Coastal Rowing is getting more and more popular. Many beginners wonder: How difficult is coastal rowing. What are the differences about fine boat rowing. Tim Fenemore explains some of the differences for novice and beginner rowers
“You may have thought about giving Coastal Rowing a try but concerned that it might upset your technique. Having used FISA Coastal Rowing boats myself for training over the winter and now competing in them alternately with fine boats, let’s look at how Coastal Rowing boats can help you.
Doing the same thing every day can become tedious after a while, the same stretch of water or your favourite erg machine may be great but there are additional ways to spice up your training. Cross training through running, cycling and yoga can all help provide us with different ways of improving our fitness but surely its time to have some fun at the beach in the waves. Coastal Rowing provides sport-specific training to rowers in a fun environment. If you have a spare day, weekend or are on holiday at the beach it is increasingly possible to find Coastal Rowing boats for hire or clubs who will welcome visitors.
Discover the difference:
Coastal boats are more stable than fine boats, allowing you to train in all weather conditions. This is particularly important for rowers on lakes, wide rivers or obviously at the coast where risks can be dramatically reduced. Not only is the risk of capsize reduced but the capability to self-recover is much easier. Given that the survival time for lycra-clad rowers in winter temperatures is low and limited rescue facilities it sense to consider the addition of Coastal boats to club fleets.
The higher weight of Coastal boats can be an advantage if you want to build strength and endurance. I’m finding that my fine boats feel more ‘nippy’ when I transfer back from a few days in the Coastal. You really start to appreciate the acceleration of a fine boat and the manoeuvrability of a Coastal. I’m convinced that its improving my speed and endurance in both disciplines.
How difficult is Costal Rowing?
Many of us use too much upper body (arm) effort whilst rowing and also find the catch position to be unsteady. Coaching can help but often there are too many instructions for the rower to interpret and respond effectively, hence many rowers do not reach their full potential. Having a more stable hull allows the rower to experiment and refine their technique in a safer way, taking each element in turn and letting the boat do the work of providing stability. The Coastal boats respond well to firm leg pressure and lack of rushing down the slide. This provides the rower with a chance to safely tackle those parts of their technique that have been niggling them for years, whilst also doing it in a boat that responds well.
Some rowers find choppy or windy conditions to be challenging. This often leads to them tensing up when the boat is hit with wash from a safety boat or an unexpected gust of wind – making the boat more unstable as a result and making the row so much less enjoyable. Expanding your experience of weather and water conditions through the use of Coastal boats either on the sea or even at your inland club can help give you more confidence when you experience them in your fine boat – it is surprising how much punishment any boat can take if you stay relaxed and keep the power through your lower body with relaxed arms and shoulders. You will also subconsciously develop an increased awareness of the environment and surroundings, there are weather changes, waves, buoys, kitesurfers, tidal currents, swimmers and a myriad of other things to keep you alert if you try a Coastal boat on the sea.
Conversely it is also interesting to see how the high stroke rates and training regimes used in fine boat rowing can be transferred to Coastal racing… something we are experimenting with at the moment.
So what are you waiting for?
Are you headed for the beach after a long winter training and busy regatta season, living at the coast, or in the winter of the Southern hemisphere looking out at a choppy windswept water? If so, take a trip to your nearest Coastal Rowing club or centre and give it a try – you won’t regret it… and it will also improve your rowing!…”
Hollowell Scullers / Coastal Barbarians