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More than sport

How Rowing Works: Oar fees.

Peta Rule

Hello and welcome to today's edition of How Rowing Works. 

Hear at HRW we've fielded a few questions of late on how rowing fees in Western Australia work, so we thought we'd answer a few FAQs to help the newbies out there (and some of the seasoned players who perhaps just don't pay attention) understand:

  • how oar fees are generated

  • When you need to pay them

  • how much it costs to race

  • what you need to budget

  • what the cash pays for

How oar fees are generated:

Entries to regattas are submitted the Sunday before the upcoming regatta weekend. They're entered into a system called rowing manager. When your name is entered into rowing manager, an invoice for an oar fee is generated under your name and allocated to your club - in this case, WARC.

You will then be invoiced for your oar fees by  WARC - importantly, not from Rowing WA. Essentially, the club acts as debt collectors for the State - the club invoices you, the Association invoices the club.

I should note the Association doesn't see it that way, rather the official position is that the club enters the race and is thus liable for the fee. 

When you need to pay them:

The club will keep track of these oar fees and will send you an invoice, probably twice during a season to pay your bill - once after the second Bunbury regatta when your racing score is set, and once after State Championships*. 

This helps keep both our and your administrative overheads to a minimum.

Some clubs include a portion of oar fees in their membership fee. We've opted to scrap that practice as it was just too confusing.

*invoicing date subject to change as we're all volunteers but we'll keep you in the loop!

How much does a racing cost?

Rowing WA has a helpful table in its regatta information which outlines oar fees:

2016 oar fee rates

2016 oar fee rates

Now, if you're a masters rower you might be wondering why masters races are $9.90 for 1000m racing with divisions rather than heats, since the setup more closely resemble D and E grade racing.

The answer is the overheads associated with regattas. There are fixed overheads like rental of Champion Lakes - yes, the Association has to pay the State Government for the right to row on a specially-designed rowing facility - that are not reduced despite the fact it is a much smaller regatta. We have approached RWA to renegotiate this agreement with Venues West so we perhaps get a discount if we don't use the upstairs facilities but the issue didn't get progressed.

Thus masters regattas generally lose money. The the oar fees do not cover the overheads associated with the regatta. 

What do you need to budget?

The short answer is, it's complicated.

In a perfect world, everyone would row every head race and then three races on every available racing day. If that was the case, it looks like this for a whole season:

  • Headraces: $39.6

  • D-E three races per regatta: $115.5

  • A-B three races per regatta: $148.5

  • Masters three races per regatta: $89.1

  • States: $79.2

Thus the most anyone should spend is A-C grade rowers who are also masters, and that is $356.40 in total. Most athletes will fall well short of that and D-E grade rowers are probably looking under the $200 mark, possibly even less given we've missed a bit of racing this season.

What does all this cash pay for?

The oar fees generate about $100K and it is pretty much all allocated to regatta operations including:

  • Hiring venues west

  • Trophies

  • Security

  • Depreciation of boats

  • Fuel, maintenance and trailfers

  • Software and computer stuff

  • Equipment like radios, bow numbers etc

From a regatta perspective, Dan Tackenberg tells me its more or less a break-even enterprise. 

So, I hope that explains How Oar Fees Work. Next time on How Rowing Works, we'll tackle the big questions, like: Who is Sam and why do we ask him things anyway?



And.... we're done!

Peta Rule

The deck crew 

The deck crew 

It's finished. A once-in-a-generation upgrade to the facilities at WARC.

All the elbow-grease, sweat, more than 400 days and seven Government departments in approvals, setbacks and contractors and it's finally there.

This isn't the official thank you note. This is just the start of them. There will be emails, celebrations, recognition of all the people who carried stuff, moved stuff, cut bits of white plastic, spent days in the water, donated money and time, or did all the crazy auxiliary things which cropped up from time to time.

First coxswain to ever be able to launch in an eight straight off the deck. Hoorah!

