This article was written long before the term “Coronavirus” was a household word. Currently, we are getting reports from Whitehall Spirit® and Oar Board® owners around the world. They are expressing their appreciation for being able to get much-needed exercise to boost their immune systems while also exercising physical distancing rowing their boats or Oar Board®s, out on the water. Are you experiencing something similar? If so, please let us know. And, also let us know if we can share your story.

People who are out on the water rowing, for fitness, fun, and exercise, are definitely not thinking about grunting away inside a sweaty gym sharing close space while breathing recycled air.

They are thinking about how nice and fresh the air is. About burning off a few hundred calories while enjoying themselves. About exercising their hearts and lungs and increasing core strength.


It should be noted that recreational all-water rowing is not at all like competitive rowing. Racing shells used for competitive rowing are super narrow and are very unstable. The rower actually uses the oar blades themselves pressed on the water’s surface to remain upright. This is a tricky technique to learn and almost impossible to perform in wind and waves. On a racing shell, no extra gear is carried. Even clothing is limited to tight stretchy lycra suits. These extremely fragile racing boats have evolved to be very fast at the expense of stability (read very tippy). They are unsafe rowing in wind and waves and their appeal is pretty much competition based. These competition-focused rowers also spend a lot of time working out indoors training on stationary rowing machines in those sweaty gyms breathing stale air. Rowing usually takes place early in the morning on flat water and on prescribed tracks and usually restricted to the summer season.


Recreational rowing is done in stable rowing boats that can handle rowing out in wind and waves. In any windy wavy condition, an all-water rowboat is designed to remain upright and stay pretty much dry inside. They are more like our ancestors’ old rowboats but have now evolved into lightweight specialized craft designed and built specifically for fitness, fun, and enjoyment. They are equipped with the same high tech slide seat or sliding rigger rowing gear and lightweight carbon fiber sculling oars as racing shells because utilizing up to 90% of your muscles is vastly more efficient than rowing a fixed seat traditional rowing boat. It’s about being in harmony with nature, feeling comfortable with no fear factor. It’s also about enjoying the company of the birds and marine creatures that live in and on the water. These all water rowers, dressed appropriately, get out all year round when the conditions are suitable.


Modern all water recreational rowing boats are virtually maintenance-free and built with ultra-tough, lightweight materials. And as mentioned, like their competitive cousins, they are equipped with state of the art slide seat sculling gear, essential for a full-body workout and maximum rowing efficiency.


These rowboats have proper stability, maneuver easily, and move efficiently over a broad range of speeds. They have a larger open interior making it easy to bring along cameras, fishing gear, snacks, or extra clothing. In many, you can take along your dog or a friend or some kids.


All water recreational rowers are likely to keep their boats at home on a trailer or at a spot convenient to getting out rowing at a time suited to their own schedule. They are not concerned with weather unless it’s really nasty because rowing a proper seaworthy rowboat in moderate wind and waves is fun, and even makes for a better workout. They love connecting with nature this way and the recharge that automatically happens both physically and mentally. They know it refreshes the mind and recharges the body and is ultimately good for the soul.