Glossary

Trying to learn the language of rowing? This will give you a good start!

  • Blade: Spoon face of oar—captures water resistance and is what goes through the water to propel the boat.
  • Bow: Forward area of boat—common name of first rower.
  • Bow Coxed: A boat designed for the coxswain to be seated in the bow with back to the crew.
  • Catch: Moment of blade entry into water—immediate application of power.
  • Coxswain: Frequently small in stature, the coxswain (pronounced cox’-n), or cox, is the steersman and authority of a boat in motion. Often referred to as “the brains in the boat,” this individual is responsible for executing the race plan as coach substitute.
  • Crab: If the blade misses or enters the water incorrectly, the rower “catches a crab.” There are various degrees of crabs, which causes the boat to slow down or stop completely as the rower regains control of the oar. The most extreme version of a crab can even propel a rower out of the boat.
  • Crew: Common American name for the sport of competitive rowing.
  • Double: Seats two rowers each with two oars in a sculling event.
  • Drive: Power motion of rowing during which blade is submerged in the water.
  • 8-Man Shelll: Seats eight rowers plus a coxswain’ often considered the premiere event.
  • Ergometer: Also referred to as an erg, this is a rowing machine that measures the rower’s strength, builds endurance and reinforces basic rowing technique.
  • Finish or Release: Moment of rowing stroke when the blade exits the water.
  • Foot Stretcher: Adjustable platform containing shoes against which the leg drive is applied.
  • 4-Man Shell: Seats four rowers with (4+) or without (4-) a coxswain.
  • Lightweight: A rower that weighs less than 150 lbs. if a junior male or less than 130 lbs. for a junior female.
  • Oar: Lever against which work is applied (NOT a paddle).
  • Oarlock: Usually plastic clamp at outer point of rigger in which oar pivots.
  • Pair: Seats two rowers each with one oar (2-).
  • Port: Coxswain’s left (rower’s right)—in a stern coxed boat.
  • Recovery: Preferable controlled outreach for another stroke.
  • Racing Shell: Specifically designed boat for competitive rowing.
  • Rigger: Often aluminum structure attached to the shell on which the oarlock is mounted.
  • Scull: Smaller scale oar designed for one-handed management. Also refers to the small light racing boat for one, two, or four rowers, each using a pair of sculls (oars).
  • Seat Racing: An iterative process in which two boats race against each other numerous times with varying rower configurations with the goal of determining which combination of rowers moves a boat the fastest.
  • Sculling: Rowing with two oars—one in each hand.
  • Single: Seats one rower with one oar in each hand (1X).
  • Skeg: Large flat fin to help stabilize the boat. A small rudder which is controlled by the coxswain is used to steer the boat and is attached to the skeg.
  • Slides: Tracks guiding the motion of the seat.
  • Sliding Seat: Rolling platform on which the rower sits, allowing for use of leg motion.
  • Starboard: Coxswain’s right (rower’s left)—in a stern coxed boat.
  • Stern: Rear area of boat—common name for coxswain and stern pair.
  • Stern Coxed: A boat designed for the coxswain to be seated in the stern, facing the crew.
  • Stroke: Final rower in seating sequence (8 seat in 8+, 4 seat in a 4+) —sets cadence of motion.
  • Stroke Rate: Cadence of rowing—number count of cycles per minute.
  • Sweep: Full scale oar designed for both hands on one oar.  Also refers to the type of rowing where each rower uses just one oar, as opposed to sculling where they use two oars.
  • Uni: Short for uniform, the uni is a one piece suit rowers wear for racing.

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