More than 20 Illawarra crews will take to the water at Mollymook on Saturday for round one of the Australian Surf Rowers League Series.
The Mollymook round kicks off a new season for the iconic Australian sport, with local crews beginning their tilt at major titles next year.
Perennial rowing heavyweights Austinmer will be among the starters and veteran sweep Jack Pattison is expecting big things from all the club's crews, though they will be somewhat lacking in personnel this weekend.
"We'll be a little bit depleted this weekend," Pattison said.
"We're having a slow start to the season on purpose.
"With the world titles last year it was a long year.
"We're starting slower this year and working towards the pinnacle of the Australian titles.
"We'll be building steadily through series and the Ocean Thunder, they'll be our focus but it's not until April that you need to be going really quick."
Most of the club's top rowers will be back on deck for the first round of the elite Ocean Thunder series, which begins on November 9 at Dee Why.
Ocean Thunder pits the state's top 24 men's crews and top 12 women's crews against each other in a special made-for-television format to be televised on Fox Sports.
Austinmer men's crew will be looking to better their third place finish in last year's series, alongside fellow South Coast clubs Batemans Bay and Corrimal.
In the women's, Austinmer Blue will be representing the Illawarra alongside Helensburgh-Stanwell Park, who finished third in last year's series.
"Everyone should be back for Ocean Thunder. I believe the A [men's] crew I've got this year will end up being the strongest I've ever had," Pattison said. "Steve Kenna has come back to us from Batemans Bay. They've finished second and third at Australian titles with him in the crew so he will strengthen us.
"Corey and Aaron Jackson and Mitch Stewart are back as well and they were in the Australian crew for worlds last year so it's all on target.
"With the women's the blue crew is the same and we've got another women's crew, so this year we will go to two open men and two open women crews."