The sport changes, the advice doesn’t. In crew, rowers are told not to look at their blades. Your fingers should tell you what your oars are doing. Similarly, don’t look at the boat. It’s right there under your ass. No reason to check for it.
Look straight ahead. Hands instead of eyes. Don’t look down. Sounds like every riding lesson I’ve ever had.
(*For those of you who are neither rowers nor rowing groupies, these are Dreissigacker racing oars from Concept2. Funny-looking but fast.)