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  • Rowing clubs?
  • Premier Icon james-rennie
    Full Member

    Does anyone know about rowing or sculling or canoeing? I don’t even know what terms I should use, clueless.
    My 13 year old son has expressed an interest in ‘rowing or sculling or canoeing’ and I’m keen to encourage him if it gets him away from screens. He’s been at swimming club weekly since he was 7 so he’s confident in water, but has lost interest.
    (we’re in Twickenham near the Thames so I’m hoping we’ll find something local)
    I just have no idea what we should look for or avoid.
    I’ll go and do some googling right now, but if anyone has any pointers that’d be great.

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Free Member

    So there’s quite a few options covered though a general “rowing, sculling or canoeing”

    I’m sure someone well be along to contradict / correct me but here’s how I split the things out:

    Rowing – Single oar – More than one person. 4’s or 8’s being the most common.
    Sculling – Each person has 2 oars. Can be solo, twin or quad (4)

    Then these are a bit different and likely at a different club to the above.
    Canoeing – Single paddle in a Canadian style canoe but also includes more uncommon racing canoes. Can be solo or with a couple of people in a boat.
    Kayaking – Dual ended paddle – spans everything from racing to whitewater to sea kayaking. Often more of a solo (one person / boat)

    As you’re near the Thames I’m going to say that either or those clubs exist and so it’s really a case of working out what he really wants to do. Both are fantastic but the experiences and motivations are quite different. A well balanced 8 cruising along on a warm summer’s morning is a fantastic feeling and so is running a class III rapid in a white water.

    Rowing can get very competitive fast but is a fantastic workout. It does often involve cold, wet and early morning starts in winter. It’s been a while since I lived in London but I seem to remember lots of rowing clubs up Putney way; likely because the river is a bit wider.

    I seem to remember Richmond Canoe club being a thing?

    Premier Icon masterdabber
    Free Member

    I was a member of the Royal Canoe Club on Trowlock Island near Teddington for most of my racing years.

    I think it still has a good reputation and I know the facilities have improved substantially since my time.

    Edited to say:  I also trained from Richmond Canoe Club during my racing time.It was a bit of a mash together of the two clubs training together both on the river and also in the gym and also running. Training together but a lot of rivalry once racing began. A nice time. We partied together as well.

    I believe the old clubhouse and boat shed that Richmond has is no longer there but I think it has moved somewhere, not sure where exactly.

    Edited again to say…Both Royal and Richmnd Canoe Clubs were both canoes and kayak oriented. In fact they were mainly kayak in my time.

    Premier Icon james-rennie
    Full Member

    Thanks @sweaman2 . I think that means rowing or sculling is what he’s after. I’ve found a twickenham rowing club very local, will give them a call.

    Premier Icon neiloxford
    Free Member

    I would look for a club that competes at Henley in the Fawley over the last few years. Henley is the top UK regatta – a win here is a big thing in rowing.

    https://www.hrr.co.uk/henley-results/search/0/12768/0

    I would go for Tideway Scullers School by the looks of it near you. ( It is a club not a school ! )

    https://www.tidewayscullersschool.co.uk/

    The junior squad – https://www.tidewayscullersschool.co.uk/junior-mens-squad

    The Junior beginners squad – https://www.tidewayscullersschool.co.uk/junior-beginners-squad

    My dad coached the Henley crew to the Final. Henley is a bit far from Twickenham, although it a lovely stretch of the river !

    Premier Icon mefty
    Free Member

    Go local, rowers train alot so somewhere easy to get to is going to save a lot of travelling time.

    Premier Icon madeupname
    Free Member

    I am long out of date but rowed out of the Tideway Scullers whilst at uni (late 90s)…

    Friendly bunch back then, with some top level members.

    Lots of other clubs nearby, I also rowed out of Thames RC down at Putney Hard in the early 90s.

    Rowing is addictive, but can mean early/cold mornings. Learning on the tidal Thames certainly encourages you not to fall in… you can count the condoms whilst avoiding the big boats.

    Tideway Scullers is based North side of Chiswick Bridge, the Ship pub opposite was where I spent most of my student loans, may still be worth a visit whilst Junior is training 😉

    Premier Icon richmars
    Full Member

    Pretty sure he’ll have to start with sculling, as rowing is a bit one sided. The rules have changed since I started (when I was about 14).

    Premier Icon deadlydarcy
    Free Member

    Rowing – Single oar – More than one person. 4’s or 8’s being the most common.

    There is also the little known single oar sweep rowing discipline. Little known, as it is not an Olympic event, it is raced on circular courses in various locations.

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Free Member

    “Pretty sure he’ll have to start with sculling” – Really? Admittedly it’s 20 years since I rowed but then the logic was that dealing with 2 oars was more tricky than 1 so we all started in a coxed 4 (so someone also took care of the steering).

