Matching boat, oar and blade characteristics to rower characteristics to improve rowing performance using an advanced on water performance measurement system


This project combines expert oar design and manufacture with advanced biomechanical analysis to match the rower's power generation characteristics with boat propulsion requirements to produce optimally configured oar and rigging designs that combine properties that will maximise rowers performance.


Professor Richard Smith

Research Location

Exercise, Health and Performance Research Group

Program Type



The aims of this project are to expand the knowledge base of functional oar operation, match oars to the requirements of particular body types, and to fine tune rower-oar-boat interaction for maximum performance.Objectives:1. Investigate the efficiency of different oar and blade designs2. Find the optimum blade area/outboard length/gearing/rigging combination for different body types and power output characteristics.

Additional Information

The project provides an opportunity for students interested in pursuing research in both biomechanics and engineering.1. A wide range of biomechanical variables will be used in the analysis of on water rowing which will provide a rich source of material for papers in biomechanics.2. It will be necessary to assess the hydrodynamic performance of the blade in providing boat propulsion. This latter area will provide a fruitful series of investigations for an engineering student who would also gain experience working with an international blade manufacturing company.The project is managed by a research team with 20 years of experience in rowing performance research. The team is resourced by a state of the art biomechanics laboratory and a wealth of software and hardware infrastructure. The research is conducted in the Faculty of Health Sciences' Exercise, Health and Performance Research Group which provides an exciting and supportive research environment. PhD students are currently working on topics such as the simulation of rowing and the effect of lower limb dimensions on rowing performance.Potential candidates can apply for scholarship support and should have an undergraduate background in biomechanics or engineering.

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Biomechanics, Engineering, physical performance, Rowing, sculling, oar, blade, Efficiency

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 526

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