Cape Fear rowing celebrates Learn to Row Day

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The Cape Fear River Rowing Club will observe the 13th annual National Learn to Row Day during an open house 8:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 7 at the Wilmington Marine Center.

Sponsored by USRowing and Concept2, this free tour will teach proper rowing technique on a rowing machine called an ergometer, culminating in a row on the Cape Fear River with experienced club members. Attendees must be at least 14 years old to use the machine and participate in on-the-water rowing. All visitors will be required to wear fitted athletic clothing, socks and sun protection.

Eric Ford, coach and board member of the CFRRC, said the experience is intended to be a rowing introduction.

“It is for people to experience what rowing is about,” Ford said, “so they can make an educated and informed decision. … Do they want to take it to the next level?”

Ford said trainees will use a land-based rowing simulator, also called an ergometer, provided by Concept2. The machine is used to simulate the body mechanics of rowing to ready newcomers for the water.

The 2013 Learn to Row Day attracted 75 beginning rowers.

“We were able to get every single person through the rotation,” Ford said. “Learning to row is like learning to ride a bike. They have to think of themselves as being 5 years old.”

The technique of rowing becomes muscle memory. Ford laughingly added, “How did you know you were using the proper technique? Well, you weren’t lying on the ground bleeding.”

Ultimately, the goal is to learn about rowing and have fun and for the rowing club members to share their passion with everyone else, Ford said.

Aside from National Learn to Row Day, the Cape Fear River Rowing Club dock offers rowing classes. Sweep rowing classes cover basic form and techniques. A set of four classes, each three hours long and taking place on consecutive weekends, costs $120. However, classes for June and July have been filled.

Ford welcomed all to attend the National Learn to Row Day event on June 7, to stay as long as they want and experience what they want to experience.

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