I started open water rowing about six years ago, not long after the Whitehall Rowing Club first opened in Marina Del Rey, California. I got hooked my first time out. Though it took a little practice, I was soon out rowing by myself a couple of days a week.
I didn’t see it as exercise. It was just fun. Without any real intention, I became a regular at the club and really started getting back into shape for the first time in years. It was two miles from the Whitehall dock to the open ocean of Santa Monica Bay, and I loved being out on the open water. My weekly long row grew longer and longer.
When a new job brought me to Tampa, Florida a couple of years ago, I was excited about the job but upset because I didn’t know how I was going to continue rowing. The Oar Board totally solved my dilemma! I purchased the rower and a 12’ Bote stand up paddle board (SUP). I put my SUP on the roof of my car and the rowing rig in the back, and I can now put in off any beach or onto any lake. There are so many places to choose from for rowing here in Tampa Bay!
For the last two years, I have used my Oar Board to train for an upcoming rowing event. I have been rowing up to 20 miles at a time to prepare for the ‘Proving Grounds’ event where I will take part in rowing a Whitehall Tango 17 Rowboat in leg one of the Race to Alaska. Leg one of the R2AK is a nonstop row of 40 miles from Port Townsend, Washington in the United States, to Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. My rowing partner and I have won this event for the past two years… and all of my training is done on an Oar Board!
The transition is easy. Once you have done it a few times, there is very little difference between the sliding seat of a standard sculling rig and the fixed seat, sliding rigger of the Oar Board Rower on an inflatable stand up paddle board.
Inspired by the posts I see on the Oar Board SUP Rowing Community on Facebook, my next goal is to load up my new sixteen foot Oar Board Adventure Row Combination SUP with all of my gear and row out to one of the many small islands off the coast for some overnight camping!