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Don’t know one of the acronyms used on this site?

Don’t understand a particular bit of rowing terminology?

Never fear. The glossary here contains all of the rowing terms you need to know.

Boat Types/ Event Naming 
1x  Single Scull – 1 sculler 
2x  Double Scull – 2 scullers 
4x  Quadruple “Quad” Scull – 4  scullers 
4x+  Coxed Quadruple “Quad” Scull scullers plus cox 
2-  Pair (without a cox) 2 rowers 
4-  Coxless Four (without a cox) 4 rowers 
4+  Coxed Four (with a cox) 4 rowers 
8+  Coxed Eight (with a cox) 8 rowers 
U17  Under 17 years of age 
U19  Under 19 years of age 
U21  Under 21 years of age 
U23  Under 23 years of age 
Open (O)  Open to all competitors 
Para  Para events Open to competitors living with a disability and classified according to the Rowing Australia Rules  
Club  Club events Open to competitors who are members of the same club 
Sprint  Sprint events over 500metres 
Rowing Terminology 
Back it  To row in reverse to manoeuvre the boat to a desired position 
Backsplash  Water splashed back towards the bow by the blade as it enters the water. 
Blade/Spoon  The part at the end of the oar which goes into the water. 
Bow  The front end of the boat 
Bow Ball   A 5cm rubber ball fitted to the bow of the boat as a safety device.  A compulsory fitting. 
Bow Number  A alpha-numeric number that each racing crew has attached to their bow to identify their race (the alpha) and their lane number (the numeric). 
Bow seat  The rower closest to the front or bow of a crew boat when looking towards the bow. 
Bowside   The right or starboard side of the boat when looking towards the bow. 
Catch  The catch is the front end of the stroke where the oar is placed into the water 
Catching a crab  A “crab” is when the oar get stuck in the water and impedes the progress of the boat. 
Check it  Is when the crew, or some members of the crew put their oar into the water and hold it still to stop the boat from moving 
Collar / Button   A wide plastic ring placed around the sleeve of an oar. The button stops the oar from slipping through the oarlock. 
Cox box  A brand name, but also a common term used for a speaker system that the coxswain uses to be heard throughout the boat.  it can also show stroke rate, boat speed and time etc to the coxswain. 
Coxswain or Cox  The person who is responsible for steering a coxed boat and making race calls around strategy.  Not all boats have a cox.  The cox may either sit in the stern of the boat or lie down in the bow of the boat.  The cox faces the direction the boat is going. 
Distance  All races except Sprint events are over the Olympic distance of 2,000 metres. 
Drive  The part of the stroke where the oar is in the water 
Easy or Easy Oar  To stop rowing 
Ergometer, Ergo or Erg  An indoor rowing machine 
Events/Races  Each event will be conducted over a number of elimination rounds, e.g, heat, repechage, semi-final, finals, 
Feather  When the oars are turned so the blade is parallel with the water 
Finish  The end of the drive where the oars are released from the water. 
Foot Stretcher   Apparatus for holding the feet firmly in the boat.   
Lightweight  Lightweight rowers need to meet certain weight requirements to race. 
Rating  The number of strokes taken per minute 
Recovery  The part of the stroke where the oar is out of the water, when the rower is moving forward to the catch. (the beginning of the stroke) 
Repechâge  A second race given to crews which do not progress in the draw past the heat, a second chance to progress. 
Rigger  An attachment to the side of the boat which holds the oar. 
Sculler  A rower who rows with two oars, one in each hand. 
Seat number  A rower’s position in the boat counting up from the bow. In an eight, the person closest to the bow is “bow,” the next is 2, followed by 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and finally “stroke.”  
Slide  Runners that guide the rower’s seat during the stroke. 
Splits or Split time  The time it has taken a crew to row a specified distance usually 500metres 
Square  When the blade is at right angles to the water 
Stern  The rear end/ back of the boat 
Stroke  The entire movement of the oar going through the water, finish and recovery and going back in again 
Stroke (Seat)  The rower closest to the stern of the boat. 
Strokeside  The left or port side of the boat when looking to the bow. 
Sweep   Rowers who row with one oar / boats where each rower has one oar 
Wash  The wake from another boat 
Washing out  Where the blade comes out of the water during the drive