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Rowing Programs

Learn more about the different programs and categories of rowing in Nova Scotia. Click the heading to learn more about each group.

Rowing Programs

Learn to Row (LTR) programs teach new rowers the basics of rowing. Traditionally LTR programs start sweep in eights or coxed fours because these boats are extremely stable (in comparison to a single scull) and the advantage of having an on board coxswain in addition to a coach makes the learning experience safe, productive, and fun. Many learn-to-row participants then gravitate to smaller sweep boats and sculling as their interests and abilities increase.

Learning the basics of the rowing stroke take only a few lessons (and a lifetime to master!). Whether you are interested in recreational or competitive rowing one of Nova Scotia’s four affiliated clubs has a program for you.

Find a program at a local club – click here

In Nova Scotia we offer Novice rowing to our participants at regattas. Novice rowing is for rowers who are new the sport but want to compete in regattas. We offer Novice racing to act as introduction to competition for rowers in their first season of competition. Rowers are only eligible in Novice events if they have not competed in a regatta prior to January 1 of the current year, after this point rowers must compete in their age category events. At some regattas, Novice events are modified to make them better suited for Novice competitors. Our goal is to give all rowers, no matter their skill level, an opportunity to enjoy our regattas.
Young athletes can enter rowing’s club-based systems at as young as 13 years old. Row Nova Scotia works with local clubs to promote school rowing demonstrations with Physical Education classes. This program offers a learn-to-erg (indoor rowing) opportunity to students who want to try rowing.

Clubs also offer ‘Come and Try’ days in late May to take advantage of the spring weather and to students to register for a summer program. Watch for information on the next ‘Come and Try’ near you.

After this entry level, athletes have an opportunity to move through the LTAD rowing pathway, either along the high performance track or into the active-for-life side of the sport. Junior categories of rowing include:

Under 17 (Junior B) – A rower or coxswain shall be classified as an Under 17 competitor until the 31st of December of the year in which he or she reaches the age of 16.

Under 19 (Junior) – A rower or coxswain who is no longer an Under 17 competitor shall be classified as a Junior competitor until the 31st of December of the year in which he or she reaches the age of 18.

Under 23 – A rower or coxswain who is no longer a Junior shall be classified as Under 23 until the 31st of December of the year in which he or she reaches the age of 22. After that date, the rower shall be classified as Senior.

Find a junior rowing program at a local club – click here

Nova Scotia has a history of university rowing and its recent success has been in large part due to strong student leadership and coaching. Row Nova Scotia supports university clubs’ efforts to achieve stability and success through coaching initiatives and collaboration. Currently, rowing programs exist at Dalhousie University and St. Francis Xavier University.

Visit the Dalhousie University Rowing Club website
Visit the St. FX Univeristy Rowing Club website

Row Nova Scotia plans to support the establishment of new university club teams at other post secondary teams across Nova Scotia, and promote higher standards of participation and organization surrounding these teams. Our goal is to inspire and promote long-term participation of our university athletes at the club, university and Provincial Team levels through Learning to Compete and Training to Compete programs.

For more information on University rowing in Canada follow the links below:

Canadian University Rowing

Canadian University Rowing Association (CURA)

Canadian University Rowing Championships (CURCs)

The Row Nova Scotia Provincial Team is dedicated to creating and promoting high performance racing to the members of Row Nova Scotia. The provincial team provides coaches and athletes with the tools and opportunities to be the best in Canada and the world.

Row Nova Scotia has three groups under the umbrella of the Provincial Team – Development Group, Training Group, and Performance Group. These three groups form a pathway for Nova Scotia rowers from entry to the sport, into the long term athlete development (LTAD) rowing pathway, and competing at National and International regattas.

Learn more about joining one of the provincial team groups:

Development Group
Training Group
Performance Group

To learn more about joining the Row Nova Scotia Provincial Team contact: Patrick Cody – Provincial Team Coach

Rowing is a sport that you can compete for life. It is never too late to try rowing or compete in a regatta. Competitors in the Masters category are age 21 and older. Masters Rowers participate in a wide range of race types throughout the year in indoor and outdoor competitions.

Masters Age Categories
AA 21 – 26 years
A 27 – 35 years
B 36 – 42 years
C 43 – 49 years
D 50 – 54 years
E 55 – 59 years
F 60 – 64 years
G 65 – 69 years
H 70 – 74 years
I 75 – 79 years
J 80 years or more

At some regattas, rowers of different age categories can form crews and average their age. At other regattas, younger crews compete against older crews with a time handicap. Many Masters regattas also include mixed crew events.

For more information on how to participate in rowing at any age, contact a local club – click here.

Para-rowing is rowing for people with physical limitations, including hearing impairment, paraplegia, quadriplegia, blindness, visual impairment, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and spina bifida. Para-rowing has been offered at many clubs around the world for over twenty years.

Para-rowers learn elements of the stroke: drive, recovery, catch angle, oar handling, etc. Crews accommodate many different types of disabilities, allowing for integration into regular programs within a club. Coaching techniques, program structure, and equipment adapt upon the needs of individual participants.

Para Rowing Sport Classes
Athletes competing in para-rowing do so in one of three sport classes:

Legs, Trunk, and Arms (LTA)
In the LTA boat class athletes sit on a sliding seat and use legs, trunk, and arms to propel the boat. The LTA boat class is further broken down into the following subclasses:
1. Physical Disability (LTA-PD)
2. Visual Impairment (LTA-VI)
3. Intellectual Disability (LTA-ID)

Trunk, and Arms (TA)
In the TA boat class athletes sit on a fixed seat with strapping across the lap, and use trunk and arms to propel the boat.

Arms, and Shoulders (AS)

In the AS boat class, athletes sit on a fixed seat with fixed back support (shown below) with strapping across the chest and lap, and use arms and shoulders to propel the boat.

Row Nova Scotia holds ‘Come and Try’ events to show interested individuals equipment and let them try the stroke on a rowing machine or on the water. Through these sessions, we can determine personal needs for equipment and program adaptations. If you require special equipment including seating cushions, braces or prosthetic devices, please bring all these things so that we can get a sense of your abilities and any needs for equipment adaptation.

Nova Scotia has offered para-rowing for over a decade. Two clubs in Nova Scotia, Halifax Rowing Club and North Star Rowing Club offer para-rowing programs. Contact the clubs to learn about their each para-rowing equipment, programs and coaching.

Para-Rowing Club Contacts
North Star Rowing Club – Peter Webster
Halifax Rowing Club – Katherine Harman

The Skills Event is intended for Learn to Train rowers, but is fun for all abilities and ages to test their skills both in practice and in the skills event.

As RCA continues to align programs with the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model, rowing clubs are directing their attention to sculling programs that teach basic rowing techniques and boat handling skills that are fundamental to safe, enjoyable and injury-free rowing. Learning good movement patterns and boat sense is critical to success successful and enjoyment in all stages of the athlete development model, especially in the beginning.

For more information : RCA Can Row Skills Event Book

The Skills Event is designed to encourage athletes to master the basic the basic boat handling skills that:
1) are fundamental to safe, enjoyable, injury-free rowing;
2) are required in order to race safely and with confidence in sanctioned regattas; and
3) encourage rowers to practice good techniques while training. Crews that row well technically will be able to to perform the skills more effectively.

Skills Event Videos
RCA Skills Event Overview
Back and Lock
Race Start
Emergency Stop
Square Blades
Spin Turn
S Turn