What is Coastal Rowing? – Part 1

What are the differences between coastal rowing versus any other types of rowing? Is it more difficult? Does it involve different rowing techniques? In this blog we set out to answer these and even more questions about coastal rowing.

Coastal rowing has been called the mountain biking of rowing, and by this what is meant is that it is an extreme version of the sport, one that is definitely very much off piste. The famous Swedish rower, Lassi Karonen was quoted as saying The similarity with flat-water rowing is the movement of the stroke, everything else is different, when asked about coastal rowing.

So in this blog we have decided to find out exactly what is different between coastal rowing and other versions of the sport. How the equipment differs and how rowers have to adapt their technique to row on fast flowing water.

What is Different About Coastal Rowing

If you are rowing on a placid lake with still water and no wind, and you are sitting in a coastal boat, you will find very little difference between coastal rowing and lake rowing. The only thing your may notice is the craft is heavier and a bit harder to maneuver. However, on the open sea there are currents and tides to consider as well as the waves of course. It is true that you also can get waves on rivers and lakes, especially when the wind is blowing hard. It is times like these that the heavier boats come into their own, and the technique of handling the boat changes.

Technique Used for Coastal Rowing

Coastal rowing is a relatively young pastime and there are only small amounts of reference documentation about it. And there are few manuals teaching you how to row in a coastal environment. Most of the best information is gathered from the coastal rowers themselves, or perhaps from internet bloggers.

The following comments have been gleaned from various sources, all of which have been posted by actual coastal rowers themselves.

  • Constantly keep adapting to changing currents, waves and winds.
  • Try to stay as relaxed as possible, feel the water and compensate with your stroke.
  • Your blades should be constantly in the water, this is a way of steering.
  • Follow the wave and don’t fight it.
  • Change the height of your hands on the oars if you are struggling to keep them in the water.
  • Your power should come from the mid-part of your stroke, and not on a strong catch.
  • Your slide might need to be shortened, and remain sitting up in the boat, your aim should be stability and not reach. Speed can be gained from the legs and not the length of the stroke.
  • Make sure you attain a clean release, make sure the blades come out of the water square and fast so they don’t catch on the top of the waves.
  • If the conditions start to get rough, set your hands further apart. You can try alternating leading with different hands.
  • Whatever happens, keep rowing. You need to keep on propelling the boat forward.

These tips for better coastal rowing technique will aid when you take your first trip out on the sea. You will soon notice the difference to your normal rowing but if you persevere you will succeed.