Rowing is an incredible, lifelong sport that you can begin at any chapter of your life. We are excited to assist you with the steps to discover if rowing is for you. Before you get your oars wet, let’s discuss what you need to know about our club and rowing.
Rowing involves moving your boat through the water with one or two oars. Rowers sit on a sliding seat, facing backward, and use their whole body as they move through the stroke. Rowing is a graceful, gentle, aerobic exercise, until there is another rower beside you, and then it becomes a race.
WRPC supports two types of rowing: Rowing alone in a boat with two oars is called “single sculling”. Rowing competitively with teammates is called “crew”. WRPC has multiple recreational single sculls that general members may take out to enjoy the sport and the river. We also have a Masters Crew, who train and participate in regional racing events. The Masters Crew program has 8 seat, 4 seat, 2 seat and single racing shells. Our primary focus are the sculling events: 4x, 2x and single. Since these boats are light, and fast, but also fragile and expensive, crew racing shell use is limited to advanced rowers or crew members.
If you are interested in learning to row or join crew, the directions below can guide you. For non-members, there are three “Learn to Row” events accessible to anyone who is interested. Our teaching/coaching staff is small and volunteer. For those interested in individual instruction, or to participate in crew, one must be a WRPC member. For individual recreational sculling instruction lessons may be arranged. In addition, joining Masters Crew is by try-out, and has an additional yearly crew membership fee as well as some costs associated with going to races. We are an all volunteer, non-profit organization, so we keep these costs low.
LEARN TO ROW
For those new to the activity, the Masters Crew Program holds Learn-to-Row events, during which anyone can come down and learn about rowing. Depending on weather and river conditions, and number and experience of participants, we will teach basics of the skill both on a stationary rowing machine (ergometer), and then hopefully also out on the water with other rowers and our instructors. The best way to prepare yourself to row is to start in a Single Shell Sculling which you can learn more about below!
Single sculling: Single shell rowing, also known as sculling, provides a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Columbia River, while also being an engaging and great form of exercise. It is the right place to hone your skills to a level to join the Crew Team.
Single shell rowing can be a competitive sport, and while it's true that there are regattas and races, it's also a form of recreation that can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. As you will discover there is something deeply special about gliding over the river's smooth surface, with only your oars dipping into the water and the occasional calls of riverside wildlife to keep you company.
However, single shell rowing also comes with a high learning curve in the beginning. While this may sound daunting, after just a couple of sessions with a trained instructor or coach, you'll find yourself becoming more comfortable and efficient in your movements. it means that you are constantly growing and improving as you master the sport. The technique of propelling the narrow, long boat with your oars requires a particular set of skills involving balance, strength, endurance, and a solid understanding of the mechanics of rowing. But don't be discouraged! After a few sessions you will feel a sense of achievement when you finally master the initial techniques, turning the seemingly complicated into something second nature.
The majestic Columbia River itself adds richness to this sport. With its changing currents and winds, it teaches you to adapt and be resilient. Each rowing session is unique, offering new lessons, challenges, and breathtaking views of the scenic nature and wildlife.
If you are a member and want to learn how to row a single scull, several of our instructors can be contacted to arrange individual or small group sessions to teach the basics of sculling: how to get a boat onto the river, the basics of oar handling and body movement, how to dock and exit the river safely, how to carry and care for the boats, river safety, etc. One can arrange additional sessions dependent on the availability of the instructors. These sessions won’t start until later in the spring as the air and water temperatures improve. Click the button below to sign up.
For those with rowing experience who are interested in trying out for Masters Crew. There will be opportunities at the Learn-to Row events, as well as by talking with one of the Crew Coaching Staff.
Currently our masters program is small. We do not yet have enough coaching staff available to offer a novice crew program or a high school/ college age developmental programs, although we hope to be able to offer those options in the future, as we continue to develop. We will keep you posted.
If you are a new rower and wish to work on learning the basics and then developing your skills, we recommend starting with the learn-to-row sessions, taking some individual sessions, and then working on your sculling skills to start your development. We will try to have a message board either in the boathouses or on the website for those who are looking for a rowing buddy. We always strongly encourage boating with others for safety.