The Equipment

Oars move the boat through the water and act as balances. Sweep oars are longer than sculling oars and typically have wooden handles instead of rubber grips. The shaft of the oar is made of extremely lightweight carbon fiber instead of the heavier wood used years ago.

The popular hatchet blade -- named because of its cleaver-like shape -- is about 20 percent larger than previous blades. Its larger surface area has made it the almost universal choice among elite-level rowers.

The Boats - Sculls and Shells
All rowing boats can be called shells. Rowing boats with scullers in them (each person having two oars) are also called sculls (e.g., single scull, double scull, quadruple scull). Originally made of wood, most new boats are made of honeycombed carbon fiber. They are light and appear fragile, but are crafted to be strong and stiff in the water.

The smallest boat, the single scull, is approximately 27 feet long and as narrow as 10 inches across. At 58 feet, the eight is the longest boat on the water.

The oars are attached to the boat with riggers, which provide a fulcrum for the levering action of rowing. Generally, sweep rowers sit in configurations that have the oars alternating from side to side along the boat. Sometimes, most often in the 4- or 4+, the coach will rig the boat so that two consecutive rowers have their oars of the same side in order to equalize individual athlete power.

Sculling and Sweep Rowing
The Equipment
The Stroke
The Race
Rowing Terms
Rowing Lingo
Race Watching Tips
Top 10 List