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What’s so different about open water rowing?

I have been lucky enough to try open water sea rowing in a single scull hosted by the … read more

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I have been lucky enough to try open water sea rowing in a single scull hosted by the Open Water Sculling Center in Sausalito.
Open water sculling rowing

Open Water Sculling Credit: WSJ

who row in San Francisco Bay.  it’s such a different experience that I find it hard to explain to flat-water rowers.

Luckily this great interview with another expert who moved from flat to open water rowing explains it nicely.

“There’s a meditative quality to rowing,” Ms. Brocoum, 43 years old, says. “When you’re in open water, you feel so small. It puts the whole world into perspective.” She rowed for two seasons at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., before switching to club rowing for her final two years at school. “There was something addictive about human-powered speed and being on the water,” she says. “I knew in my adult life I’d return to rowing.”

I particularly like this part of her observations.  because community rowing clubs are springing up all round the world and they are a world apart from the “traditional elitist / old school tie” view of the sport.  I like her observation that rowing is a great leveler – however successful you seem to be in your work life, at the rowing club there’s no status – just a bunch of friends going rowing together.

I am so proud our sport has this ethic and I hope it stays this way.

“Rowing tends to be viewed as an elitist sport, but I liked that this club is no pretense, just community,” Ms. Brocoum says. “Many of the members are super-successful professionals, who drop all sense of status to get out on the water. Rowing in open water humbles everyone.”

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe
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