Up The River with Too Many Paddles

Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance on our way back to Sumbawa

Good Morning Amazing Peeps,

Well it is morning here and it is a great one. What a couple of days we have had!

The other morning, the coach from the local rowing team dingyed over to us to talk with the kids. They had been yelling encouragement to the rowers for nearly a week, so he thought he would find out who these hugely loud and encouraging kids were.

Mr. Ken Rudder was taken with the kids and invited a couple of them and myself to come out on a training run with the rowers. We readily accepted. The next morning at 6:30 am, Mr. Rudder putted over to see if we were ready. I was sculling down my coffee as fast as I could while the oldest two were already hopping in his dinghy.

Mr. Rudder gave Tash a rowing timer. She was to click it every time the rowers oars entered the water. It would tell her the rows per minute.

Mr. Rudder giving Tash a timer

Mr. Rudder first took us to the rowing shed where he showed us all the row boats. They were so thin and light and very pretty. 20170928_07010420170928_070240He then took us upstairs to see the workout room where some of the men were hard at work. We the  went back to the training room where there is a simple rowing machine and an oar machine (I’ll explain that one in a minute).

Blade was the first to have a go at the rowing machine. Mr. Rudder said that he is a natural. His movements were fluid and in the right order. Blade then went to the oar machine.

Mr. Rudder built this machine to teach new rowers the best time to put the oar in the water. Apparently this is the hardest part of rowing – getting the timing right.

Blade hopped on and got it perfect every time. Blade was told that if he ever wanted to take up rowing, he would do really well.

Natasha hopped on the rowing machine and in her excessively competitive nature, tried to match her brother.20170928_070555

Mr. Mike from Yaraandoo II said that the girls were natural sailors. That however does not translate to rowing and she did not like this too much. She decided to protect her pride and not have a go at the oar machine.

Mr. Rudder demonstrating the oar machine

We then went back to the dinghy.

Rowers getting ready

The women’s rowing couple were waiting in their boat while the men’s couple had already taken off up the river.

We headed off in the dinghy with Mr. Rudder coaching.

It was an AWESOME experience!

As we got up to Victory bridge on the Lane Cove River, the actual training started. Every time an exercise was given, we would ask why they are doing this or that. Mr. Rudder was happy to teach us as well.

What was fascinating was I thought rowing training would be just rowing but it was so much more.

Male rowers

There was feathering techniques with the paddles, wrist techniques, stability techniques as both the front person and the back person had to have their paddles at the same height or the boat would rock too much. There was using only arms, no bending or legs, then bent over rowing – still no legs used, then half bent leg rowing then full rowing. We couldn’t believe how many things these rowers had to remember when doing their sport.

Then Mr. Rudder gave us a pop math quiz (he used to be a maths teacher as well as a rowing instructor). It was how to work out pace.

He said if the rowers were rowing 500m in 2 minutes, how many metres per second were they rowing.

My brain went into a quick spasm saying ‘OH CRAP! THINK BEC THINK!’ Thankfully my brain played along.

I worked it out like this – 500m in 2 minutes = 250m in 60 seconds = 250 ÷ 60. I took away the zeros to make it easier. So I was left with 25 ÷ 6. I know that 6 goes into 25 4 times with 1 left over but HOW DO I PUT THE 1 INTO A DECIMAL – AHHHH! So I guessed.

Sheepishly I said “4.2m per sec.” I waited for the laugh, the tut tut tut or the look of disappointment that I used to get from my high-school maths teacher. Well it turns out that I was close enough YAY! It was 4.16m per sec. Mr. Rudder was happy with my answer. I CAN do math under pressure – who knew!

The women and men who were rowing didn’t mind having some ride-alongs with their coach, I joked that it kept him yelling his usual abuse at them. Some nodded and some just laughed.

Female rowers

The women were in their 60’s and the men, their 50’s. Their strength and coordination was incredible. I am totally in awe.

It was an amazing morning and a beautiful spot. You would never believe that you were in the middle of the city when you are up that river. Buildings disappear, noise ceases and your on the stillness of the river. It was wonderful.

Up Lane Cove River

After we returned, Mr. Rudder wanted to take everyone over to the boat shed but Steve had to go out. We said that we would do it another day.

What an experience for us to have – watching a rowing coach and his students in their learning. We took away so much from it and a huge appreciation for what rowers have to do just to row in a team. We will never look at competitive rowing the same.

Thanks Amazing Peeps.

Talk more soon


Zanny Harbars

Beccie is a Best Selling Author, a World Travelling Sailor, an Awesome Wife and the Best Mum to the 10 most Amazing Children on the Planet, a Millionaire, a Polyglot and an Oracle