If you’re feeling cooped up and restless after weeks of sticking close to home, the folks at Nathan Benderson Park have come to the rescue by offering their popular Learn to Row 101 course on two upcoming weekends: May 16, 17, 23 and 24. The cost is $120.
The Learn to Row course is perfect for social distancing. It’s capped at eight people, and only one-person boats are used. They’re 21 and 24 feet long, shorter and wider than racing shells, says NBP program manager Meghan Farrell, which makes them more stable, less tippy, and easier to learn in. “This course sets you up successfully for the future,” Farrell says. “If you understand how to maneuver it, any boat you get into after that is simple.
The No. 1 question people ask, Farrell says, is, “Am I too old?, and the answer is no. It’s open for all ages and experience levels, and you don’t need to know anything about rowing. We’ve taught 7-years old and 77-year-olds how to row.
“It’s a low impact sport; you’re not running or jumping up or down,” she says. “It’s hard work, but you don’t have to be an Olympic caliber athlete. Just enjoy the water and push yourself as hard as you want to.”
Nathan Benderson Park has an international reputation for rowing, starting back in 2017 when the World Rowing Championships were held there. It’s the only Class A FISA-certified course in North America. (Sadly, this summer’s US youth nationals tourney has been canceled due to the Covid-19 crisis,)
Learn to Row graduates become rowing affiliates and qualify for a membership program called NB Perks, with merchandise discounts, parking pass, access to exercise equipment in the Finish Tower—once it reopens, of course.
And if a class experience isn’t your thing, NBP offers private lessons, too.