First coxswain to ever be able to launch in an eight straight off the deck. Hoorah!

It's a huge year for our little club. An Olympic year (more on that later) with what looks like a strong WARC contingent heading to Rio, a new set of school programs that is kicking us along, and now this new game-changer of a deck.

It's a good time to be a Westie.

Physio discount for WARCers

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Former WARCer  Rourke Moynihan is offering a discount for WARC members for physiotherapy treatment*.


Rourke says: 

"At Mosman Park and West Perth Physiotherapy, we really understand sports and their associated injuries. Within our team of physios, we have intimate experience with rugby union, AFL, league, American football, marathon running, pilates, surf life saving, surfing, swimming, tennis, snowboarding, hockey, yoga, rock climbing – and that’s just to name a few!

We know how frustrating it is when a sport injury keeps you from participating in the sports you love. 

With our expert knowledge of sports injuries and rehabilitation, we can get you back on the field or pitch or into the pool or surf sooner – and keep you there. We’re focused on outcome-based physiotherapy, on addressing the present problem as well as building up strength to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

You’ll have an expert sports physio to work with you through your recovery and make any alterations needed to your ongoing plan. 

Whether you’ve rolled an ankle, pulled a shoulder, or taken a tumble, we can set you on the path to recovery."
*Note: WARC only allows advertisements to our members in cases where an exclusive benefit is offered. Offers are not quality controlled so thus don't come with any endorsement.

The $20,000 pile issue

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Water got in to affect one of the Jarrah and Wandoo piles which support the deck

Water got in to affect one of the Jarrah and Wandoo piles which support the deck

So this is a fairly dodgy illustration of what we think may have happened to one of the piles supporting the deck.

In the 1990s, the piles supporting the deck were 'capped' with concrete to protect the very strong Jarrah and Wandoo piles which were driven into the riverbed and support the deck.

(For the record, the piles under the club itself were also capped with concrete but it does down quite a way further than that of the deck, so this does not pose a risk under the club.)

In the 20 years since the deck piles were capped, it would appear the river bed may have sunk and as a result water has got in and damaged the wood at the base of one of the piles. The pile then fell over when we removed the deck.

We should be clear here: The integrity of the pile itself was fine, it could support the downward pressure put on by the deck. Rather, it was removing the deck which caused the pile to become unstable and go over, particularly as the narrow wooden stretch exposed to water was supporting a few hundred kilos of concrete.

This is why we have had to drive an additional pile into the riverbed on our lease to replace the one which fell over.

The additional cost is somewhere around the $20,000 mark.

How you can help:


Come down this weekend, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June - sign up here:


Make a (very well-timed) tax-deductible donation in the last days of the financial year via the  If you can't donate time, please do consider donating a few extra dollars to help us manage this latest setback.



Top 10 most painful ergs...

Peta Rule

....As done by Ed.

This is Edward Nash.

Ed at his favourite place: On the erg.

Ed at his favourite place: On the erg.

Ed stumbled across our Top 10 Most Painful Ergs blog which was written on a lazy Sunday afternoon after a bit of banter between us, Kimmy J Crow and the Kiwi Pair (true story, read the blog if you don't believe us.) The list took on a life of its own when it was reblogged on Reddit and it has continued to drive traffic to our site ever since.

Not thinking anyone would actually do it, we offered a modest prize - a WARC visor - to anyone who managed to complete all 10 ergs in 10 days (with a disclaimer that WARC would not be held responsible for any physical, emotional or psychological damage.)

Well, Ed did it. He's the third person to ever achieve the 10 Erg list - the first were a pair of awesome schoolgirl athletes from Melbourne who proudly wear their WARC visors everywhere.

Ed sent us a dropbox of all his erg shots AND he wrote a blog about it.

On behalf of WARC, we say:

Ed is awesome. Be like Ed.

Ed writes:

My name is Ed Nash and I am a first year medical student at Caius College, Cambridge. I currently row 7 seat in our M1 team.

