Loading Profile & the Blade Design Spectrum
As a rower applies force to an oar, the motion of the blade through the water resists the athlete's effort and generates the load the rower feels.
Different blade designs typically have different loading profiles. Some blades find more resistance early in the drive while others have more resistance later in the drive. These differences can also be described in terms of the speed of the blade through the water. Or more accurately, the apparent speed of the handle as the oar moves in response to force applied by the rower. The greater the catch and finish angles, the more apparent these differences become.
Loading profile refers to the relative loading at different phases as the blade progresses through the drive. Loading profile should not be confused with the terms used to describe a rig that is too heavy or too light for a crew. The overall load of the system should be considered a function of rigging and oar length.
The following graphic shows the spectrum of loading profiles offered by different Concept2 blade designs.
Softer grip of the water at entry Sharper grip of the water at entry
First 1/3 of the drive
Lighter load results in faster handle speed Heavier load results in slower handle speed
Last 1/3 of the drive
Heavier load results in slower handle speed toward finish Lighter load results in faster handle speed toward finish
"Softer" shaft feel "Stiffer" shaft feel