Improving rowing performance by adjusting oar blade size and angle

W.C.A.M. van Nieuwburg, B.J.J. van Spreuwel, Minh Tâm Kevin Tran, M.D. Yang, A.J. Greidanus, G. Mulder, M.J. Tummers, J. Westerweel*, W. Suijker, R. van Wijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The principal aim of the work presented here is to investigate and demonstrate that a forward tilted rowing blade would result in a more efficient and effective motion of the blade through the water that would result in a higher boat speed when an equal input power is provided. A 1:5 scaled rowing boat is used to determine the performance of rowing blades with different sizes and blade angles. This is used to validate the results of a previous study where the optimal blade angle of 15 (Formula presented.) with respect to the oar shaft was determined (1). The input power and speed of the rowing boat can be compared between original and modified oar blades. Measurements in a towing tank demonstrate that a modified rowing blade result in faster rowing by 0.4% at the same input power. Maintaining the same stroke rate, the improvement of the blade efficiency is compensated by using a 4–6% increased blade area to yield the same input power.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1109494
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Sports and Active Living
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • rowing blade
  • performance
  • efficiency
  • optimisation
  • robot


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