Ed in the Cambridge Blue checking his feet. Nice floater buddy, can we borrow? Thanks to     for the pix :)

Ed in the Cambridge Blue checking his feet. Nice floater buddy, can we borrow? Thanks to  for the pix :)

I came across the “10 most painful ergs” list on the WA Rowing Club website while injured and vowed that once I could row again I would complete all 10 on 10 consecutive days. I knew they would be hard, but I thought, ‘I do 10 training sessions a week during term time, 1 per day for 10 days can’t be THAT bad’. I vastly underestimating how hard it would be.

I also didn’t know exactly what my fitness levels were like due to being off rowing for a few weeks, but my most recent 2k had been a 6:44 so I chose 1:41 as my TMS pace and hoped for the best.

10.) The Vomit Session

1000m at TMS -5, four minutes rest
Two x 500m at TMS -10 with two minutes rest between
Two x 240m at TMS – 15 with one minute rest

Going into this session I knew it wouldn’t be easy, it required me pulling a pb 1k, 500m, and 240m consecutively, but I was optimistic and was blissfully unaware of what lay before me.

The 1000m went by without a hitch and I finished it with an average split of 1:36.3. The first 500m happened like any 500m usually does, feeling fine for the first 200m before having everything catch up with you as you spend the last 250m desperately trying not to lose your average split. I missed the goal completely, finishing in 1:35.2 and realising that I was definitely not going to come out of this well.

The second 500m however, was where everything really fell apart. I started off around 1:35, trying to keep the rate high and minimise my losses but with 350m to go I suddenly felt like I’d been hit by a train and both my rate and my split were irrecoverably lost. I can’t say I’ve ever felt so terrible while erging as I did just then. It came to me as a massive shock and my entire body felt like it’d turned to jelly as I stumbled across the line with a miserable time of 1:53.1 and 2 minutes before my next sprint. I was in no mood to give up however, and I braced myself mentally for what was about to come. I won back some self-respect by completing the next 240m at a split of 1:34.7 at rate 38 (although it was supposed to be at 1:26), and the next at 1:38.3 at rate 37 before rolling around on the floor for the next 10 minutes trying not to be sick.

While I was incredibly disappointed with the times I got, I left the session feeling pleased because those 15 minutes probably impacted my rowing more than any single training session I’ve done in a long time. It showed me that if you’re prepared for the pain you’re about to experience, and you know what it feels like, you can cope with it and push through. But if you’re not ready, and it comes as a shock, you have very little hope of fighting through it. Just like at the catch, you must be braced before the pressure hits it. From this session I concluded that 1.) One’s training program should occasionally have horrible ergs like this in them, just so that you’re ready for the pain when it hits you, and 2.) it is always possible to hurt more and you have definitely not reached your total potential yet.

9.)  Bad news erg (bad news comes in threes)

Three by 3000m. Each 3000m includes: 2500m at the 6km pace, 250m at TMS and the last 250m at sub-TMS.

There was no rest time defined for this erg, but as @KimmyJCrow suggested in the original article that any session with 1 minute rests should be on the list, I thought 1 minute rests seemed appropriate. According to the 75% power rule, my 6K test split should have been 1:51.1 so I held this split during the first 2500m of each piece, before stepping up to 1:41 and beyond. Unlike the first day, I managed to complete this erg at the correct splits, averaging 1:49.4, 1:49.7, and 1:49.1.

This erg was hard in a different way to the previous one. What made this one hard was dealing with the effects of the sprint for the first 2500m of the next piece. So while the intensity was not on the same level as the day before, the length of time spent suffering was much longer and so finding a way of coping with each 11 minute piece was the biggest mental struggle (I started counting the strokes left at 200 to go during the last piece). The pain was also different, it felt as though my muscles were in a debt (which they were) and no matter how hard I breathed, there was no way I could repay it, so I just had to endure it for 11 minutes at a time. Trying to take something away from this session, as I always do, I think firstly, when I start to feel this way during a 2k, I can remember how I felt during the last piece today. I know that if I could keep going for 10 more minutes today, I shouldn’t be worried about feeling the same way for much less time during a test. Secondly, I will remember that sprinting at max and spending 3k near maximum feel very different, and I should expect both of these feelings during a 2k. Lastly, I will remember that no matter how bad you feel, you can always take the next stroke, so don’t let that one be the one which lets you down.

