Rowing Terminology

Rowing Terminology


Blade: Another name for an oar.

Gate: Metal bit at the top of the swivel which holds the blade in place.

Gunwale (pronounced gunnel): The top outside edge of the boat

Handle: Wooden bit of the blade which you hold on to.

Loom: Long stem of the blade.

Shell: The body of the boat.

Slide: Each rower sits on a seat which moves on small wheels. These wheels run up and down the slide-runners. The slide is adjustable and there is one pair of runners for each rower.

Spoon: Painted part of the blade which goes in the water.

Parts of the Stroke:

Backstops: Where you take the finish, legs flat, sitting back.

Catch: The part of the stroke where the blade is put into the water.

Draw: The part of the stroke where the spoon is pulled through the water

Drive: The phase of the stroke during the draw when the legs are driving downward.

Feathered: Blade parallel to the water.

Finish: The part of the stroke where the blade is taken out of the water.

Frontstops: Where you take the catch on a full slide stroke.

Hands Away: After tapping down, moving the handle away from the body before you start the next stroke.

Recovery: The part of the stroke where the rower moves up the slide for the next catch. Remember to breathe.

Squared: Blade perpendicular to the water.

Tap Down: When the rower pushes the handle down to lever the blade out of the water.

Frequent Calls/ Instructions:

Arms & Body Rowing: Rowing with the arms and body swing only. Not using the legs or the slide.

Arms Only Rowing: Rowing with arms only. Not using the body swing, legs or the slide.

Backing: Doing a reverse stroke to make the boat travel backwards (sometimes easier for novice rowers if the blades are flipped 180°). Often performed when starting a piece, getting level with the start line or turning a boat.

Bow Side: The right-hand side of the boat from the cox's seat, and to the left side of the boat when rowing.

Catch a Crab: When a blade gets stuck in the water and the handle knocks the rower flat.

Check the Boat:  Blades squared in the water to slow the boat.

Check the Boat Hard!!!: Shouted at top volume to avoid a crash: emergency stop.

Cowain (Cox): In coxed boats (eights, fours and quads) the oar-less crew member who steers the boat and makes calls to the

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