Quirky Rowing Websites: Front Rower


Now here’s a classic – you thought you couldn’t row back-to-front – these guys prove it’s not only possible, there is already a boat designed to do it.

Front Rower – where you can row looking in the direction of travel.

Designed to fit into a canoe – the Front Rower system feathers for you, enables you to just drive with your legs or use your arms as well.  Steering is done by pushing harder on one side.  Watch the video.

Ron Rantilla, the desinger, points out in the sidebar that FISA doesn’t allow front facing rowing….but does helpfully suggest they allow an ‘experimental’ boat class at the Worlds.  Now I’d love to see that one raced.

He adds
It is a common misconception that sliding-seat rowing is the most efficient way to propel a boat.  By adding the power of your legs, a sliding seat lets you develop more power than ordinary fixed seat rowing.  But a lot of that power is wasted in the back and forth movement of the rower on the seat.  The inefficiency of the sliding seat system was demonstrated in 1981 when a fixed seat boat with sliding riggers (the overhanging structure with the oarlocks) won the World Rowing Championships for men’s singles.  By 1983, all the men’s singles finalists in the World Rowing Championships were using fixed seat boats with sliding riggers.  Then sliding riggers were outlawed from sanctioned racing.

I could definitely see applications for this in teaching novices.  Let the boat feather for you and the athlete learns to push their legs and let the handle travel along the correct height pathway while you learn the movement.

What do you think?


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Ron Rantilla

    There are videos of other forward facing rowing systems out there, so don’t get confused by them. We invented the FrontRower system, which has proven itself by winning many non-FICA races. This year a FrontRower owner has done well in the preliminaries and qualified for the Texas Water Safari (billed as the “World’s toughest boat race”). You can visit our website at http://www.forntrower.com .

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