Rowing vs Paddling

Gorge Narrows is a rowing club. What's the difference?

If the sport you're looking for involves facing backwards in a skinny boat, we're your club! If you want to kayak, dragon boat, or canoe, then you're looking for a “paddling club”.

Woman rowing a

This person is rowing a “single,” which is a one person sculling boat. Sculling boats are commonly made for one, two, or four rowers. In a sculling boat, each rower has two oars, which are secured in oarlocks. The rower sits on a sliding seat, facing backwards, with their feet secured in quick-release shoes. Most of the power of the stroke comes from the rower's legs, some from their back, and only a bit from the arms!

Singles, doubles, and quads are the most commonly rowed boats at Gorge Narrows Rowing.

An eight person sweep boat.

These people are rowing an “eight,” which is an eight-person sweep boat. Sweep boats are commonly made for two, four, or eight rowers. In a sweep boat, each rower has one oar, so there are four oars on each side.

In case you're wondering, this picture was taken at the Head of the Gorge Regatta in the fall of 2019, and, yes, the rowers are wearing costumes!

Gorge Narrows Rowing has opportunities for people wanting to do sweep rowing, though we definitely emphasise sculling.


This person is admiring seals in the Victoria harbour from the front of a two person kayak, which is a type of paddling boat. Kayaks are very popular here in Victoria. Other types of paddling boats include canoes, dragon boats, stand-up paddleboards, etc. The paddles are free, not attached as in rowing, and the paddler sits or kneels facing forwards.

Kayaks are cool, but this club doesn't have them!

Stand-up-paddleboard at sunset

Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, is another popular type of paddling here in Victoria. In this sport, paddlers stand on a board and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water.

Stand up paddle boards are also cool, and we don't have them either!

Dragon boat

Dragon boats are also commonly seen on the Gorge.

Dragon boats are about 48 feet long, weigh 300 kg, have twenty paddlers, and a drummer. Rowers, in our flyweight carbon fiber shells, use our greater speed to admire them from a distance!

Dragon boats are amazing and, though we think they're great, they're not what we do!

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