We recommend that you choose a blade from the Smoothie2 mold. This includes the Fat2, Smoothie2 Vortex, or Smoothie2. Based on feedback we have received, as well as our own testing, we believe that the Smoothie2 mold blades, introduced in December of 2006, are most effective.
Our personal preference: Both theoretical analysis and on-water testing have convinced us that the Fat Blade has the greatest potential to make boats go fast, understanding that the boat needs to be rigged properly, and it may take a little time for the crew to adjust to the Loading Profile of the Fat Blade. However, even though we think the Fat is the fastest option, we understand that there are a variety of reasons that a coach or crew may decide to use a different blade design.
- Timing: It takes some time for a crew to adjust to a blade with a very 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 yourself. If your crew is not doing well and have nothing to lose it's worth a try. Just remember to adjust the rig accordingly. We'll be happy to confer with you on this.
- 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, due to the increased efficiency of the Fat in that phase. As coach, you need to be prepared for this.
- Practical Considerations: Some boathouses prefer to keep all blades the same, or all boats rigged the same—or other constraints. Your decision.