Cape Coral Rowing Club loses it all due to Ian

Published: October 26, 2022 6:09 PM EDT
Updated: October 27, 2022 10:14 AM EDT

Many of people’s favorite things were destroyed because of Ian.

It’s caused pain for the community as a whole.

In Cape Coral, a team lost their rowing club.

The club teaches people, young and old, the sport of rowing.

Ian destroyed almost every piece of equipment the team uses, including a new dock, training equipment, countless boats and so much more.

The group is coming together with the help of volunteers to rebuild.

Over the past couple weeks, they’ve had clean up sessions to salvage what they can.

In the process, the team said this experience has brought them closer than ever before.

The group had just relocated to the space off Burnt Store Road days before the storm.

After spending all summer building it, members can’t believe it’s now all gone.

“My heart sank, it was awful. I was out of town and I received those pictures and I actually cried a little bit,” said Grace Kiszka, with the Cape Coral Rowing Club.

Zoey Vadas said she was heartbroken.

“Just seeing boats you’ve won races in and competed in on your birthday and that you’ve met your best friends in and bonded in just trashed, it’s really hard to see,” Vadas said.

The club’s season was expected to start this month but after surveying the damage, it might not be a possibility.

“We lost a new shed. We lost our box trailer that went in the spreader. We lost all of our rowing machines. I would say, all in all, the biggest loss we suffered was our floating dock,” said Saundra Weston, coach with the Cape Coral Rowing Club.

Without the dock, members don’t have anywhere to safely launch from.

Both Kiszka and Vadas hope to pursue a collegiate career in rowing so this season is crucial.

“Being a rower getting those ERG scores in and water time is super important for colleges, and it’s the main thing that they look at. So not having the facilities to practice on water, and just it sets back a lot of things, especially for recruitment,” Vadas said.

Coach Weston said she’s going to do everything she can to raise funds and rebuild because her rowers are worth it.

“I’m gonna try to land work out the kids and keep them engaged so that we don’t wanna lose them to other sports cause there’s so much future potential,” Weston said.

The Florida Everblades will be donating a portion of their ticket sales from their upcoming Saturday game to help the group rebuild. To buy a ticket, visit this link.