Concept2 blade designs have evolved with one purpose—to more efficiently convert the athlete’s power into boat speed. At the same time, the unique characteristics of each blade design impact the feel of the drive. Because the preferences of athletes and coaches differ, the best way to choose your blade is to learn about the options available and then determine the best fit for you.
Here’s what we know about blade design:
- A blade that slips less in the water loses less of the work generated at the handle by the athlete. In other words, it is more efficient.
- Changing the shape, curvature, and features at the tip will impact blade interaction with the water.
- As a blade becomes more effective it will generate more load and require a decrease in oar length.
- As blade designs have become more efficient, controlled testing has indicated improved performance speeds.
Timing: It may take some time for a crew to adjust to a blade with a different loading profile, especially if it is a highly trained crew that has been together and using a certain blade for a long time. If you're on top right now, it's probably not a good idea to switch in the middle of a racing season unless you are convinced of an improvement by tests you have conducted.
Style/Look: If you've been rowing with a Big Blade or Smoothie, the switch to a Fat Blade will change the look of your crew. Specifically, it will look like the oars are slower through the water in the first third of the stroke, thanks to the increased efficiency of the Fat Blade in that phase.
Practical Considerations: Some programs prefer to keep all blades the same, or all boats rigged the same, or possibly some other constraints.