Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where is Lake Merritt Rowing Club Located?
A: LMRC is located at 1520 Lakeside Drive, near the Lake Chalet Restaurant. Classes should meet on/near the cement walkway leading to the main LMRC Boathouse entrance (on the south side of the facility).
Q: Is this class for beginners?
A: Yes. Beginning classes are for those who have never touched an oar in their lives but can’t wait to start!
Q: Am I: fit enough / tall enough / too old / too heavy / too… to take this class?
A: Whatever your reason for wanting to row, be it to get in shape, compete in the Olympics, or just be on the water, beginning classes are where you start. If you have a desire to learn, we have the desire to teach you. There’s a lot to cover, and everyone will face different challenges, but the focus is on having fun and learning the basics to take you to where you want to go. Beginning Sculling uses small boats (one- to two-person) that can accommodate individuals up to 220 lbs. Beginning Sweep Rowing and Summer Youth Rowing use our larger boats (four- to eight-person) that can accommodate individuals up to 260 lbs.
Q: What kind of workout will I get?
A: Rowing is a full-body workout. The amount of effort you expend is directly proportional to the workout you will get. The first few classes focus on learning proper technique -- then it's up to you how much of a workout you get.
Q: I already kayak / canoe / whitewater raft, etc. Can I skip this class and go right into one of the rowing programs?
A: While your on-water experiences will undoubtedly help with your balance and boat sense, rowing is completely unlike any other paddle sport. The technique and equipment is unique. The Beginning Sculling or Sweeping class is a prerequisite for anyone who has never participated in this sport.
Q: What do I need to wear/bring to class?
A: You shouldn't have to purchase anything special to participate in Learn to Row. The first class is land-based, learning the basics on the rowing ergometer with some on-the-water rowing. After that, once you move onto the water, dress weather-appropriately as if you were going for a jog or brisk walk. Layers are best. You want to wear clothes loose enough to move in, but not so baggy that fabric will get caught in the moving parts of the boat, specifically the sliding seat. In cold weather, remember that cotton will not keep you warm if it gets wet. Man-made layers of cool-max, polypropylene, or fleece work best. Also, old athletic shoes and wool socks are recommended to keep your feet warm, as they almost always get splashed. In warm weather, hats and sunscreen are advised.
Q: Can I wear gloves?
A: Gloves are not recommended for rowing, as one of the things we focus on is developing good bladework (the technique of positioning the blade to enter the water at the correct angle). Having direct contact with the oar handle is essential to ‘feel’ when the blade is in the correct place.
Q: What are my chances of ending up in the water?
A: It is our goal to always be on the water and not in the water. That said, rowing is a water sport, and there has been the occasional instance of a rower ending up in the water. In the largest boats, or "eights," it’s nearly impossible to fall in. Smaller boats are "tippier" and the chance is greater that rowers go in; yet this is a rare occurrence. Our coaches are equipped to handle these situations quickly and safely, and each class watches a safety video before going on the water.
Q: What is next after the class?
A: Scullers: Upon successful completion of the Beginning Sculling class, joining the club, and getting a key, new scullers can take out Aeros on their own during daylight hours. Experienced scullers are available to help out novice scullers until they feel comfortable rowing on their own. For those desiring further instruction, the club offers Sculling Clinics as well as Private Sculling Instruction.
If you would like to scull with others you can also check out the Mixed Sculling group who do coached sessions a few times a week. Also, you are welcome to meet on Sunday mornings with other scullers for a "wake-free" (no motor boats allowed) scull around the lake.
Sweepers: Upon successful completion of the Beginning Sweep class, new rowers can explore Sculling Clinics and joining the club. New rowers are invited to participate in the Novice/Recreational program, which rows on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:30pm. and Saturdays at 10am.