by Yvonne Gardiner
FOR rowing enthusiasts, the sport has a calming effect, especially in the early mornings when the water is tranquil and the setting is peaceful.
Rowing is also an excellent form of exercise - not only is it good for your health, it can be done solo or as a team to build teamwork.
Gayle Armour, one of four coaches at Iluka Rowing and Aquatic Club, knows what she's talking about, having been an active member for 18 years.
"There is something both relaxing and motivating about being on the water," she said.
"Rowing can offer a tremendous amount of physical health benefits, including increased power and strength, weight-loss and for social inclusion.
"It's predominantly a masters club because of our mainly older local population in Iluka, however this year has seen a resurgence in our junior membership.
"We have a learn to row program - a six-week course."
Iluka has about 45 members, including those with social status, and new members are welcome to come along, to either row competitively or recreationally, or volunteer in running the club.
"We do row all year - the regatta competitions are through September to May," Gayle said.
"During the winter months we do recreational rows including row-a-thons from 8kms up to 20kms, usually followed by a social barbecue."
A gym program is available three days a week at the rowing shed.
"Fitness-wise, if members want to compete, a training schedule and fitness program is worked on with our coaches," Gayle said.
She hadn't rowed before moving to Iluka, although she was active in other sports.
"Rowing's a sport that works every muscle in your body," she said.
"It's low-impact exercise with high results as it exercises all of your major muscle groups including cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
"It's a non-impact sport. We've had rowers who've had knee reconstructions.
"Being out on the waterways is just gorgeous, especially the sunrise in the morning."
Iluka is a sociable club with male and female members aged from 13 to 78 years.
They meet at the rowing shed in Charlie Ryan Park from about 6am summer time or 6.30am in winter most days of the week, weather permitting.