In this video, Jon Gilson of Again Faster “graduates” from indoor rowing on the Concept2 erg to rowing on the water in a one-man scull at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont. Jon’s instructor is Judy Geer, a veteran coach and three-time Olympian.
Judy notes some similarities and some differences in comparing the scull to the erg. The body mechanics and coordination are quite similar, but you shouldn’t apply power too soon on the water. The grip is slightly different and you also have to watch where you’re going!
Judy goes on to teach Jon an essential skill: squaring and feathering. The oars should be square to the water on the pull and then be brought out of the water on the return to the starting position. If an oar is not square it tends to dive too deeply, one of the surest ways of flipping the scull. It’s also important to keep the hands moving towards the finish of the drive. There should be no pause. The hands should come right in and press down slightly to lift the blade out of the water. Judy coaches Jon to avoid placing the blade too deep in the water. The top of the blade should barely be covered by water.
Jon says there is an interesting parallel with Olympic weightlifting: when you get it right, you can feel it. The payoff is the smooth glide of the scull. Judy agrees and says this is the memory to bring back to the erg.