8.) Amy’s Awfulust Erg

40 minutes of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off.

This totalled 26 minutes and 40 seconds of “on” erging time so thought trying to hold 2k pace during the intervals seemed like a reasonable goal. Annoyingly, I found out that you can only do 30 intervals during one workout so I had to start a new one with 10 to go. Due to the really short rests, it felt more like an endurance session than a sprint session. I found that the key to getting a fast split was to make sure I “attacked” each piece and reached 2k pace in the minimum number of strokes. I managed to average 1:41.8 across all of them which I’m pretty pleased with.

7.) Shaun’s Shenanigans

7x4 mins step test, 1 minute rest

The 6th piece should be at 2k pace and the last should be sub-2k

There isn’t much information about what splits and rates to aim for because the link on the blog post is now out of date. I tried searching for information on the Rowing Australia website but their archive only goes back to July 2014 so I suppose the information is lost forever! I therefore decided to start at rate 20 and increase the rate by 2 each piece until I was at rate 32 at sub 2k split. When I came up with this idea I worried it might be too conservative, but this erg turned out to be one of the hardest. So hard in fact that I was sick with just 20 seconds to go on the last piece (ruining my split!) meaning I couldn’t properly finish! I just did steady state for the 6th piece for “recovery” and decided to attack the last one again but roughly a minute into the last piece I did it again and so just steady stated to the line.  

6.) The Spiral of Death

§  3 x four minutes, with a four minute break, progressing from 18 to 24 spm

§  3 x two minutes, with a two minute break, progressing from 24 to 30 spm

§  3 x one minute, with a one minute break, progressing from 30 to 36 spm

There is no phone signal in the public gym I was using to do these (I must have looked pretty interesting with my unisuit soaked in sweat, occasionally grunting on an erg while normal people “rowed” around me) so I failed to double check exactly how to perform this erg. This resulted in me actually completing every piece 2 spm too high, finishing at 38 spm. Despite this, I found this erg quite nice (as nice as an erg can be) and averaged 1:42.8 across the pieces.


5.) The two-man (or woman) pursuit

500m flat out on the erg
1000m running
10 times

No rests


I had been looking forward to this erg (or non-erg) as soon as I read this list. Before starting rowing a little over 6 months ago, I competed in cross country at school and so considered this running to be my “safe zone”, and I was interested to find out what the transition between erging and running would feel like. The hardest part was definitely the first 200 metres of each run, before the lactic acid was sufficiently pumped from my legs and I could start psyching myself up for the next erg sprint. I was very pleased with my result with this session and averaged 1:38.1 on the erg and finished in a total time of 1:09:06.5.


4.) The WAIS battery

4x4k 5 minute rest

This was without doubt, the worst erg on this list. It was horrific. I recommend everyone does it. It felt like the last 15 minutes of the hour of power, except 4 times in a row. It shows how desperate I was that I started counting the remaining strokes with 250 to go even on the second piece. I managed to finish in 1:49.4, 1:50.9, 1:51.7 and 1:54.0 and it also made me terrified for the 60 minute test the next day.

