"From the moment I started rowing, I fell in love with the speed, the feeling of executing the perfect stroke, and the overall energy involved in the sport." Ailsa, age 13.
Propelling yourself on the water in a rowing shell can be a thrilling experience, especially when you’re a kid! My friends here in Vermont own a Little Sculling Boat from Adirondack Rowing that their 7, 10 and 13 year old children can row. We’ve enjoyed seeing how easy it is for young kids to pick up the sport of rowing! Maeve, age 7, says, "I don't want to put down running, but rowing's better. It is fun and a nice way to be out on the water."
Maeve, Gus and Ailsa first learned to row at home on their Dad’s old Model C. Their Dad rowed in college and as a Master’s athlete. He still trains and competes in between CrossFit and Spartan racing. The siblings enjoy taking over the Model C in their family’s basement and even completed the Kid’s Holiday Challenge! All the kids were eager to try rowing outdoors. Gus, age 11, explains what it is like to row outdoors: "I love to be on the water, watching the wildlife along the river, spending time with my dad, and getting in exercise at the same time."
The family chose a set of Bantam sculls to go with their Little Sculling Boat. The Bantam sculling oars are great for these smaller athletes: Bantams are easy to row because of their unique shape. They are stable during the drive, making it easy for beginners to find their blade depth and pull smoothly through the water. The compact blade is injection-molded polypropylene, giving it extra durability for pushing off the dock (which we don't recommend as a habit!) or when navigating through river debris.
This allows the kids to focus on practicing the proper stroke and gives parents the peace of mind that the equipment can handle the learning curves of launching, rowing, navigation and docking. Ailsa raced in her first regatta last fall. Even though the conditions were rough, the Bantams gave her extra confidence. The Bantam is a great choice that can grow with the athlete.
All of these characteristics of the Bantam make it a great choice for recreational and masters athletes, too. A growing number of Masters are selecting the Bantams because they are an affordable option for training and racing. They are easy to order with standard specs.
In the US, traditionally, most athletes start rowing in high school or college in team sweep boats where each athlete has one oar. Now, with more and more athletes starting to row at middle school age (or younger), the symmetry of sculling makes it the healthier choice for young athletes with developing bodies. Sculling is really the best way to learn boat handling and technique.
Kindersculls is one program that offers a traveling rowing camp for younger athletes. They travel to your club with their programming! A traditional kids’ summer camp here in Northern Vermont, Hosmer Point, also offers a kids’ sculling elective. You can also check with your local team or club for opportunities for younger children to try sculling. Coxed quads are becoming an efficient way for boathouses to coach younger athletes. If you can find a smaller boat, we recommend tethering the stern to a rope held by a coach or parents. Children as young as kindergarten age can take a few strokes and then be safely pulled back to the dock. It is a great introduction to rowing!
Be safe and have fun!