Our Whitehall Spirit Solo 14 sits at the foot of our backyard on a private and sheltered pebble beach that we affectionately call Nimble’s Cove. My family spends quite a bit of time on this little beach; it can really be considered an extension of our living room. It is a comfortable place to chat about whatever is on the mind or just to sit and listen.
Rowing has changed my life. My nautical background has more to do with sailing and scuba diving than rowing but in the last year or so I have been turned on to slide seat rowing in a big, big way. I wanted to let people know first hand about the different ways that rowing benefits not only the physical health of the body, but allows space and mental freedom from stress and worry that tend to plague even the seemingly carefree… Nothing compares to the sound of the water tickling the hull as I speed along or the sense of strength and power I feel in my muscles as I row against the tide. As one of our customers has said… “Rowing is the only exercise I like!” I agree 100%! I have always been physically active and not had to consider an exercise regime until now… hello 40!
What surprised me most is how “in the present” I am when I am sitting aboard Nimble. Whether I am alone, with my kids or friends, I am there and that is all that matters. Every time I go out it is different. I see something new, I learn something new about my technique and how to improve, I notice things that aren’t noticeable as easily while in a car or on a bike. I feel good!
While there are many books about slide seat rowing to choose from and tons of great advice available online and through professional coaching, I thought I would share the big tips that have come in handy for my own rowing.
Tip 1: Have fun. The boat (if you have a boat from Whitehall Rowing and Sail) will not sink and will never break down on you. Let yourself get used to being in the boat and practice basic boat handling skills such as docking or coming in and out off a beach, changing direction. Who cares if you’re not great at it at first… you have the rest of your life to practice. Enjoy what’s happening around you… what you see, feel and hear. It will only be that way once.
Tip 2: You can steer with your legs! Yes, you can steer with your legs! Instead of using just your arms and back to pull harder on one side than the other to steer, use those legs! Push harder against the foot stop with one leg than the other and you will save your arms and move your boat in the direction you choose.
Tip 3: Slow is smooth… smooth is fast. Fast, jerky movements will slow you down and tire you out faster. Enjoy the glide… my friend and rowing coach, Carol, gave me great advice. She says, “Take an extra half a second before dropping your oars in the water before starting the drive (when you start pulling with the oars in the water). Do so with your feet, oars and mind at the same time…. WOW I never knew until then that this boat had an overdrive! Sometimes less is more!
“Row with the flow”