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Learn to Row!


Our Experience Rowing and Learn-to-Row classes for adults, age 18 and up (no upper age limit) are open for registration!

IF YOU ARE CURIOUS about rowing and want to find out whether you want to pursue it as a sport, you will want sign up for one of our half-day Experience Rowing sessions.

IF YOU ARE READY TO COMMIT TO AN INTENSIVE 6-SESSION CLASS with the goal of joining LPRA and continuing to row on a regular basis, register for our June or July 6-session Learn-to-Row class. 



Experience sculling - rowing with two oars - in this half-day session.  

  • Saturday May 18 or
  • Sunday May 19  
  • 8am to 11am 
  • Tuition is $125

When you arrive at the lake, you’ll receive an intro to rowing technique on land, then you’ll get on the water in a rowing shell with experienced rowers and get a feel for what it’s like to really row! Note, This brief session does not qualify you to continue to row.

 Space is limited to 8 participants per session, so reserve your seat now!

In the event of lightning or severe weather, you will be notified and the event will be rescheduled.




Learn to scull - row with two oars - with our Olympic medalist coach, Jackie Zoch Major!  Tuition is $275 for this intensive 6-session class designed to qualify you to join LPRA and continue rowing!  

We offer a June Class and a July Class.  Each is limited to 8 participants, so reserve your seat as soon as possible!


  • Sat. June 8, 8am-10am
  • Sun. June 9, 8am-10am
  • Tues. June 11, 6pm-8pm
  • Sat. June 15, 8am-10am
  • Sun. June 16, 8am-10am
  • Tues. June 18, 6pm-8pm


  • Sat. July 13, 8am-10am
  • Sun. July 14, 8am-10am
  • Tues. July 16, 6pm-8pm
  • Sat. July 20, 8am-10am
  • Sun. July 21, 8am-10am
  • Tues. July 23, 6pm-8pm

First you’ll receive training in rowing on land, including the parts of a stroke and correct body position.   Then you’ll get on the water in a rowing shell with other rowers and learn to coordinate legs, body, and arms with hand positioning and bladework. Your goal is to move the boat safely and efficiently through the water.  

Each class session builds on knowledge gained in the prior session, so you MUST attend each one.  

In the event of lightning or severe weather, you will be notified and the session will be rescheduled.

Additional Class Details


Meet at the LPRA boathouse on Lake Purdy, 3780 Boat Launch Road, 35242.  Soon after turning off Hwy 119 at the sign for Lake Purdy Fishing, you‘ll see our boathouse on the right and the Lake Purdy Fishing offices on the left.  You can park in the main parking lot and we’ll meet you in front of the boathouse.     


We highly encourage 100% attendance - each session builds on the last so, if you miss even one, your crew members will advance beyond your level and you will hold them back. 


Class will be held as scheduled unless you hear otherwise via text message.  We will row in the event of light rain, but if there are high winds or thunderstorms we’ll text that class is cancelled and will schedule a make-up day.


Our head coach, Olympic medalist Jackie Zoch Major, conducts the classes along with other coaches and members. All are volunteers who enjoy sharing our love of the sport (LPRA is member-run, with no employees).  Coach Jackie will push you to get it right - if she believes you can do it - so be prepared to learn from one of the best.    


Wear dry-fit type t-shirts and spandex shorts - no loose clothing - a baseball cap, and water shoes or thin-soled athletic shoes without a wide heel.   Always bring a pair of thick socks, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a filled water bottle.

Parts of a Complete Rowing Stroke

Each stroke is made up of four parts that flow into one another:  the CATCH, the DRIVE, the RELEASE, and the RECOVERY. 

Catch (or Entry) - with your legs compressed at a 90-degree angle, arms outstretched, and your body angled toward your feet, square your blades then lighten your hands on the oar handles to allow your blades to enter the water. 

Drive - hanging your weight off the oar handles with straight arms, press your legs down, sending your body sliding toward the bow, then swing your back towards the bow and bend your arms at the elbow as the boat glides past your blades. 

Release (or Finish) - after the backs of your knees hit the seat deck, but before the oar handles hit your chest, press your forearms down slightly to release the blades from the water. 

Recovery - immediately feather your blades and extend your arms with outward pressure on the oar handles, pressing the buttons into the oarlocks. Swing your body toward your feet, relax your legs allowing your knees to bend as the boat runs beneath you, bringing you gently into the stern.  Do not pull yourself into the stern with your legs!


