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The Charm of Coastal Rowing

I have always liked the ocean.

I started sailing many years ago, and really enjoyed many different kinds of marine sports.

I have seen people practicing rowing in the river when I was living in Hong Kong. I thought it was quite a cool sport – boats can go pretty fast on the water. I thought it must be a good feeling, also a good exercise.

Rowing in Hong Kong is mostly only a university (bukatsu) sport. When I thought about trying it, I was already out of uni, so I had no chance to try this sport.

A few years ago, I became a member of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Cub to enjoy leisure sailing and yacht races. I also found out that there was a Coastal Rowing Division, so I joined a beginner's course. After a few lessons, I was able to handle a row boat by myself. The coastal rowing club was very casual. I could go rowing by myself anytime. There were also several information groups of people on LINE chat. People will just organize a rowing trip to a small island, to have picnic on the beach, or to go to a seafood restaurant in one of the many islands around Hong Kong. It was good exercise, and good social fun, without the burden of a bukatsu.

If you have not tried rowing before, I really recommend that you start by trying coastal rowing. It is very, very different from the rental row boats in the park. Sports row boats have sliding seats to make best use of your leg muscles to propel the boat. Your thighs are the biggest muscles in your body.

Different from other paddling sports such as Kayaking or Dragon Boats, the oars of a row boat uses a pivot on each side of the boat. The pivots provide the leverage, making the force transfer more efficient. You also do not waste energy keeping the paddle and your arms in the air, like you have to in kayaking.

In the beginning, choose a calm morning when the sea is flat. You can enjoy the feeling of gliding over water. The sensation is really special. You use your own muscles to generate good speed over the water. It is almost like a eagle gliding effortlessly in the sky.

You can also stop at anytime, and enjoy the quietness and the expanse of the ocean.

I personally do not like the smell of gasoline, and the noise of the engine of a speed boat. So I have preferred sailing. I really like the sense of speed over water, and the quietness of a sail boat. But on a windless day, coastal rowing is the best. I moved to Fukuoka almost 3 years ago, and started Windsurfing. It is a super exhilirating experience when the wind is strong. But there are often times when the wind is weak, or no wind at all. I am so glad that my rowing board has arrived. It is the inflatable type that I can store anywhere, or put into my car so I can row anywhere I like.

I can now enjoy the ocean to the maximum.

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