A re-post from May, 2011:
Bare Aussie Butt Cheeks
It's a long haul from the east coast of the U.S. to Australia, but those bare butt cheeks is one of the reasons it's worth the trouble, time and expense. I've made the trip four times in recent years, and I'd go again in a heartbeat.
Surfboat rowing involves the totally scandalous (and gloriously indecent) business of pulling a wedgie in order to row with one’s butt cheeks bare against the seat. Anything else results in serious chafing as a rower slides up and down the seat. The visual impact is hard to ignore (and who’d want to?). Thankfully, most rowing clubbers tend to be in extremely good shape, which might explain the lack of public outcries of indecency. It’s just an accepted part of surf boat culture.
Here’s a quote from a surf boat rower:
“Some seem to have been given the false impression that Australian surfboat rowers (the lifesavers) use only their upper body while rowing. This could not be farther from the truth. In fact, they utilize true “sliding seats”, that is, they use their bare bum cheeks, with their Speedos pulled up, to slide on the fiber glass or polished wooden seat with the aid of seawater. This is the only rowing method possible for punching through waves and going airborne. The leg power that we surfboat rowers use is explosive, as we often have to stop and start in the surf, in addition to sometimes rowing with a boat full of water. These “feats of strength” – rowing against the current, constant dead starts, pulling a boat full of water – are the real reason why our upper bodies AND our legs are substantially more muscular than your average Olympic rower. Furthermore, we also use rolling seats (i.e. what you use in scull) for our still water marathon events, which can go for hours with changeovers (and sometimes sharks!)."
So now we know. Sigh.