Learn To Row

Rowing a single scull is an exceptional, full-body exercise that most anyone can learn, though it can seem a bit awkward at first. Our coaches have successfully taught hundreds to row with skill and confidence, and they know how to lead you past the initial awkwardness to the exhilaration of a proper rowing stroke.

The Novice Class:

Our two-day novice class will train you in the basics of sculling and certify you to use our Maas Aero shells. The two, two-hour classes, with a maximum of three students per class, can be taken on consecutive days or separated to fit your schedule.  Lessons can be scheduled any day that a coach and boats are available; call us to arrange your first lesson.

  • Cost: $163 per person for the full course. Includes a $30 credit for your first  club boat use or membership after completion of the course.
  • Class length: Two 2-hour sessions on separate days; best if you can schedule these no more than a week apart.
  • Time:  Weekends, Novice 1 session is in the late morning; Novice 2 is in the early morning.  For specific times or to check for availability of weekday classes, contact Open Water Rowing – 415-332-1091 or owrc@owrc.com
  • What to bring: We provide all rowing equipment. Wear relatively close fitting and flexible clothing appropriate for the weather and warm socks (no shoes in the shells). Sun protection is advised.


Learn To Row - Day 1

Practice at the dock on day 1

Outline of the Class

Novice 1 session:

The first day you won’t venture far off the dock. The class covers the basics of sculling in a controlled environment.

  • The mechanics of the rowing stroke
  • The boat and oars
  • Moving the boat into the water (and back at the end)
  • Getting into and out of a rowing shell.
  • Control of the oars
  • Practicing the stroke at or near the dock

Novice 2 session:

Learn To Row - Day 2

Practice on the bay during day 2

On day 2 you will make your first row out into Richardson Bay, accompanied by your coach, and practice rowing in more “real-world” conditions.

  • Review of what you learned in the previous class
  • Rowing with your coach near the dock and then out into Richardson Bay
  • Local landmarks and safe areas to row.
  • Navigating the boat channel and finding your way back to OWRC
  • How to handle a capsize and other potential issues



After successful completion of the course you are officially a sculler! As a novice rower you may use the club’s Maas Aeros (the same boat you trained in) and the Pienert Zephyr and may explore the expansive waters of Richardson Bay (the large arm of SF Bay that fronts Sausalito) at your pleasure.

Novices may not go beyond specific landmarks that your coach will discuss with you, and our staff may impose other restrictions on Novices when conditions warrant, but this is rare and reflects the importance we place on your safety. There is plenty of room in the protected waters of Richardson Bay for you to train and develop your rowing. Many experienced rowers rarely leave it.


What’s Next?

Rough Water Clinic

Tackling Rough Water

The most important task for the newly minted rower is to get experience in the boat. “Time on the water” is what the coach will prescribe, and he or she can help you choose rowing routes and a training regimen that will develop your skills. While you gain experience you’ll be burning calories, building fitness, enjoying fresh air and sunshine and getting to know the natural world of the bay.

The next goal for most novices is the Rough-Water Clinic, which will equip you to handle tidal rips, winds, and chop, and certify you to row beyond the bounds of Richardson Bay into the more open waters of the central bay. You may also choose to get certified in either the Maas 24 or the Maas Flyweight shells.

Even if you prefer to stay with the Aero and stay within Richardson Bay (as many club members do), the Rough Water Clinic is a smart and recommended step when you are ready. Expect to row for months or even a year before taking that step, however. As always, speak to our staff about your specific skill level and conditioning.


Coaching and Clinic news

(415) 332-1091 - owrc@owrc.com