9 August 2019 – An annual traditional sporting event held on the second Saturday in August in Croatia will take place for the 22nd time tomorrow.
28 teams will take part this Saturday, 10 August in the 22nd Maraton lađa rowing race with another big crowd expected to turn out for what is one of the biggest events of the year in the area.
Maraton lađa is a rowing race in traditional vessels, known as lađa, which are native to the Lower Neretva River which flows through Croatia. Lađa were used by the old Neretva pirates, who terrorised the area back in the 10th century.
Because of their narrow size, Lađa were able to enter every one of the rivers that flowed into the Neretva as well as the Neretva River itself. It can be said that the lađa to the Neretva represents the same significance as the gondola does to Venice.
To preserve the traditions of the old Lađa, the 22.5 kilometer rowing race from Metković to Ploče was introduced for the first time in 1998.
Competing Lađa’s must meet certain requirements. Apart from being wooden, they must be between 7 and 8.2 meters in length, between 2.45 and 2.8 meters wide, 70cm deep, with 23 spokes or wooden rods. The oars must also be made of wood. Each rowing crew consists of 10 rowers, a drummer and a cox, or oarsmen. There can be a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 18 persons in each squad. Anyone who is willing may form part of the crew: men, women, children.
The start of the race is in Metkovic under the main bridge. The course runs along the Neretva to the harbour in Ploce. Approximately at the halfway mark, in the town of Opuzen, an interchange of up to six crew members is permitted (although it is not compulsory to change). The race continues further down the river through the small village of Komin, through the narrow Black River and onto the final destination in Ploce.
On Thursday, the women’s race took place with Udruga Lađarica Komin winning in a time of 56-26. In second place were Udruga Sparte Bjelovar with Udruga Lađarica Metkovke Metkovic coming third.
The winners tomorrow will finish the race in just over 2 hours. If you are in the area this Saturday the men’s Maraton lađa race will start at 17:00 with a big crowd again expected.