“Can’t believe the extra energy I have after
only 3 weeks of Social Rowing.”

Belinda B


Technique Tips & Videos




The sculling grip should predominantly be CONTROLLED BY THE FINGERS and “NOT” THE PALM of the hand. A skilled sculler rows with very little of the palm ever coming into contact with the handle (grip).


The Thumbs

Q: What do my thumbs do?

A:The thumbs sit on the end of the grip covering the small hole. The role of the thumbs is to APPLY LIGHT OUTWARD PRESSURE to ensure that the collars of the oar stay firmly against the gate of the rigger. Many beginners tend to pull the oars away from the gate at the finish of the stroke. Use your thumbs to rectify this fault. By doing this you’ll also notice improvement in the balance of the boat!



Q: How tight should I hold onto the grip?

A: With as little tension as possible. Ideally your grip pressure should be relatively light. Strangling the grip will only cause tightness through the forearms which will result in the accumulation of lactic acid and eventually you’ll lose all ability to feather and square the blade.



A great tip for beginners is to imagine that your handles (grips) are ice cream cones. If you were to hold on too tightly the ice cream cones would crumble in your hands. If your grip is tight enough to do that – it is too tight!


IT’S ROWING – not boxing

Your Grip – Do not make a fist of it!

The grip especially through the drive phase of the stroke should be like a monkeys grip on a branch as it swings through the trees. You’ll be surprised how strong a grip the fingers can achieve without causing excessive tension through the forearms.

Make a fist as tight as you can and feel how tight your forearms become. This is exactly the type of feeling you want to avoid.



The Finish is the stage of the rowing stroke when the oars exit the water. In many ways it is the most important part of the stroke as a great finish ensures great balance and rhythm. Both are crucial elements of a perfect rowing stroke. A poor finish results in a disastrous recovery. So here are some tips to assist you:



Ideally your body should have an upright posture with the shoulders leaning back slightly behind the hips. The tummy muscles need to be firm and the hands need to follow through to the lower rib cage. Ideally the elbows will go out from the side of the body so that they remain on the same horizontal plane as the hands.



If your boat is experiencing a lean at the start of the recovery chances are that your hand heights were incorrect at the finish.

Ie: If the boat is leaning down on stroke side you have more than likely finished the stroke with your right hand too low. To rectify this fault you need to adjust the finish of the following stroke by subtly changing the height of your right hand so that it is slightly higher than on the previous stroke. (Keep in mind that the left hand should always be slightly higher than the right throughout the entire stroke)

The same process applies to the opposite side of the boat.

In short if the boat leans down on the right side (strokeside) the right hand needs to finish higher. If the boat leans down on the left side (bowside) the left hand needs to finish higher.

Rowing Videos

2018 Australian Championships – Scroll to 2 hours, 22 minutes, 29 seconds.

2015 Australian Championships – Scroll to 6 minutes, 16 seconds

2016 Australian Championships

2016 NSW State Championship (Drone footage)


Back Chocks: when you are sitting with your legs down flat. Back chocks rowing involves moving only the upper body and arms – no legs.

Backing it down: rowing backwards. Put the blade into the water and push instead of pull.

Balance: keeping the boat level.

Blade: the big square bit on the end of the oar. the bit that goes into the water.

Bow: front of boat. The end behind bow-seat and the end that crosses the finish line first!

Bow ball: a hard rubber ball over the bow point of the hull, essential for safety.

Bowside: starboard, it is the left side as you sit in the boat.

Catch: the point of the stroke where the blades enter the water.

Checking it: stopping the boat by putting the oars into the water with square blades.

Collar: the little yellow plastic ridge in the middle of the oar (on the pink plastic – sleeve) that stops the oar from slipping through the gate.

Coxswain (Cox’n): person in the boat responsible for steering, race tactics and technique advice.

Cox Box (Cox Mate): the box which amplifies the cox’ns’ voice throughout the boat to all crew members. It also provides the cox’n with technical data such as rating and boat speed etc…

Crab: (catching a ‘crab’) results when the blade is not properly squared at the catch. As a result it cuts deep into the water forcing the handle to rise and makes it near impossible to remove the blade from the water at the finish. Can also be caused by feathering the blade under the water at the finish.

Decking: the flat white platform throughout the boat where you can put your feet for support when getting into and out of the boat.

Drive: the action which levers the blade through the water from catch to finish. (when the blade is in the water)

Ergo: an exercise rowing machine normally found in the gym. Concept 2 is the most common brand.

Feathering: turning the blade parallel to the surface of the water.

Fin: metal plate attached to the hull at right angles which helps stabilise the boat.

Finish: When your hands reach your body and you tap the handle down to take the blade out of the water.

Footstretcher: the part of the boat that your feet are connected to whilst rowing.

Front Chocks: (hitting) at the catch position when the wheels hit the front of the slide and the seat cannot move any further forwards. (the end of the slide closest to the feet)

Gate: black plastic device located at the end of the rigger which the oar rotates in.

Going Deep: when you bury the blade to far below the surface of the water. eg: half of the shaft gets wet.

Hull: the curved undersection of the boat.

Rating: number of strokes taken per minute.

Recovery: when your oar is out of the water and you move forward on the slide.

Rigger: metal frame attached to the boat which the oars are connected to.

Rock over: when your body bends forward from the hips whilst the legs are straight at the beginning of the recovery.

Rudder: metal plate attached at the stern and used for steering by the coxswain.

Sculling: when a rower uses two shorter oars to row.

Shaft: the long black part of the oar.

Sleeve: the pink ribbed piece of plastic on the middle of the shaft.

Slide: the 2 aluminium grooves which the seat moves along throughout the stroke.