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Rowing is a very unique sport in many ways. Please use the resources below to learn more about our sport!

What is rowing?

To a casual observer, most “paddling” watersports look the same. It’s easy to think rowing is the same sport as canoeing, kayaking or dragonboating. What sets rowing apart is the fulcrum, whereby the oar is affixed to the boat, and you move the boat by inducing force on the attachment point.

There are two disciplines in rowing: sculling and sweeping. Sculling is where each rower holds 2 oars each - one in their right hand, one in their left. Sweeping is where rowers hold a single oar each, with two hands - and row predominantly on a single side. Each discipline has it’s pros and cons, and both help to develop rowers’ skills. At OARS, we will work on both disciplines to develop well rounded rowers.

Learn more about our sport here:

Rowing equipment:

Racing shells also come in many sizes - the minimum number of seats (that is, the number of rowers that fit in a shell) is 1. We also have boats with 2 rowers, 4 rowers and up to 8 rowers.

Modern racing shells are state-of-the-art racing vessels. They are predominantly carbon fiber reinforced plastic, with bits of titanium and aluminum. All shells (of the same boat class) must weigh the same for major competitions - what differentiates them is the hydrodynamics (wider = more stable platform, easier to row, skinner = less drag, harder to row), ergonomics (better ergonomics allows you to expend less energy for the same output), and stiffness (stiffer boats absorb less energy, transferring more to boatspeed).


As you can probably imagine, rowing is expensive. Top-of-the-line boats these days come from Italy and Germany - these can cost upwards of $60k depending on options and the exchange rate. Oars can range from $300 up to $1200 each.

At OARS, we provide our athletes with top-of-the-line equipment from Resolute, Filippi, Vespoli & Quantum, along with oars from Concept2. Take a look here to learn more about the equipment in this sport:


At OARS, our top priority is creating a safe and welcoming environment to help youth develop into rowers. Our practices are structured to help athletes develop and grow with the sport. Please see these links below to learn more about our policies.


Most of the equipment used in this sport will be provided by OARS. However, we strongly recommend more form fitting clothes, to ensure full range of motion.

Take a look through the links below for rowing-specific attire.

Regattas (Races)

At OARS, we compete in two major types of races - Head Races in the fall, and Sprint races in the Spring.


Head Races:

Head races are typically contested in the Fall and early Winter. Boats do not start at the same time - boats have a staggered start, typically every 10-20 seconds, and race for the best time in their event. Boats that are doing well will typically pass lots of boats, while boats that aren’t will be passed.


Each boat is given a bow number (a card on the front of the boat indicating the order they started in). Lower bow numbers start first, followed by higher ones - e.g. Bow 1 is the first boat, Bow 2 is the second, etc… You can tell if a particular boat is winning by looking at the bow numbers around them - if you see bow 25, then bow 42, then bow 26 - you know bow 42 is doing well, and has passed many other boats.


Sprint Races:

In the Spring, we will shift to sprint races. In a sprint race, boats start lined up by the bow ball (the front most tip of the boat will always have a rubber plastic ball). Boats will be given a starting command - typically, each boat will be polled check if they are ready, followed by “Attention….Go.”


Races typically have up to 6 boats each. When there are more than 6 boats in an event, we have progressions. These start with heats, then quarter finals, semifinals, and then the grand final; in a 6-lane course, the top 3 progress to the next stage.


Sprint races are always 2000m long. However, calling them “sprints” is a misnomer - the distance is in between a sprint and long distance. The best comparison would be the 400m track event. Doing well in a sprint race requires a significant amount of fitness, superior technique, and smart tactics by the coxswain. Races are won and lost by millimeters.


There are many different events at major races, some for each of the boat categories listed above. Additionally, there are also lightweight categories - high school lightweight men must weigh below 150lbs and lightweight women must weigh below 130lbs.


Event taxonomy:


Event names are either spelled out, or given an acronym. These begin with a prefix: “L” for lightweight, “J” for junior, “F" for freshman. If there is no prefix, it is an open event. Gender comes next - M or B for men’s, and W or G for women’s. Then the number of rowers comes next - 1, 2, 4 or 8, indicating the seats in the boat. Next comes the discipline - sculling events are indicated with an “x”, while sweep events do not have this indicator. Finally, events that have a coxswain are indicated with a “+.”

Examples: LM8+ means "lightweight men's 8-person rowing race (with coxswain)"

JW4- means "junior women's 4-person rowing race (without coxswain)"

Regatta information & Results will be posted at one of these sites:

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