How To Row An Inflatable Boat?

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Not everyone who has an inflatable boat can row theirs well or at all. Boat rowing goes beyond just splashing your paddle in the water. It involves paddling in such a way as to ensure speed and comfort at the same time. If you row your boat the wrong way, you will tire easily and even risk injury. In this post, we want to show you how to row an inflatable boat effectively. After that, we will also show you some rowing mistakes you might be making and how to avoid them.

How to row your inflatable boat correctly?

Here are the steps you need to take to row your inflatable boat correctly.

Seat comfortably

The very first thing you need to do before you start rowing is to sit properly. How you seat will depend on the elevation of your boat’s padding and design. Make sure you cross your legs if you have to and lean back again on the boat for a better body balance.

Hold the oars

The next thing you need to do is to hold the oar handles. How you do this matters, so you have to get it right. Adjust them until you find a spot in the water that you find comfortable; no news to rush things. The oar’s blade should be very close to the water’s surface with your hands on top of the oar. Wrap your hands around the oar if that will make you comfortable.

Glide and dig

With your hands in place and your body in position, now is the time to test the oars. First, hover them above the surface of the water. Make sure your hands are fully extended, then dig the blades into the water. As you lean forward to engage them, your arms should be going forward and backward.

Increase the force

To increase the force means to increase speed. You do this by engaging your abdominal muscles. Each time the oars go deep into the water, lean back to pull them back up until your arms are close to your chest. But also sure you sit straight each time your arms come close to your chest.

Maintain a steady pace

If you don’t want to tire quickly, you have to maintain a steady pace. You don’t want to paddle slow and fast. Rather, do a quick but steady motion that you can sustain. If your oars are out of the water for so long, you will not be able to maintain speed. Fast oar flipping will minimize resistance from the water itself and wind.

Turn where necessary

You can turn the oar where necessary by disengaging one oar and rowing with the other. For example, if you want to turn to the right, row with the left; If you want to turn to the left, row with the right.

These are the steps to take to row an inflatable boat correctly. But what are the common mistakes that inexperienced rowers make? Let’s take a look.

Common rowing mistakes

Here are common mistakes that most rowers make.

Poor positioning

Amateur rowers don’t know how to position themselves before they start rowing. Poor positioning is the wrong first step. If you get this wrong, every other thing will be wrong, and your rowing will be a tiresome exercise.

What then is the proper way to position yourself? The first thing to do is to sit comfortably. With a comfortable posture, you can hold the oars with ease. Then focus on your legs. Legs should not be placed straight, even if there is space for that.

Rather, your legs should be crossed. This will make it easy for you to engage your upper body muscles. Also, sit slightly behind the oars, not in front of it. This entails positioning the oars at least an arm’s length further forward.

Holding the oars the wrong way

Another mistake amateur rowers make is to hold the oars the wrong way. The right way to handle an oar is to hold the full length. Holding the tip will make your rowing slow and difficult. So what is the best way to hold it? That is wrapping your hands around it with your thumb and the tip of your middle finger touching.

This posture will give you more rowing power and control. Furthermore, your strokes will be clean and fast.

Using short oars

Another mistake you may be making is to use short oars. You may wonder if that is possible since you are using the oars your boat came with. However, it is possible because many boats are sold with short oars, and this is wrong. Examine the oars you are currently using. If you have to bend forward too much to engage the water, the oars are likely too short for you and should be changed to much longer ones.

Rowing with only your arms

It is wrong to row with only your arms. Very wrong.

Your arms should not only be the body part that you engage; you should engage your arms, chest, and abdominal muscles. Using only your arms will place so much strain on this body part, and your strokes will be slow and painful. Your legs should also be involved to give you stability and balance.

You should also lean forward and go backward relative to the oars.

Rowing at the same time as your partner

Now, this is the most consequential mistake rowing parties make. In fact, many rowers think that it is right to row at the same time, but this is not true. Unless you are in a race against another rowing team, this move is a waste of energy. If you are rowing with a partner, you two should row one after the other. The first should row while the other waits. As soon as your partner disengages, you row.

This trick works well for two reasons. First, you conserve strength by resting for a second or two, so you row for much longer. Secondly, your team will not break speed since the boat will constantly be on the move. This will help you cover more ground in less time.

How to choose an inflatable boat

In the first paragraph, we reviewed the best rowing steps then we addressed common rowing mistakes amateur boaters make. In this section, we want to show you how to choose an inflatable boat.

No matter how much of a skilled rower you are, if you do not buy the right inflatable boat, all your physical effort wilt go to waste or will not be as effective as you would wish. So here are some tips to help you make the right purchase decision.

Size & Weight

When shopping for an inflatable boat, you want to make sure you consider the size and weight of the boat. The last thing you want is to buy a boat that is too big and too heavy. If it is too big, you will need a larger space to store it, even if it is deflated. On the other hand, if it is too heavy, it will be stressful to transport it from your house to the launch site. So to get the size and weight right, focus on the diameter. The ideal diameter is 13.5 inches, but you can go for something larger as long as you feel comfortable in it.

Taller sides

The sides of the Inflatable boat should be tall. Lower sides may cause injuries due to additional resistance to headwinds. Taller sides also give the boat stability

Boat width

We recommend narrow boats because they are easy to turn. But make sure the one you choose can accommodate a weight of at least 175-200 lb and can accommodate your body’s frame.

Size of the oars

The size of the oars matters more than you think. You should go for oars that are as light as possible. Not only that, the oars should be long enough, so you don’t have to stretch too forward to engage the water.

Final Thoughts

If you didn’t know how to row an inflatable boat before, now you do. The tips provided in this article should help you do so effectively and with minimal stress. But remember that practice makes perfect, so the more you row, the better you will be at it.

How to row an inflatable boat FAQ

Should I use a short or long oar/paddle?

A short oar will make rowing difficult because you will have to stretch forward too much, but longer oars are best for rowing.

Can I use a different oar to the one that came with my inflatable boat?

Yes, you can. Most of the oars sold with inflatable boats are either substandard or too short. This is why experts recommend buying a different oar to suit your frame.

What leg position must I maintain when I’m padding?

The best leg position is the crossed leg position. A crossed leg position will give you balance and enable you to engage your upper body muscles effectively.

Last updated: 27/03/2022

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