3.) The Hour of Power

Rate capped (I chose 25)

By this point in the series of ergs, I was starting to be woken up each morning by the pain in my legs and I was struggling to walk up and down stairs. I knew I couldn’t just approach this hour without a plan so I spoke to my cox about how to tackle it. We decided on treating it like eight 5 minute sections bookend by two 10 minute sections (which were “free” because one wouldn’t hurt and one would very much so). Each 5 minute section had 5 aspects of technique I should focus on for a minute each. This helped me massively with the mental struggle of just staring at an erg screen ticking down from 60 minutes, and also prevented my technique from gradually deteriorating throughout the piece. The fastest hour of erging I’d ever done had been at 1:53.9 and was a 6x10min session, set rate, with 2 minute rests. I therefore decided that 1:54 would be a decent split to aim for and I finished with an average split of 1:54.5. I think the toughest part of this erg was psychological rather than physical, but I finished it feeling stronger than ever! (A feeling which didn’t last long…)

2.) 2k Test

This 2k was pretty bad. Pretty very bad. I thought it would be easy to push myself seeing as it would only take six and a half minutes compared to my much longer previous ergs, but this turned out not to be the case. During a poor 2k, most people will describe how they blew at a certain distance to go and their split rocketed. In my case, however, due to the cumulative effects of the intensity of the previous ergs, I can’t really say there was ever a point in the 2k in which I was “un-blown”. I stuck to my plan despite it hurting a LOT more than it should with 1500m to go, and persisted to the 1000m mark. Where I committed the cardinal sin of rowing. I broke the biggest rule of all. I stopped. It happened before I even knew what I was doing and suddenly I was just sat there staring at the screen say 980m left.

After swearing quite loudly, and drawing yet more attention from the “norms”, I exchanged a few messages with my cox. 20 minutes later, I was back on the erg and finished a dreadful 2k in 6:56.7. The past 8 days had definitely caught up with me. I had been hoping that all the mental strengthening from these ergs might have helped me push harder than I could have before and finish with a pb, and while I think that may still be true after some rest, there was no way I was managing it this day.

1.) The Surge Erg

4x10 minutes

30s at 2k Pace, 90s at 6k Pace

The last erg. I dragged my beaten and bloody (slight exaggeration) body to the gym for one final erg of death. And this one was pretty special. The 2k pace bursts (notably positioned at the start of each 2 minutes rather than the end) ensured one’s legs were swimming in lactic acid for the entirety of each piece and the 5 minute rests meant there was no need to hold back from any of them. I hit it with everything I had – paying back the erg (I chose the same one) for the previous day– and finished with an average split of 1:49.5.

And then suddenly I had finished. That was it. And while I remembered how much the ergs had dominated the last 10 days of my life, the abruptness of their ending reminded me of the main thing I had taken from them. No matter how bad it feels, and no matter how much further you still have to go, it WILL end. The only decision you get to make is whether you finish proud of what you’ve done.


I’d like to thank the WA Rowing Club for compiling the list and strongly recommend it to everyone.


The final count down

Peta Rule

In the words of Sweden's favourite sons of the 80s, glamour band Europe, it's the final count down.

Today is March 1. In just 10 days, we will draw a raffle that will change someone's life.

An exaggeration? I think not. A $10,000 holiday is the sort of things lifetime memories are made of. A new country, a new experience... maybe a whole bunch of countries. Perhaps we'll send someone off and they'll meet the love of their life, save cheetahs in Africa, discover enlightenment in China, scale a mountain, tame a Llama... who knows.

Perhaps this will give someone with four kids (including twins) a much needed break. (Not looking at anyone in particular... Marie...)

It is a pretty amazing gift for someone to receive, all for donating $20 towards replacement of our shoddy old rowing deck.

And so, now we're on the home stretch. 10 days to go.

10 days to sell 250 tickets to raise a final $5000, which means WARC will walk away with more than $30,000 towards the deck.

I know it feels like we've already tapped every possible resource for ticket sales - and I'd particularly like to thank those who adamantly swore they would not be able to sell a book, but sill managed to... You know who you are (Pete, Meg!).

So it's time to think outside the square and really push our online sales.

This is the URL:

Here are some tips:

Ask yourself. where else do you belong? 

