Learn To Row FAQ

Is this class for beginners?

Yes. Learn to Row Membership is for those who have watched rowers and rowing shells in awe and can’t wait to start!

I want to give rowing a try! How do I sign up?

Congratulations on taking a great step towards improved fitness and fun! Click Here for more info

What are my chances of ending up in the water?

It is our goal to always be ‘on’ the water and not ‘in’ the water. That said, rowing is a water sport and there has been the occasional instance of a rower ending up in the water. In the largest boats, or ‘eights’, it’s nearly impossible to fall in. Smaller boats are ‘tippier’ and the chance is greater that rowers go in… yet this is a rare occurrence. Our coaches are equipped to handle these situations quickly and safely. At some point during the session, we will watch a safety video which will give you a bit more insight on this.

How much time is spent on the water?

As much as possible! There are some weather conditions that will keep us off the water. Those are the days that we will watch the safety video, spend time on the erg practicing what we have already learned, and what is coming up.

My hands get really cold. May I wear gloves?

Gloves are not recommended for rowing, as one of the things we focus on is developing good blade work; the technique of positioning the blade to enter the water at the correct angle. Having direct contact with the oar handle is essential to ‘feel’ when the blade is in the correct place. An alternative to gloves, however, are things called ‘pogies’. Pogies slip over your hands and then slide over the end of the oar, protecting your hands while maintaining contact with the handle. You can also wear weightlifting cloves which keep your fingers free and are good for oar manipulation.

What do I need to wear/bring to class?


  • Please wear close fitting stretchy fabric, thin layers and NO COTTON, that includes your socks. Think ski gear (the under garments), made to get wet and still keep you warm. Baggy clothing and clothing with pockets will get caught up in the equipment, oar handles and sliding seat. Pockets with a zipper ONLY.
  • Sneakers or something like Tevas, Crocks with a heel strap, will work for shoes. You will be taking your shoes off in the boat. The consideration is that you don’t risk tripping while walking and carrying a boat.
  • A baseball cap is great for the rain (we have some at the boathouse that you can buy😉.)

What to bring

  • signed paperwork, if you have not already sent it digitally.
  • payment, if you have not paid online
  • water
  • an adventurous spirit and willingness to laugh at yourself
I already kayak / canoe / whitewater raft, etc. Can I skip this class and go right into one of the rowing programs?

While your on-water experiences will undoubtedly help with your balance and boat sense, rowing is completely unlike any other paddle sport. The technique and equipment is unique. Learn to Row is a prerequisite for anyone who has never participated in this sport.

What kind of workout will I get?

You may not get a huge workout during Learn to Row. we will focus on technique and learning “how” to get a workout for the rest of your life rowing. When doing it correctly, rowing is a safe, full body, low-impact workout. In the end, the amount of effort you expend is directly proportional to the workout you will get.

Am I: fit enough / tall enough / too old / too heavy / too… to take this class?

Whatever your reason for wanting to row, be it to get in shape, compete in Regatta’s, or just be on the water, this class is where you start. If you have a desire to learn, we have the desire to teach you. There’s a lot to cover, and everyone will face different challenges, but the focus is on having fun and learning the basics to take you to where you want to go.

Rowing is low impact on the knees, so is great for those who have “used up” their knees skiing, running, or playing football.


After completing Learn to Row clinic, you may choose to join NCC as a member to keep improving your skills and fitness!  We have 6-8 different practice times per week to choose from. We HIGHLY recommend that you are able to attend 2 practices per week for the first 3-6 months of membership. This will help make the rowing stroke natural and soon it will be like riding a bike.

Let us know during Learn to Row if you would like to continue rowing with us. We would love to have you join North Cascades Crew!