ERG or Open Water - A Conflict

No, ergs don't yet float, but some of us do, and here's where you get to discuss that other form of rowing.

ERG or Open Water - A Conflict

Postby RikR » August 1st, 2016, 10:13 am

I have been rowing an Erg for several years and just recently have thought about moving to open water rowing. My problem is I am 70 years old and getting the shell on my car roof is tough. Then I am over 30 miles to any suitable rowing water so the hassle of getting to the water is a question.

I have had the dream of OWR for years but I row for exercise and at my age I am not interested in complications to exercise.

So my question for open water rowers is it worth the hassle or is the Erg not as scenic but as good exercise. Is OWR the spiritual activity my fantasy thinks it is.

Thanks
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Re: ERG or Open Water - A Conflict

Postby jamesg » August 2nd, 2016, 2:20 am

If the water there is suited to rowing and sculling, there will be a boat club. Suggest you sign up and use their boats, starting with the easy ones to learn how. Learning to row afloat is worth the effort: your work on the erg will certainly improve.

Before it becomes anywhere near spiritual, if at all, there are a few problems to solve.
76y, 188cm, 86kg, MHR 170. 3km/h in water, 10km/h on. Last 2k (1-16) 8.10@26
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Re: ERG or Open Water - A Conflict

Postby afriedma » December 20th, 2016, 3:47 am

I agree about the boat club idea.

I'm only 62, and getting a light boat off my roof is not yet a deal-breaker for me. I have rowed a C2 for a number of years, but I am a novice sculler. Personally, I think it is worthwhile to get out on the water. It is such a different experience. In particular, you need to work hard on balance, a non-issue in an erg workout. Sculling forces you to have better form, otherwise you will find yourself swimming. Lightweight shells are SO responsive, 1 good stroke sends your boat so far. It is one thing to watch your performance on an erg monitor (I like the fishing game!), but it feels so much more rewarding to propel a boat over the water.

I am looking at some alternatives to lugging a shell around. One thing to consider is rowing a SUP. Check out the "SUP conversion oar board - great idea or gimmick?" thread in this forum topic. Heck, you can even get an inflatable SUP and the whole thing will fit in the trunk of your car. I find this intriguing, but I have yet to talk to anyone who has actually rowed a SUP, or a place where I can try it out for myself.
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Re: ERG or Open Water - A Conflict

Postby gregsmith01748 » December 20th, 2016, 1:07 pm

When you say open water, do you mean open water?
Like on the ocean or a big lake, or are you talking about any on the water rowing?

Independent of what your answer is, I submit that getting into a real boat on real water is a truly spiritual experience and frankly makes erging more fun.

I have a uninformed opinion that buying a real open water boat is better than a SUP conversion kit, but I could be totally wrong. I bought an Alden Star and I am very happy with it.

Also, if you go with an open water boat (like a star, or maas aero, or a echo), it is actually quite stable and suitable for learning how to row. It is heavier than a flat water single and getting it on and off a car could be a challenge. One solution is to fine or develop a friend who shares your interest and buy an open water double. I think that could be the best way to do open water rowing. Sublime spirituality may be even better when shared. It's also way easier for two people to handle a double than for one person to handle a single.
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Re: ERG or Open Water - A Conflict

Postby Edward4492 » December 29th, 2016, 3:52 pm

After three years of very serious erging I started OTW rowing this past summer. There's simply nothing like it. At age 70, no need to wait! As mentioned, best bet is to find a rowing club, take a learn to row program, and start rowing. As Greg questioned, big difference between what rowers call "open water" as compared to a typical quiet water venue like a lake or slow moving river. I rowed most of the summer in a Maas 24, it's a very stable boat but it will still move and respond similar to a shell. For me the jump from the Maas to a Hudson 1x really wasn't too difficult. There's things in the boat that are paramount such as balance and blade work that don't even exist on the erg.

Not sure I'd go as far as spiritual, but getting out on Cooper River as the sun is just starting to rise and the water is still and looks like black ink; well, it's something I plan on doing for the rest of my life.
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Re: ERG or Open Water - A Conflict

Postby Cyclist2 » January 1st, 2017, 2:42 pm

My current situation is similar to yours, RikR. I rowed OTW (both flat water and open water) years ago, and owned a Pocock teardrop racing single, and then a Maas Aero. However, when I moved to my present location, the ratio of preparation -- loading, driving, unloading, setup, then reverse to get back home -- to rowing got unfavorable. I didn't have that kind of time.

I joined a local rowing club that was just starting up (I helped bring two 8s over before I'd even paid my dues), but again, I wasn't getting enough actual rowing to all the "other stuff", plus it was expensive to do that, so I stopped.

I bought a set of slides with the proceeds from the sale of the Maas, and now I just close my eyes and dream of being on the water while I'm erging. To get outdoors, I ride my bike and tandem with my wife in the summers.

Given a choice, without all the hassle, I'd definitely be rowing on the water. It is a wonderful thing! Quiet, beautiful, birds soaring overhead, being connected to the water. Awesome.

If you have a chance, even with the associated hassles, to give it a try, I say DO IT! Even if you don't stick with it, the chance to try it should not be missed. Then you'll have some visuals in your head to help pass the time on the erg staring at the monitor or a TV.
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.
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