Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Volker Nolte


This work investigates the effects of oar-shaft stiffness and length on rowing biomechanics. The mechanical properties of the oar-shafts were examined using an end-loaded cantilever system, and theoretical relations were proposed between the mechanics of the oar-shafts and rowing performance. On-water experiments were subsequently conducted and rowing biomechanics measured via the PowerLine Rowing Instrumentation System. The PowerLine system measures force and oar angle on the oarlock, as well as proper boat acceleration. The convergent validity and test-retest reliability of the PowerLine force measurements were determined prior to the on-water experiments. Thereafter, rowers were tested over a set distance using oar-shafts of different stiffness and length. There were slight differences in the biomechanics between rowing with the different oar configurations. However, the measured differences in the biomechanical parameters were on the same order of magnitude as the rower’s inter-stroke inconsistencies.