What to Expect

SESSION 1 - Saturday

At the lake on rowing machines.  You’ll learn basic terminology and technique for engaging your legs, back, and arms through the catch, drive, finish, and recovery.  Then you’ll get into the boats and become familiar with the sliding seat, foot stretchers, riggers, oarlocks, and oars. 

SESSION 2 - Sunday

You’ll help launch the boats then head away from the dock and learn how to feather and square your blade and adjust your hand height to keep the boat level.  

SESSION 3 - Tuesday

You’ll head out into the lake then take turns, practicing what you learned so far - rowing with arms only, arms and back, then adding in legs.  Meanwhile your fellow crew members will practice “setting the boat” - keeping it level.  

SESSION 4 - Saturday

Halfway through to graduating!  You’ll confidently claim your seat, lock in your oar, and help maneuver the boat away from the dock.  To refine your stroke you’ll perform drills, learning to coordinate your action with the rest of the crew. While others practice you’ll set the boat and enjoy the ride with the breeze in your hair. 

SESSION 5 - Sunday 

Now you have all the basic elements in your head; you just have to communicate them to your body.  This is where repetition pays off, so you’ll do a lot of rowing.

SESSION 6 - Tuesday

Graduation day - rowing and celebration.  Your entire crew should be rowing together and the boat will fly!  This is where your real fun begins - and there’s no better workout than one that leaves you grinning.


If you have attended all six sessions, demonstrated that you have learned the basics of rowing, and know how to manage and protect the boats and equipment, you‘ll receive a graduation certificate and an invitation to join LPRA. As an LPRA member you’ll receive further instruction from members and coaches, and be able to use club boats and equipment appropriate to your level of knowledge and ability. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why 6 sessions?

A:  The learning curve is steep - you’ll learn a lot each session, and taking a break after each one gives you time to mentally process the knowledge, ready to build on it at the next session. 


Q:  Do I need to attend all 6 sessions?

A:  Yes.  The information taught in each session is cumulative. 


Q:  What type of rowing will I learn?

A:   In this class you’ll learn sculling - rowing with two oars, one in each hand. You can scull in a  single (1x, one person), a double (2x, two people), or a quad (4x, four people).  Rowing with only one oar is called sweep. Sweep boats typically carry a crew of 4 or 8 people plus a coxswain who steers the boat and coordinates the rowers.  


Q:  After I learn, what is next?

A:  After you successfully complete the class, you will be invited to join LPRA and participate in group rowing activities using club boats appropriate to your level of knowledge and ability. As a member, the coaches will help you expand your skill and knowledge.

Rowing Terminology

Ergometer - A rowing ergometer is a machine that approximates the rowing stroke and provides a convenient effective way to build, measure, and compare rowing fitness. 

Shell - Used interchangeably with “boat”.

Deck - the covered areas of a rowing shell’s front, back, and sides. 

Starboard - Right side of the boat, while facing forward, in the direction of movement.

Port - Left side of the boat, while facing forward, in the direction of the movement.

Bow - The forward section of a boat, pointing in the direction of travel. When seated in a rowing shell, the bow is physically behind you.

Bowball - A rubber ball attached to the bow tip of a shell to protect against damage and injury in case of a collision.

Stern – The back of a boat - the last to arrive wherever you are going. When seated in a rowing shell, the stern is physically in front of you.

Rigger -  The triangular shaped metal device that is bolted onto the side of the boat and holds the oars.

Oar - A long shaft with a blade at the end, rowers do not use paddles.  Parts of an oar include the handle, sleeve, collar or button (keeps the oar from slipping through the oarlock), and blade. 

Oarlock - The U-shaped lock at the end of the rigger that attaches the oar to the shell. The oarlock holds the oar at its collar and allows the rower to rotate the oar between the squared and feathered positions. 

Gate – A bar across the top of the oarlock that secures the oar from popping out.

Foot stretcher – An adjustable footplate with a pair of shoes, or a set of straps, attached to hold the rower’s feet.

Feather the blade - Rotate the oar handle so the blade is parallel to the water.

Square the blade -  Rotate the oar handle so the blade is perpendicular to the water.

Way-Enough - Stop.