The Texas Rowing Center is a rowing and kayaking concession located at the best location on beautiful Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. Since 1987, our simple learn-to-row program has successfully taught over 10,000 people how to row! We have several hundred active members, and many more visit our concession weekly to rent kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards.
Our mission is to provide the best rowing and kayaking programs anywhere. And because we operate on a volume basis, our prices are the lowest in town. Our friendly staff, affordable rates, convenient location and hours - open all day, every day - make Texas Rowing Center the most popular rowing school in Texas, and one of the most frequented in the nation. Texas Rowing Center is proud to be an Austin Parks and Recreation Department concession.
Matt Knifton - Owner
Matt, himself an avid sculler, purchased the Texas Rowing Center in 2002.
As a University of Texas rower in the late 1980’s, Matt worked at the Texas Rowing Center giving lessons and enjoying the wonderful environment at the club.
“I have always dreamed of owning a rowing club in my hometown," Matt recalls, "so I jumped at the opportunity in 2002. I feel very fortunate to be able to contribute to making Austin a rowing center in this country.”
Matt attributes the success of the Texas Rowing Center to the teamwork of the club employees.
“I am constantly complimented on the work of our staff, as well as the friendly and helpful way that they provide customer service. That makes me feel good about what we are doing.”
Matt is also a practicing attorney, husband, and father of two beautiful little girls.
Alvin Cantu - General Manager
As the club General Manager, Alvin is responsible for developing all on-site and off-site programming, marketing, networking, and promotions.
He is also in charge of human resources and of managing the club staff.
Away from the club, Alvin has three great sons and is a successful actor.
Before becoming the manager at Texas Rowing Center, Alvin managed his own theater company, and performed in several Austin and off-Broadway productions.
He is also a man of the world, having traveled extensively throughout the United States, Britain, and continental Europe. One summer, he worked in Greece at a youth hostel as the manager of guest services where he became known as “The Ouzo-Master.” You can just call him “Alvin.”
Alvin’s enthusiasm for the Texas Rowing Center is infectious: “My job is great fun and a tremendous challenge - I love my sons, my job, and my life."
Jane Shepherd — Office Manager
Jane discovered Texas Rowing Center while walking the trail and "fell in love with this special spot on the river." Jane not only brings high-school and college rowing experience, she also brings her passion for the outdoors having been raised on a farm in West Virginia. "The best part of my job is to provide people access to the river and to be a part of their enjoyment. There are so many things to enjoy about the river, the wildlife, plants and landscape, and there are so many ways to enjoy it! You can paddle with others, row by yourself, or just sit on the dock."
When she's not working, Jane enjoys her two daughters and she's very proud of their sentiment, "going to mommy's work is totally awesome!"
Pete Snider - Assistant Office Manager
Pete is the Assistant Office Manager in charge of team-boat development and customer recruiting. He came to the Texas Rowing Center in 2001 after retiring for the second time.
His dreams of a third retirement were soon shattered when he discovered the nonexistence of any TRC retirement plan.
Nevertheless, being an avid rower, Pete stayed on and has adopted a new dream of recruiting everyone on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail into the sport of rowing.
Pete has been winning on his quest by setting records among our staff for the number of lessons given to new rowers daily!
Texas Rowing Center and the Austin rowing community is very lucky to have him promoting the sport!
Somers Ritchie — Rowing Equipment Manager
Somers is Rowing Equipment Manager in charge of equipment maintenance. He started rowing in 2002, and distinguished himself early from other new members by rowing “dam-to-dam” (a twelve mile round-trip) on a daily basis!
His career at the Texas Rowing Center began in 2003 after the Pete noticed that Somers was paying us to spend about 90 hours a week rowing, hanging-out and helping-out at the club.
To rectify this inequity, management decided to add him to the payroll and the rest is Texas Rowing Center history.
When he is not giving sculling lessons to new members, Somers can always be found rowing on Lady Bird Lake. He holds a seat in every Texas Rowing Center team boat that races from our boathouse.
A former bartender, Somers is our best-read (he edits screen plays when off the clock) and wittiest staffer.
Often a man of very few words, Somers sums up his job with the simple phrase “I love it.”
Joe Kendall — Office Manager
As the club Office Manager, Joe is responsible for bringing order to the business world of the Texas Rowing Center. This is a very difficult job since most rowers only want to worry about perfect technique and being on the water.
Joe is also the Director and Founder of the Chautauqua Foundation and the Texas River School. The Chautauqua Foundation started in 1991 to protect Texas rivers and streams and has evolved to include an outdoor education program for students, creating the Texas River School.
The river school offers children a program which will get them out on the river for a day of adventure, learning, and fun. Joe can often be seen on the dock leading these groups!
Joe has taken on a difficult challenge at the Texas Rowing Center but already his changes have made the club a better place to be for members and staff!
For the latest happenings at the club, click here for our Texas Rowing Center Google Group.
Download a copy of our waiver here!