    Premier Icon prawny
    Full Member

    Loads of great canoe clubs in that area, I don’t know the area very well tbh but there is a huge collection of great sprint and marathon racing clubs.

    I think canoeing is more affordable than rowing, it certainly isn’t cripplingly expense unless you want it to be.

    Clubs in the Londonish area that I can think of off the top of my head. Elmbridge, Wey, Royal, Richmond, Leighton Buzzard there are bound to be others that I’m forgetting, have a look here.

    https://canoelondon.com/sprint-racing/

    Premier Icon prawny
    Full Member

    @masterdabber when did you race? I raced for Gailey CC in the Midlands from 95-2000ish. I was coached by some people from royal and Richmond with the junior GB squad.

    Premier Icon masterdabber
    Free Member

    @masterdabber when did you race? I raced for Gailey CC in the Midlands from 95-2000ish. I was coached by some people from royal and Richmond with the junior GB squad.

    Hi @prawny. I raced from around 1961 through to 1969. I was in the 68 Olympic squad but never made the final team (my K2 partner was taken ill/injured and that screwed up my chance -but no complaints it was fair enough).

    I made the team for the World Championship in Russia the following year but then they never had enough cash to send a full team…so that did piss me off. I was working at the time (no Olympic type funding in those days) and training around 3 to 4 hours a day.  That did me in and I packed it in to concentrate on my career.

    Good times though.

    Names from my day… the Lawlers, Mark Giddings, Doug Parnham, Lawrence Oliver…many more.

    Oh yes,the very young Eric Farrel  and Trevor Hunter.

    Btw,I’ve still got my wooden Struer Hunter K1… a work of art.

    Premier Icon slowol
    Free Member

    I think that kids now only do sculling until 15 or 16 to avoid bent spines from rowing on one side whilst growing.

    For learning go somewhere friendly with a big kids squad. If he gets competitive then either go up river to Marlow or Henley or to one of the big Thames squads. Thames Tradesmen and Tideway Scullers were always reckoned to be the real local rowers squads. Some of the Putney clubs chose their members rather than people deciding to join. Bloody fast crews mind.

    If he turns out a beanpole then London Rowing Club and the Scullers used to have the big lightweight squads.

    Rowing is easier and less weather prone on non-tidal bits of river but the tidal bit of the Thames is the most amazing place to row and race.

    Once I left Uni I more or less stopped (found climbing and bikes instead) as it’s a bit of an only point is to go fast sport (like track bikes on water) and training less and stepping down a level didn’t appeal once I had to go to work and didn’t have the time to train as often.

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Full Member

    (we’re in Twickenham near the Thames so I’m hoping we’ll find something local)

    The Richmond Canoe Club operates just upstream of the Odeon on the Richmond side of the river, run past it many times and they seem to have a good mix of people and boats.

    Premier Icon prawny
    Full Member

    @masterdabber, but before me then! I do know the Lawlers, Ivan is still a bit force politically I think (just getting back into it) and I was surprised to see Roland is still around, he looked like he could drop dead at any minute back in the 90s.

    I grew up racing Ed McKeever and Liam Heath on the same trips (both Olympic Gold Medallists for anyone who hasn’t followed the sport) so I’m fairly comfortable with me not getting anywhere 😂

    I saw a struer cleaver x for sale recently on Facebook, I always lusted after one when I was a kid and they still look beautiful now. Wouldn’t last 5 minutes on the canal though. I’m boatless at the minute, if my eldest takes to it then I’ll start again properly

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    Rowing is easier and less weather prone on non-tidal bits of river but the tidal bit of the Thames is the most amazing place to row and race.

    Racing the tideway is really an experience you don’t forget.ike its unbelievable the. Crowds cheering you on. Especially when your one piece was white with red spots.

    I rowed terribly at uni. The thing with it is its just rowing for competition and you are only really competitive if you are a beanpole or a freak of nature whereas canoeing you can mix it up a little. A few racing disciplines, adventurous stuff, touring etc.

    Premier Icon slowol
    Free Member

    @ joshvegas I’d agree with you about that. Canoeing you can race, play polo, white water, sea, tour etc. Sort of like the water version of bikes.

    Rowing eights are for racing pure and simple. Great sport but canoeing is a great life skill and you can be competitive too if you want.

    Premier Icon bsims
    Free Member

    https://www.gigrower.co.uk/london/

    Proper rowing boats not far from Twickenham if he fancies something a bit different

    Premier Icon wcolt
    Full Member


    @masterdabber
    I was at royal cc too but not since 2012 or so.

    For the OP I recommend getting in touch with Battersea Canoe Club if rowing doesn’t work out and it’s canoeing (kayaking) he would like to try. They don’t do K1 racing (Royal and Richmond cc’s do) as focus on flat water, whitewater, touring, pool sessions and canoe polo and it’s potentially a bit more accessible than the racing clubs.

