WITH eight less crews than last season and no competition in their oars so far, Tannum Sands surf boat crews are far from the dominating force of 12 months ago.
Only four crews remain, with a single sweep in Tony Davis, who in his 18 years with the club has not seen such a desperate situation.
Davis can't believe the club has lost 32 people after winning five gold medals at last year's Queensland Championships and proving to be in such a healthy position.
"I think Phil Massingham leaving hurt, every rower in his crews pulled the pin," Davis said.
"I am not sure why the mass exodus, maybe they want to do something else, I don't know the full reasons."
The drop in numbers has forced some new rowers into the boats, which comes with patience and time to teach the discipline before cranking at full speed.
Inconsistencies with availability has also hurt Tannum Sands.
"We have had rowers on holidays, one had a broken hand," Davis said.
"We have postponed our start to the event in Agnes Water."
That is on January 31, a late beginning while the Tannum Sands rowers still search for success.
While mathematically impossible to match the five gold medal haul from 2014 with only four crews, Davis wants to see the Men's U23 and the 200 Year Masters vying for medals.
"The Gorlocks (U23) can still challenge again, but right now they are missing a guy in Canada," he said.
"The Masters are training well and will challenge for gold at states."
The crews still have time to resurrect any late start to the season.
The Queensland titles are on March 27-29 at Maroochydore.
But with time running out, Davis needs to see his four boats make drastic improvement at Agnes Water and at Alexandra Headland on February 8.
"We will have to really kick in to get ready for that," he said.