Learn to row class with the doctor’s: Team Building

We took a learn to row class with some doctor’s from the hospital where I work at the Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center. The attending, who invited us, is a rower himself. He found rowing after having a spinal cord injury. I definitely want to learn more about adapted rowing from him but today was about just plain rowing.

And by plain rowing I mean complex rowing. Because as much as I like to focus on the art of kayaking I definitely had to focus on the science of rowing.

We had to carry out 300 lbs (not to mention $30,000).


We had an 8 man crew. I was seat 2 and Alex seat 6, both portside.


The instructor in the motor boat (nicely) yelled at us to get us to paddle in sync. She did a good job of quickly adding skills (it’s always before you feel ready) without adding too much at once. First we did ergometer machines inside, then in the boat we tried arms only, arms and body, then arms/body/legs. Then we learned to feather the paddle (the same concept as kayaking but you’re physically turning the paddle).

rowing 1

Once I got started I did fine but when I had to paddle by myself (I was on the bow so I did turns by myself) sometimes I got confused (like wanting to paddle forward like in a kayak). One of the women kept “catching crabs” (getting pinned by her oar) and my life vest was better use to me as padded oar protection than as a floatation device.


Being part of a medical team takes a lot of synchronization, so I think this was a successful team building experience.


Photo credits (except the one of his boat) to Dr. Bunnell.

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