in 1989 and the boat shed was first established on it's current site on the Nerang River at 159 Bundall Rd in 1996.  The current club maintains a local rowing legacy founded in a boating shed on the nearby Isle of Capri which was washed away during the Boxing Day floods of 1974.  Dedicated early members built the rowing club up from literally nothing by drawing on enthusiasm, hard work, and partnerships.

GUSPRC today is a club built on these formidable core values of dedication, commitment, passion, and unity. We strive to support these qualities in all members of our club to ensure a positive, fun and supportive rowing environment.

Club History
Club History Timeline





Meet Chris Holliday, our Head Rowing Coach. With a professional rowing career spanning over two decades and crossing three continents (Australia, the UK, and Southern Africa), Chris has demonstrated a lifelong commitment and dedication to the sport. It's no surprise that athletes guided by him have found their way to both the Olympic and Para Olympic teams. 

His former roles include Program Director and Men's Development Coach of the renowned Sydney University Boat Club one of Australia's premier high-performance rowing clubs,  Program Director and Head Coach at Rhodes University, and Director of Rowing at St. Andrews College. During his tenure at Sydney University Boat Club, Chris expertly coordinated with sports science teams, architecting individual performance plans that led the club to the national spotlight with three club titles under their belt. 

As Head Coach, Chris loves seeing his team come into their own, which is most evident in how he works alongside athletes through mentorships and pathways programs.  In his approach, Chris focuses on nurturing an inclusive culture and creating a team environment and drives every participant toward their potential. Above all, Chris enjoys embracing the challenge of helping others craft and achieve their goals. He relishes in the success of his athletes and is deeply honoured to be an integral part of their journeys.

Chris has himself coached on a number of National Teams attending World Rowing Championships, World Univeristy Games as well as a number of prestigious club events such as Henley Royal Regatta and Head of the Charles.  The recognition, results, and awards are great, he confesses, but what he truly cherishes is the process.

On a personal note, Chris is a devoted supporter of the South African Rugby team, the 'Springboks’, but don’t let his athletic affinities mislead you – on the weekend, you’ll find him cooking Braai (a South African BBQ) for his family, and spending cherished time playing with his three children. 

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Marcus has extensive experience having represented Australia at a number of World Championships as both an athlete and as a coach. He understands what’s required for athletes to be successful. 

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As a rower Bob has represented Australia in Lightweight Eight World Championships 1978, winning Bronze Medal.

Bob's Coaching Career highlights:

Senior Coach for Adelaide University Boat Club 6 years, winning many State championships.

South Australian Heavy weight coach 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 & 1985.

Successfully winning 3 Kings Cups plus 4 Australian titles in coxless pairs and Coxed 4’s.

South Australian Penrith Cup coach 1977 and 1980.

Represented Australia coaching the men’s heavy weight Four in the World Championships in Lucerne 1982.

Coached TSS 8+ crews from 1999 - 2022, many successfully.

Coached St Hildas school 3rd 8+ 2023, undefeated for the season and winning the HOR.

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Olympic Gold medallist, Duncan Free brings a wealth of knowledge built up through 20 years of competition including 4 Olympic Games.

Duncan has a balanced approach to training ensuring all athletes he works with enjoy themselves and their sport, alongside balancing their academic and personal excellence.

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Nick is a former representative level AFL player, national tour beach volleyballer and current competitive rower himself at masters level, achieving medals at the national championships in 2016 and 2018 as well as picking up medals at the 2016- 2023 state championships.


Nick has been coaching junior and senior sport for 15+ years across 3 seperate sports at representative levels ( AFL, beach volleyball and now Rowing).


As a level 3 NCAS accredited rowing coach Nick has mainly been at the school and junior level, coaching 8x GPS / BSRA winning head of the river crews, and most recently coaching his year 9 quad scull to state champions for both year 9 and year 10 age groups as well as the year 9 state champion double sculls.


Nick is an accredited exercise scientist and Strength & Conditioning Coach having been in S&C roles for rowing specifically at major schools such as St Hildas and The Southport School (TSS).


In his full time career Nick haas been a lecturer and educating up and coming Personal trainers as well as mentoring and guiding established personal trainers for the last 10+ years.


Outside of Coaching and teaching you will find him raising his 3 year old son to be the best he can be.




Simon is a Rowing Australia Level 2 Coach who has been coaching on and off since completing successful School rowing, winning State titles in the Open Schoolboys 8, Four and SIngle Scull in Tasmania. 

In more recent years Simon has coached Masters athletes and Juniors at the Bucks rowing club in Tasmania the highlight being State titles in the Club Junior Girls Double and Gold and Silver in the Singles along with a State Schoolgirls Single Scull win from his small group of athletes.

After a move to QLD in 2020 Simon was again involved in school rowing programs and has produced success at state level in U/16 Single Sculls, a Head of the river win in the Yr10 Girls double scull, and Consecutive wins in the Yr10 and Yr11 Schoolgirls State Champs.


Simon particularly enjoys coaching Masters rowers as the diversity of the group can throw up challenges that require fine tuning of boat rigging and setup, this technical aspect of rowing has been a focal point for Simon over the years. As well as catering for the varied aspirations of the athletes ensures there is never a dull moment.


"Joining GUSPRC has been an extremely welcoming experience and I am excited to continue to grow and develop the masters squad, the club also gives me the opportunity to develop myself further as a coach working with the pool of highly experienced and accomplished Senior Coaches."





Paul Haines, Manager, Sport Engagement (Performance) at Griffith University is an Accredited Exercise Scientist and High Performance Manager (ESSA), as well as an Accredited Professional Level 2 Strength & Conditioning Coach (ASCA). Paul has 23 years of training professional sporting teams and individuals within a wide variety of sports, including AFL, swimming, athletics, and a variety of motorsport categories including F1, V8 Supercars, MotoX, Moto GP, Superbikes, Speedway, Karting & Off-Road Rally. 

Paul's passion is researching & analysing the overall demands of a sport, and then implementing both physical & cognitive training programs simultaneously to improve overall performance.  

Using these skills, Paul has also worked as a consultant with the Australian Army over the last 7 years, implementing physical and cognitive stress training protocols for teams and individuals to enhance overall performance within Defence.

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