Whanganui’s proud rowing history comes to life in this legendary long distance single sculling race!

The ‘Billy Webb’ commemorates New Zealand’s first professional single sculling world champion – William ‘Billy’ Webb’s defence of his World Title on the Whanganui River in 1908, before 25,000 spectators.

The only public sports event held in the Whanganui region that has hosted Olympic and World Champions, this annual event brings a buzz and excitement to the banks of the Whanganui river only ever seen in this race.


This 5km feature race takes place on New Zealand’s longest navigable river – Te awa o Whanganui. A beautiful course, this is a memorable, must do experience for all water sport enthusiasts.

Rowing NZ endorse the race as a platform for NZ elite athletes to promote and encourage rowing in provincial areas like Whanganui – this is where many of our World and Olympic Champs journey to the world stage began.


The ‘Billy Webb’ is open to rowers of any age or experience, giving any rower the opportunity to race.

Along with cash prizes thanks to Rigtec, the winners of the Men’s and Women’s Open have their names engraved alongside previous challenge winners on stunning glass trophies made by renowned glass artists based out of Whanganui.

For men, the ‘Billy Webb Challenge Trophy’ is a glass waka created by Greg Hall and for women, the ‘Philippa Baker Hogan Trophy’ is glass whisper created by Katie Brown.


The Whanganui Rowing Association is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to facilitate the development and sustainability of rowing in the Whanganui region. To achieve these goals the organisation relies on grant and corporate funding support.

Thank you to our ‘oarsome’ Sponsors and Supporters!

‘Billy Webb’ the legend at home and abroad

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