    There’s also Chelsea kayak club but it’s not set up for beginners.

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Free Member

    I dabbled in flatwater kayak racing for a few years – the marathon / hasler racing is a great place to start involving many of the clubs listed above. Racing is by ability, not age etc so you end up with juniors, seniors and vets all racing together. From the people I know involved in rowing it was simply all about elite level racing. We even had Steve Redgrave racing kayaks for a couple of years as he was training for Devizes-Westminster. I’m kayak-less at the moment but hope to rectify it once I move to Tobermory. Anyone got a Rockpool Taran going cheap?

    Premier Icon eskay
    Full Member

    Our Scout troop used to do lots of canoeing and allowed us to do BCU qualifications.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Full Member

    I started rowing at 13 myself enjoyed it a lot apart from the cold winter mornings. Hated sculling (mostly as I didn’t have the patience to get good at it) and eventually got bored of rowing around 16 as by that stage you needed to be doing a lot of out-of-the-boat gym and cardio work to stay competitive.

    Regattas were usually fun (summer + short courses), Head of the River races not so fun (winter + longer courses), I hated doing the boat race course one (cold, usually choppy water coming into the boat and went on forever :p ).

    Premier Icon Kahurangi
    Full Member

    I think you’ve already been given the key parts for a sculling/rowing start:

    At 13 y/o he can expect to be sculling for a few years – sweep rowing makes you very one-sided physically.

    There are some top quality local clubs, shouldn’t be too hard to find them: Twickenham, TSS, I’d expect more at your end of the Thames.

    Don’t immediately go for the biggest or most prestigious club, compare the training staff and structures.

    Rowing on the tideway Thames is certainly an experience but fresh, clean, flat water is nicer :-).

    *disclaimer, never rowed for a proper amateur club, only the team at my academic institution. There was one year we could have been good enough to qualify for Henley but most of the VIII had big exams or jobs to go to.

    Premier Icon masterdabber
    Free Member

    @masterdabber I was at royal cc too but not since 2012 or so.


    @wcolt
    , I can see I pre-dated you by a lot of years.”The Royal” when I was there had the clubroom floor  collapse occasionaly when people got a bit over active dancing at the parties due to the floor sometimes getting flooded if the Thames rose a lot. I also remember the old chain ferry to get across to the island. I have been back there a few years ago and  it was a lot more swish.

    I don’t know what the situation is now but back in the 60’s most of us raced both long distance (marathon/Hasler) and sprint. Generally if you raced K2 you would do both types with the same partner but not always – like at National Championships or international selection.  Don’t know what happens now.

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    Rowing on the tideway Thames is certainly an experience but fresh, clean, flat water is nicer :-).

    Eh i learned on the clyde that includes a city sized combined sewer overflow. The Thames was the clean water. Fortunately for me i’d also sailed so the waves were braking over the bow and travelling the length of the boat i wasn’t too concerned unlike the rest of my crew.

    Premier Icon bfw
    Full Member

    Near you, Kingston is a nice club and has a great junior section. Me and my wife are longterm members but no longer row, my niece is there now. Kingston is a good mix of levels and seriousness. I hear the junior section is excellent.

    Best thing I ever did. 90% of my buddies and cycling buddies are ex-rowers. Fantastic sport and you will never be fitter, and never doubt the point of sport, eg to win! None of this medals for turning up malarky in rowing 😉 Rowers near London take it very seriously.

    Premier Icon richmars
    Full Member

    I did some of my rowing at Agecroft, Salford. We had a dead cow float past once.

    Premier Icon james-rennie
    Full Member

    Thanks to hints and tips from you lot I’ve just brought home home a very happy (and wet) son (13) & daughter(11). We ended up going for Royal Canoe near Teddington/Kingston.
    The pair of them absolutely loved the experience, it’s going to be a regular fixture.
    I wasn’t sure if it would be a positive time because of the shitey wind and rainy weather, but they’re both smiling ear to ear. Cheers!

    Premier Icon masterdabber
    Free Member

    Thanks to hints and tips from you lot I’ve just brought home home a very happy (and wet) son (13) & daughter(11). We ended up going for Royal Canoe near Teddington/Kingston.
    The pair of them absolutely loved the experience, it’s going to be a regular fixture.
    I wasn’t sure if it would be a positive time because of the shitey wind and rainy weather, but they’re both smiling ear to ear. Cheers!

    Glad to hear that worked out well for you. Too many years since I was racing for them but enjoyable times.

    In those days (the 60’s) the clubhouse used to flood sometimes and the floor would gradually rot. We had parties there quite often and it was quite usual for part of the floor to collapse if there was too much “energetic” dancing.

    I have been back since those days and the facilities are much improved….. but I’m still very fond the “Royal”.

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