  • Book club
  • Rotary club
  • An old rowing club
  • School alumni
  • University alumni
  • A union
  • A professional association

How about classes? Have you done a skippers ticket, yoga, cross-fit (ew), pilates, or a language class? 

How about a surf club - can you send an email to your patrol group?

Who else have you ever given money to?

Every year we are bombarded with charity bike rides, marathons, Movember and Dry July. It's time to call in that charitable karma and ask those you have supported to return the favour.

Did you remember to buy your own ticket?

So... yeah. Bit awkward, we have had entire books returned where people haven't bought their own ticket. If that's you, it's ok. We get it. But we do hope you'll jump online and buy one, even if you weren't able to sell a whole book.

Share the Facebook posts:

Here's an anecdote for you. Dee Sammut shared a post from the WARC facebook page... and sold EIGHT TICKETS with absolutely no effort.

Tell your story: 

Find a sales pitch. Here are some of the favourite personalised sales pitches we've heard. 

From Bella: "I have a 30cm scar on my leg from this awful deck, so please help me get rid of it."

From Brock: "I have been supported by my club to follow my Olympic dream, I hope you will help me support them back." (also Brock you're amazing)

So, that's the plan. 250 tickets. 10 days. Let's do this.

Hi diddly ho neighborino

Peta Rule

For the sharp-eyed punters out there, you may have noted this little gem in the back pages of the West's business section in the commercial property report.

Movement is afoot on the Great Barren Slab next door, which was first installed back in 2006. Finally it looks like the riverbed lease has been signed by DoubleTree Hilton which is a fair while after the luxury hotel brand was first mentioned as owners of the site.

Looks like we'll have another year of construction next door, and this article might be a little misleading - we're expecting additional piling work on the site to kick off actually very soon, so we will have works from now until September next year.

Captain Nick and the building maintenance committee has been clarifying with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority what sort of conditions are on this building exactly, to ensure WARC will remain protected and operational throughout.

It is good to know we will continue to have the second slip-road exit for the forseeable future, while the relevant authorities argue about whose responsibility it is.

I did have to smile at this line in the article: "Unfortunately a seabed lease was complicated by the involvement of a number of departments". If the DoubleTree gang ever read this: We feel you. Seriously. 

There are other cool things going on at WARC: Davinia, Brock and Rhys have been invited to continue trials for #Rio2016 over in NSW, thanks to the tireless work of one Peter Klemm and a LOT of awesome pro-bono work from Rob McKenzie and his team, we have a new lease prepared for Sassys on the Swan, and Mick Duxbury is in the process of fabricating some of the materials for the new deck.

It's also D-Day for the raffle returns, please make an effort to sell a whole book, leaving the club with a stack of partially sold books is actually quite problematic to deal with.

And that's the latest.

Coming up...

Peta Rule

Got a few things coming up peeps.


First up: Australia Day! January 26, just in case you've been living under a rock. 

Tickets to the WARC Skyworks event are selling fast and it seems to be a pretty good deal: For $50 you get air conditioned comfort, no erg tests, a make-your-own burger buffet and amazing fireworks display. Stop procrastinating and buy your ticket now. 

Selling raffle tickets on Australia Day: We will be looking to set up the WARC tent on the land-side deck of WARC to give away free water and sell raffle tickets to the masses. If you are looking to offload tickets, please sign up to volunteer some time to sell tickets. You can sign up here. 


Elizabeth Quay opens to the public at 4pm on January 29. This will start a three-week string of events to mark the opening of the new inlet to the public, but on its inaugural evening, WARC will have the opportunity to row into the inlet as part of the first boats.

We have a 30-minute timeslot from 6.30pm to 7pm, during which Channel 9 will be doing a live broadcast of the news.

Captain Nick Wakeford is organising the boats and rowers, so if you want to get involved, drop him a note at


WARC will be participating in the Barrack Square markets on January 30. This is the last opportunity the club will be actively providing for members to sell raffle tickets to the public. If you would like to shift some tickets, you can sign up to volunteer here.