Fifteen months after scoffing at the thought of racing a single scull, rowing pin-up girl Kim Crow has created history by capturing a world title in the boat.

Crow is the first Australian woman to be crowned world champion in the blue-riband event after dominating her final in the world rowing championships in South Korea on Sunday afternoon.

The former 400m hurdler, who was Australia's No.2 behind Jana Pittman nine years ago, blew the field away in steamy conditions in Chinju to win in seven minutes 31.34 seconds.

Even with an impressive late surge, New Zealander Emma Twigg could only get within a length of Crow at the finish while there was open water to Czech Olympic champion Mirka Knapkova in third.

It's the first world title Australia has won in a single scull since Adair Ferguson won gold in a non-Olympic class lightweight race back in 1985.

"It's really special," Crow told AAP. "Australians are a lot more known for their crew boats and that's a wonderful culture to be a part of so to do something different is exciting but I still feel part of a bigger team."

The triumph comes just 14 months after her first senior race in the single when she qualified the boat for the Olympic Games at the 11th hour in Switzerland.

Coach Lyall McCarthy only convinced her to qualify the single as an insurance policy in case double sculls partner Brooke Pratley failed to recover from a rib injury in time for the London Games.

Crow's impressive debut and then World Cup silver a week later saw her defy orthodox thinking by entering both the single and double at the Olympics where she went on to stun the rowing fraternity by winning bronze and silver medals.

"I had no interest in rowing the single scull (before then) and also no confidence in my ability to do it, so this is nice," she said on Sunday night.

"The single scull is a really big challenge, it's a very unforgiving boat.

"Since the journey started there's been a lot of ups and downs and soul-testing moments, but it makes the good moments more rewarding."

Wracked by nerves all week, Crow got out of the blocks last but immediately showed her strength and speed by grabbing the lead at the 300m mark and making it full length advantage at 500m.

From there, she never looked like being headed.

In the closest world titles regatta of all time, Australia finished in second place on the overall medal tally with three gold, two silver and one bronze, behind only Italy (3-2-3).

Crow's victory and the silver-winning effort by the men's four on Saturday were the only medals in Olympic class events.

The two other golds were won by para-rowers with Erik Horries taking the men's single scull and Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis winning the mixed double scull.

The men's lightweight eight won silver and the women's four grabbed bronze.