Blade Depth in Rowing

Marlene and Rebecca talk about blade depth in rowing and sculling, and how to pick races that suit your crew’s needs in the September Faster Masters Rowing Radio podcast.

Blade depth and boat speed

Rowing oars are designed to sit at the correct depth in the water – check it out when you sit stationary with square blades in the water, how much of the oar spoon is covered by water?

Normally it’s fully below the surface except perhaps 1 cm at the top.  Blades are buoyant.

We conclude that any variation from this depth is caused by the athlete doing something to make the oar more shallow or (more frequently) deeper than needed.

The oar designers spend time designing oar spoon shapes which work well to grip the water, to push it in front of the oar through the power phase and to release cleanly. If you are a student of rowing biomechanics you will know how important the combination of oar design and athlete strength is for rowing boat speed.

Drills for oar depth

  • Row with the oars half buried
  • Let go the handles on the power phase (not to be done in 1x)
  • Wide grip sculling and inside arm down the loom rowing
  • Outside hand only (rowing sweep)

Randall foils are said to improve oar depth they are flanges which you glue onto the top edge of your oars. The flange projects at 90 degrees to the oar spoon and helps to prevent the oar going deep. It is said there’s a speed advantage to using foils.

Timestamps to the show

01:00 Recovery strategies – active and passive; race day and training
08:10 How to pick your races at a regatta to suit your needs and preferences
17:36 Blade depth while rowing and sculling. Level bladework drills video
Valery Kleshnev’s article about blade depth
24:00 Randall Foils to control blade depth – how to test if new equipment is effective for you and make the boat faster
Special offer on Randall Foils
29:00 Customer feedback on Faster Masters Rowing Programs. The Program Guidelines advise that each session is designed for a 1 hour training session (as long as you don’t faff about). Note Marlene marks with an asterisk the priority workouts
36:00 Faster Masters Kindle books from our original 2016 Faster Masters Gold program.

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